Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Killing a Tree

I'm truly understanding the value of killing a tree. Also known as a line edit on a printed copy of my manuscript. Holy marking up my paper to fix bad sentences.

I knew I tended to underwrite early drafts. I hadn't realized, at this point, that I was still missing a chapter. Or two.

Or that each page would look like a three-year-old took a black marker to it.

The thing is...I've been writing long enough that I know this. I've done line edits before. Yet every time it smacks me alongside the head and I say, 'Oh yeah...ummm...this works really well. Thank goodness I didn't send it yet.'

Which leads to two things:

1.) I won't have this manuscript out before my husband gets home for his mid-tour leave. It'll be close, but no cigar. And I will happily set it aside to give him my full attention.

2.) I'd be really interested in a study examining absorption and retention of student readers when they read from a computer screen vs. the printed page. My bet is the physical object holds more weight, figuratively speaking, than the digital one.

I even Googled to see if I could find anything. All in the name of distracting myself from writing the missing chapters, of course.

But now I'm off...it's 5:32 am. I've been up since 4:30. And George is getting very impatient about that missing chapter.


  1. I think reading printed on paper words do hold longer. Just my opinion but I always pick up more mistakes and changes when I'm holding a hard copy of my MS than on the computer. Wonder why that is...

    Hope you got some good work done and some quality hubs time!

  2. I think the advantage of reading the printed page is that there isn't the temptation of clicking over from the file you're working on to e-mail or a Youtube clip or an online news article. But on the other hand, some of my students often seem so much more absorbed in their cell phone screens than the books they're supposed to be studying. :)

  3. Colene...thanks! I'm really looking forward to it. I think the physical object offers a stronger kinesthetic experience. There's something very distancing about digital. At least, imho.

    Workaholic...I know...my kids love the screens, too. I'm guessing they're gaming/texting...ie. something they enjoy, rather than studying...that keeps them so absorbed:)