Digital or Paper Editing?

1 Jun

With BTE being nearly finished and editing just over the next hill I’ve come to a cross roads.

Should I edit digitally or on paper?

Usually, the answer would be obvious: Paper.

After all, paper is portable, and (not going to lie) there is a certain satisfaction that comes with running bright red ink over words, and slapping on sticky notes an inch thick.

But the problem with BTE is that it’s so much longer than all my other projects. Pushing over 200 pages, and quite frankly it feels a waste to print out over 200 pages of a manuscript that will most entirely be trashed and rewritten. It just isn’t cost-effective, and it would take a good hour, hour and half just to print the whole thing. I can hear my sister now, “Gee Alex kill enough trees?”

Digital on the other hand is now a very viable option for me. Not only can I use the editing features on word (track changes, strike through, etc.) but I can also convert BTE’s word doc. into an epub file and carry it around on my nook, where I can add comments, and highlight. Granted, the nook is not a mini editing word station, but it would be just as portable as a two hundred page binder, right?

That’s the thing about editing. I like to do it at my leisure. While I’m sitting out back by the pool, while I watch House on my bed, On the plane when we go on vacation.

Theres just something about ruffling the pages of a finished draft, granted, you can  get the same work done on digital devices, but I guess I’m a little too nostalgic about the whole thing.

What do you all think Digital or Paper editing?


14 Responses to “Digital or Paper Editing?”

  1. gabriellan June 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    I prefer paper editing, for all the reasons you listed. Plus, I just love the feel of paper.

    That said, editing on the computer has endless perks as well. And being able to carry your book around on your Nook is really cool.

    Maybe you could try a combination. Do the first one or two edits digitally, then print out your novel when it comes time to start working on the finer points, and there won’t be as much slashing and cutting.

    • nkeda14 June 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      Yeah 😀 I think that is what i’m going to do. That way it will feel more “done” when I print it, you know?

  2. HannahFergesen June 1, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    I do both – I usually edit my first draft or two digitally and then print out (usually at kinko’s or something) a couple copies, one for me and one or two for readers to go through and edit as well. I find it’s so much easier to know exactly how it feels as a novel if you print it – that’s how your readers are (probably) going to be reading it as well, and seeing it from their point of view will help you get some of the kinks out.

    • nkeda14 June 1, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks ;D

      I guess that is another reason I like paper editing so much. I like your method, maybe i’ll try that instead of going straight paper.

  3. digitaloutcast June 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Go digital. GO DIGITAL. I cannot stress that enough. Just make sure you press Save often, save copies weekly or so to hard discs. GO DIGITAL.

    • nkeda14 June 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm #


      It is easier to keep track of, no pages flying off into the pool!

      • digitaloutcast June 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

        Well, yes, but make sure you computer doesn’t fly off into the pool either…that would suck…big time. :/

  4. peacesigngirl21 June 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Once I reach that stage-I cannot stress how long away that is-I’m definitely going digital. I must admit that I think printers hate me (Maybe a bad experience when I was little? :D) and almost everytime I have to get my mom to print something out for me. And I would get in trouble for “wasting” ink, and then there’s the killing trees you mentioned…Yep, I’m going digital.

    • nkeda14 June 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      HAHA all very good points!

  5. Katy June 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Great post. I prefer digital editing for the most part, but have found that I can overlook mistakes by reading off the computer, so make sure I always do a print edit too.

    • nkeda14 June 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      Yeah, i’m thinking of doing paper edits for later drafts when I need “fine tuning”. Glad you liked the post!

  6. juanvillagrana June 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I’d say to go digital if it’s a first draft. Unless it’s a really clean draft, then you could go with paper. Or,/i> you’re sure you’re going to move on to the final edit or whatever, then you could probably go with paper.
    That’s just my two cents.

    • nkeda14 June 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      A very helpful two cents Juan! lol

      I probably will go digital for the first couple of drafts, because my first drafts are SO not clean actually they are about as clean as mud.

  7. harmamae June 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Having the draft actually printed out helps for catching glaring errors and typos, as everyone reads differently on the computer than on paper (we tend to skim more on the computer). Of course, I am nostalgic for paper as I tend to write out my stories by hand as well (I wrote about this here ). Anyway, I love actually scribbling over words and cutting up my manuscript when editing.

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