Thursday, July 5, 2012

Paper Cuts

I’ve been spending the past month or so making edits on my upcoming short-story collection. I’m currently on the fifth rewrite; about half-way through the process, more or less.

Sometimes I’ll take a few days off so that I can have fresh eyes when I return to editing. But after looking at the computer screen over and over, I often take another approach to get a new perspective on my words -- I touch the print button on the keyboard.

For me, there’s something about holding a short story, chapter from a novel, or magazine article in my hands that provides a different look to my work. It's nice to actually go from page to page. Needless to say, it has more the look and feel of something published.

From the hard copy, I make the necessary edits using proofreading marks and then transfer the corrections to the computer file. I also find it easier to flip pages of paper rather than on a computer screen to check flow, names, scenes, and descriptions (although I keep handwritten note cards for that purpose as well).

I admit this is probably a carryover from my newspaper days when I wrote stories on a typewriter and passed them on to the copy desk. My first book was written with a typewriter as well.

I’ve gradually advanced with the new technology, but sometimes I find that it helps to take a step or two back to get things right.

Until the next time...


  1. Same with me, although slightly less efficiently. I always like to write the first version of everything, and that includes my novels, in longhand. Then when I'm less horrified with what I've written , I put it on my computer.

    1. I remember writing stories in longhand a long time ago -- when I was a teenager. I'm not sure I could do it now because I fear I wouldn't be able to decipher it. I was told that Hemingway, at least early in his career, would write his stories in longhand except for the dialogue, which he would do with a typewriter because it was quicker.

  2. How beautiful! That part of the work can be really hard but I guess is all about enjoying the process ... enjoying the ride I would say, because is an amazing jorney from having an idea for a book, then actually write it and work on it until you can hold it in your hands ... great post! your blog is inspiring :) good luck with everything Michael! :)

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. As you noted, it is a journey -- from idea to being published. You just have to be determined and believe in yourself.