Editing On-Screen



I’m at the point in my WIP when I need to reread with a critical eye. Where did I leave that thing? I’m out of town on family business, stealing a few hours here and there to work. Because of this, I can’t print the thing out, which is what I really need to do. Reading on screen is more difficult for me, because I can’t move back and forth between sections easily, can’t flip a few pages to find what I’m looking for to check for consistency, for gaps, for repetitions.

I’m working on a update and revision of The Book Trailer Manual. One goal is to expand the section on how to write a book trailer script, including recommending some software and detailing the process more clearly. Another goal is to update the recommended software for actually producing the video, including adding about a dozen new, free resources. Finally, I”ll be looking at all the examples of trailers and updating the list of trailer to study.

Doing this revision all on-screen means I have to find new strategies for working.

  • Search. The search function or search and replace lets me find repetitions or find pieces to see where they are fitting in. I love how it takes a tiny snippet and finds it for me.
  • TOC. The Table of Contents allows me to check the structure of the piece, to see gaps and more easily find sections I need.
  • Rereading everything. I also find myself re-reading the whole manuscript every day. Geez, I wonder, isn’t there a better way? Well, no, not this time, because I can’t hold the mss in my hand and flip around, I don’t know how else to get back into the flow. In some ways, this constant rereading is good, though, because I’m polishing things every time I do this.

What techniques or tips do you have about editing on-screen?

  • Dunx
    December 13, 2011

    I agree that scribbling on paper is hard to beat, but my editing phase at the moment is silicon-only too. What I am doing is reading the text on my Kindle and making annotations there, then making edits in the main document.

    The other thing that helps me is to have multiple windows open on the document. One is the point I am working on, the other is used for skipping around the document looking for the reference text.

  • Darcy Pattison
    December 14, 2011

    Interesting that you use your KINDLE to edit. Hmmm.
    Open 2 screens? I need to try that, too. I know some professions regularly use two monitors, maybe that would be something to try.


  • Amanda
    December 15, 2011

    Thanks for stopping by my site. So here I am at yours! Looking forward to reading more :) You have wonderful advice. Thanks.

    Are you on twitter?

  • Darcy Pattison
    December 15, 2011

    Thanks for coming for a visit!
    Yes, you can find me on Twitter @FictionNotes.


  • Augusta Scattergood
    December 20, 2011

    I’m about to print out this revision, time to shrink it and get down to business!
    But up to this stage, if I’m not doodling with paper and pen, I edit/ write/revise do everything on SCRIVENER.

    You can have two documents (chapters) open at the same time. Tons of places to “jot” notes. Put links to your research. Pictures. Oh, I could rave on!
    It’s truly the most fun and most useful software around. In my opinion.

  • Darcy Pattison
    December 22, 2011

    I have heard others rave about Scrivener. I need to try it!