Revision: Paper vs. screen steel cage match

I’ve written before about how I’m approaching some things differently with the revision on my recently completed work in progress, Arcanum. After some consideration, though, there’s one thing I’m doing the same: revising on paper.

It is certainly true that revising on screen is faster, and you can’t dismiss the power of being able to search your entire book for individual words, phrases, or characters. And when it comes to focusing on sentence-level edits — copy editing — I catch more mistakes on the screen.

But for getting the big picture? I want it on paper. With a stack of pages in front of me, I get a visceral feel for pacing and plot arcs. I can write in between lines, in the margins, and on the backs of pages without stopping to think about how to identify the new text later. And I feel, somehow, a little more connected to the story. After I finish, I’ll go back to page 1 and key in all those changes in Scrivener.

But paper isn’t right for everybody. And even if it is, everyone has a unique take on revision that may resonate with you. Check out these interesting takes on revision for more inspiration:

  • Holly Lisle has a method she calls “one-pass revision.” Sounds attractive, no? But it’s brutal.
  • Anne Lyle is a fellow graduate of Holly Lisle’s novel-writing class, and she’s developed her own take on Lisle’s method that involves more high-level outlining and visioning work.
  • Chuck Wendig’s take-no-prisoners approach is not for the faint of heart, and probably NSFW. But I really like his “What if?” approach to revision.

Are you working on a revision? If so, I’d love to know what’s working for you.

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