When you get to the point where you want to do a read-through of your manuscript, with an eye toward editing, do you read it on-screen (in an editable program such as Word) or do you print it out?

I keep trying to read mine on my computer, but I find it a chore. My concentration wanders or I get caught up in rewriting something -- and never move on.

I keep telling myself that it's more efficient to read and correct on the computer screen, than to print it out (a waste of paper and ink). However, I'm beginning to have my doubts.

What do you do?

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Early drafts, on screen using a writer's tool. When I think it is a final draft, I print it and take the highlighters (four colors) with it. It usually turns out to be another draft.
With the printout, are you finding more mistakes -- mistakes that you think to yourself you should've caught earlier, but didn't because you read it on screen?
It may seem strange, but when printed in book format, I can see paragraphs that run too long, excessive dialogue and paragraphs that need more meat at a glance. What looks right on a computer screen does not on a printed page. Grammar and dialogue tags glare from printed material as well.
Doesn't seem strange at all. Happens with me, too. Sometimes the printed page just doesn't look right.
I agree. The computer screen makes everything look wonderful (at least, to me it does). But that look of polish can cover a multitude of errors, which for some reason are more apparent to me in hard copy.

The point about not only having a hard copy printout, but one formatted in book size also hits it on the nail. It's the formatting that gives you a mental image of the overall read -- too much or too little white space, etc.
In reading everyone's comments, I'm leaning toward taking the hard copy route, at least for now. One of the things I like about hard copy -- now don't laugh folks -- is that I can take out a pair of scissors and a roll of adhesive tape. Then I can take the manuscript, sit down on the living room floor and go to work. For the most part, I'm very happy in using computers, but when it comes to reworking a manuscript, moving scenes and dialogue around, I go back to the old cut-and-paste method. (I admit to having worked at a newspaper once where we actually, physically pasted the articles in the columns and added black tape of varying widths for the lines separating the columns.)
I'm not laughing. I've done that. I once had a story so bollocksed up it was either through it away or force it to submit to life-saving surgery. I would up not making all that many changes, but did shift pieces of scenes to other scenes. I didn;t change the sequence of events so much as I changed the sequence in which the reader was made aware of them, and I don't think I would have been able to do it without having everything laid out in front of me, and not just on the screen.
I have all the equipment (printers and copiers), but I work mostly on the computer and, yes, I rewrite constantly when I'm revising. When I work from hard copy, I may be more careful and judgmental, but the fact that I have to write out changes long-hand means that I make fewer of them. Sometimes, when a chapter is very important or doesn't feel right, I will print out and revise hard copy. I should add, however, that I have a couple of readers who get a look at each chapter.
I do all my writing on the computer in Word, and I do a lot of onscreen editing before I print anything out. So what comes out of my printer is relatively polished, more like a second or third draft than a first. But I definitely print it out a few pages at a time and do additional editing with a uniball pen in whatever color strikes my fancy - usually green or purple, because red looks too judgmental.

I can't imagine not being able to flip pages back and forth, because by the time I get around to hand-editing, it's a matter of overall structure, catching repetitive stuff or adding missing information, and that's hard to do on a computer screen. I mark up the manuscript in ink; then it's back to the computer again for yet another run-through.
Sign me up for both. I do small edits/rewrites (maybe a scene or chapter at a time) on the computer, but I can't really get a sense of the book as a whole unless I can sit down with a printed copy and read the whole thing. I often find myself using the hard copy as a kind of map to the on-screen version, and referring to both at the same time. Which will make you crazy, by the way.
Greetings Persia,

I read-through on-screen (out loud or silently depending on where I am obviously). To help stay focused, I listen to music with headphones. If I find myself hung-up on a particular scene, I STOP, jot a few notes down on a piece of scratch paper or inside a notebook, then move on. In Word there's an option that allows you to highlight selections and insert notes, so then when the cursor is held right over the area, the note comes up in a box for quick reference.
I do both, too. In years past, I only edited hard copy, but as time has gone on, I do more and more drafts online, with only the last edit on paper. There are some kinds of errors I don't seem to find on screen, only on paper. So I kill only a minimum of paper.

Even editors are dumping paper. With the novel I finished just last month, I made sure to get the final hard copy all pretty and ready to go, and then went to my contract to verify that I'm supposed to supply two hard copies and a disk. Disk? When I e-mailed my editor to check about this strange thing known as a disk, she told me to forget about the hard copies and the disk. Instead, I just e-mailed it a WORD file.


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