So, I’ve been talking about revising Touched since, like, October. Various other things came up (ie, I wrote TATTF and, following that, immediately started on DATD) but if I want that story to shop, at some point I have to give it some attention.
The question (well, a question) is: On screen or off?
The advantage to on-screen editing is that I can make changes right then. Little nitpicky changes that would annoy me too much to note if the manuscript were on paper. Or big changes–if I want to rewrite an entire scene, it’s right there in front of me in editable type. I just have to highlight all, click delete, and set my fingers to the keys.
The advantage to off-screen editing is that I’m one step removed from the story. I’m not distracted by red squiggly lines or word choice tweakage or, lets be honest, the allure of email and instant messaging. On-screen, I get too bogged down with trying to fix stuff as I see it which prevents me from reading the story as a story in order to see a big-picture view. When I’m looking at the story on paper, I have no problem with putting a red X through an entire scene or covering every page with sticky notes that say “Move this here” or “Add description there” or “WTF, Erica? Do something with this scene!”, etc.
So, as I type this, it’s looking to me like I need to do both. (*groan*)
Which do I do first? I hesitate to print out all 400 pages if I’m going to make extensive changes because it seems like a waste of paper/ink/money. But then again, if I don’t print it out, I’m afraid I will get so bogged down with tweaking squiggly lines that I won’t see the forest for the trees. No sense layering sensory detail into a scene that really needs to be axed completely, right?
YOUR TURN: I beg of you, share your secrets! Do you revise off screen or on? Does it depend? If so, why? Do you read the entire manuscript as a reader first, before you do any major surgery? If so, how do you turn off the internal editor? Or do you even bother?