Seeing Your Story in a New Light

Today my writing buddy, Melissa Lenhardt, was editing her novel on hard copy. That’s right, she was using real sheets of paper.

I had almost forgotten what that stuff looked like.

We got to talking and she said it was very helpful to see her story on hard copy rather than a computer screen. It was like seeing in a different light, or venue, and she could find things wrong with the storycropped-writer-smoking-pipe.jpg she hadn’t seen before.

I have noticed this, too. I don’t know what it is about our brains, but when we read something online compared to a printed sheet, we read it differently. Or perceive it differently, or something.

I don’t know what’s at work here. but I have noticed when I am editing my own story it helps to look at it in these different ways. When I first started writing everything was on paper. We wrote, edited, and read the stories on paper. That has changed. But going Old School to edit your stories somehow gives you a different perspective.

I’m not arguing it’s a better perspective. I often find things cropping up on the computer screen I don’t find on hard copy, and vice versa. But I  think, for me at any rate, having that tactile sensation and handling hard copy when editing a story fires up different neurons in the brain. Or whatever it is that gets fired up in the brain. At the very least, because it is a different, we connect, react, and interpret things about it that are themselves different.

It really is like seeing your story in a new light.

I hope this isn’t coming across as one of those “Things were better in the Olden Days” posts. That’s not how I feel. But I have noticed when I look at something written on the computer screen and then hard copy, I perceive it differently. And it’s almost as if the information I glean from both media is itself different in some way and I integrate that into a whole.

Anyway, one thing I have also noticed, and this part never changes, which I think is a good sign. When I do see one of my published stories either in print or online, I always have the same reaction: Satisfaction.

And when you get down to it I guess that’s what we are working toward to begin with. 🙂

3 Replies to “Seeing Your Story in a New Light”

  1. I edit my writing — fiction and non-fiction both — in printed-out form, just like you and Melissa. It does provide a change in perspective, but for me it’s also a hold-over from my pre-computer days — I need a text in my hand to really read it! Maybe you’re too young to have had this experience, but in high school and college I hand printed all my papers in pencil– scribbles, cut and paste, erasures, arrows here and there–and then typed them up later. I wonder if the upcoming generation will feel the need to print out their papers in order to edit them; perhaps they will be totally screen comfortable and not find it helpful.

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