Reasons to still edit on paper manuscripts:
While a lot of editing nowadays is done directly on e-file manuscripts using editing software such as Microsoft Word’s “Comments” and “Track Changes,” there are still good reasons to do hands-on editing on paper/print-out manuscripts:
- When editing a long manuscript, it can be easier on your eyes than staring for hours at a computer screen.
- For a person who is uncomfortable with using editing software, “old-fashioned” editing by hand on paper can be much less stressful.
- Comments on paper can easily be made directly on the spot where the problem exists, instead of off to the side. This makes it easy to match up comments with problems.
- Multiple editing “passes” can be made on a sheet of paper, and the editing can be passed back and forth between a writer and editor. The original and each pass are still visible (even if a bit messy) so it is easy to watch the process develop, and easy to go back to an earlier form if desired or to check to see why changes were made. By using different pen colours for each pass, it’s easy to see the changes.
- Not everyone has editing software, and a writer may have different writing software than the editor. With a paper printout, there’s no worry about “compatibility” issues.
- The “editing marks” made by computer software can be quite confusing, especially if a lot of punctuation and other simple errors need to be fixed. On paper, the standard editing marks are easy to see and understand.
- A paper manuscript can be easily carried along and worked on almost anywhere, for short or long periods of time, without computer concerns about batteries or plug-ins.
- And let’s not forget–making editing marks by hand can be fun, even artistic! And you can even be creative and humorous by making up your own editing marks for certain situations or to replace wordy comments. Don’t believe me? Check these out:
Here’s a collection of editing marks to get you started!
There are four pages of editing marks for different purposes–spelling, paragraphing, wording, spacing, punctuation, capitalization, formatting and revision–and even a few “just for fun” editing marks to inspire you to create your own creative editing marks! Some of these are “standards,” some I’ve picked up here and there (if they’re your originals and you want credit, just let me know–and thanks!), and some I’ve created myself.
What other editing marks do you use, or can you create?
Why not share them with us? Email me a copy (use the “contact” page) and I’ll add them to the list. Thanks!