Friday, October 8, 2010

Slash the Adverbs

I'm working on a GH entry and planning to send the same MS to Desire so lots of stuff to get done over the next couple of weeks. Since I'm actually planning to have someone else besides my CP's read it I need to whip that first draft into shape - or at least the first fifty pages. And there's still 20 pgs to write until the end.

I wish I could edit on the computer. For some reason, I can't "see" my words on the screen.

My first drafts are clay, unformed and only hinting at the final piece. I reread on the computer, fixing and correcting and deleting overuse of adverbs and adjectives, then I print it out. And I'm shocked! I expect to still have work to do but surely it read so much better? On screen it did.

Last night I had a dream I sent a MS out that I had edited on the computer and it was riddled with typos and spelling errors. Which is actually what would happen if I didn't print it out a bunch of times and read it on hard copy.

For some reason I can't see the flow of the words on the screen. And it's slowing me down. I have to print it out and edit several times before it sounds remotely good enough. What is it about the computer screen that makes me not be able to "see" it?

I used to write my first draft by hand and I've taught myself to do that on screen. It's sped up my first draft process tremendously. Now I'd like to speed up the editing process. I know I have to print off a hard copy for final edits but surely there's a more efficient way to do the initial clean up?

Any techniques that help you edit on the screen? Or do you print it out and edit on hard copy after each session, chapter?


Kelly Boyce said...

I always edit or critique way better on hard copy. I think maybe because then I'm reading it more like a 'book'.

Anne MacFarlane said...

So do I, Kelly.

I think I might start printing out my day's pgs in the evening. Then do a quick read and revise before proceeding. That way it won't seem so massive when I have to edit.

Rachael Johns said...

I prefer to read through and edit the first time on paper! For some reason I feel like I'm being more productive. Go figure. Good luck with your sub and your GH entry :)

Michelle Helliwell said...

I had a prof tell me once that we aren't hard-wired to read as well from a back-lit screen, and I agree.
Julianne's suggestion about formatting it to look like a book helps me quite a bit, even if I'm reading it on-screen. I find doing that catches a lot of stuff I miss with the "writing format". And then when I really want to go through it, I print it off.