Apr 14, 2012, 6:19 pm
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Current progress: page 134 / 334.

I’ve actually edited more than 134 pages; this is how much was left after all my cuts. *cracks knuckles*

Since I’m knee-deep in line edits, I thought I’d share my method and why it works for me. Although I work entirely digitally up to this point, line editing is definitely where you’ll want to print your book and go at it with a red pen.

Reason number one: The words will look different on the page.

Reason number two: You can get away from the computer, which helps against distractions.

Reason number three: Your changes are less final, so it’s easier to be ruthless. After all, you’re not actually incorporating the changes into your file yet. You know you’ll get a second chance of considering your changes.

That last reason is the biggest for me. If your goal is to cut, be vicious. I recommend not just looking at sentences and thinking of how you can rephrase it or remove words, but actually doing it. It’s easy to stick to sounding out sentences in your mind, or to think, “No, this word is essential.” Don’t fall into that trap. Take out your fat red pen, slash through any dubious words, and re-read the paragraph. It may work better than you think.

If not? Underline your change with a green pen to remind yourself to ignore it when you’re entering your edits on the computer. You may be surprised at how rarely the green pen will come into play, though.

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4 Responses to “Line Editing Chronicles, The First”

  1. Reply Amy Christine Parker  () says:

    So true, this. I always edit off of a printed copy.. but then again, most of my process is archaic and long hand or physically on paper. I have the worst time editing on the computer. And I do the pen thing too! My pen colors are blue and pink (somehow cheerier than red I guess).

    • Reply Corinne Duyvis  (corinneduyvis) says:

      Now I'm half tempted to get a different color pen as well, hah!

      I'm always interested in when authors who write long-hand transfer their words to the computer… I don't think I'd have the patience. I only write long-hand when I don't have a computer nearby, which is very, very rarely. It must be nice not to have Twitter around to distract you though!

  2. Reply @madeofsilva  () says:

    I'm actually really, really excited to do this when I'm done with all the revising. I really like editing on paper, and I think I get into a lot of those kinds of traps when I'm working in Word. I think it takes me more like 3-5 passes to do on a screen what I could do in 1 pass on paper.

    • Reply Corinne Duyvis  (corinneduyvis) says:

      Oh yay! Excitement is always good. I'm always excited to get around to line edits, as well. It usually dwindles when I get started on the process. It's not that I don't enjoy it; it just takes so damn long when you just want to be done with it already.

      Impatience, thy name is Corinne.

      Good luck with your final revisions!

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