Today, I kept Smith-Barney in mind. I did things . . . the old-fashioned way. (Pardon my reference to an old investment group.) I pulled out my scissors and tape and went to town on this manuscript, cutting things up, rearranging bits and pieces, taping them together in a different order. Sounds more like mutilation than editing, doesn't it? This is how editing used to be — should be! (you're welcome to disagree) — done. Before the advent of the personal computer, writers used scissors and glue — where do you think the phrase "cut and paste" comes from? — and then, later, scissors and tape. I forget where I read it, but someone in one of my books on writing fully advocates doing all of your editing the old-fashioned way, and I rather agree with the idea. Print up your manuscript, pull out your blue pencil, your scissors, and a roll of tape, and have at it!

What's to be gained by doing things . . . the old-fashioned way? Why not do it all on a computer? Computers offer convenience and I think many mistake convenience for efficiency. When you're editing a long manuscript, it's better and more efficient to be able to see — and read! — multiple pages at a time. My wide-screen monitor allows me to see two full pages at once. Considering that I've currently got six pages of a twenty-six page manuscript spread out on my desk before me, trying to figure out where to cut one scene so that I can move it to a spot earlier in the story, no computer monitor will help with this situation, a situation that isn't at all uncommon, by the way. I'd have to have three wide-screen monitors, and I'm not about to do that. Nosirree! That's neither efficient nor economical.

There's much to be said for doing things . . . the old-fashioned way. Once you're done with the old-fashioned way, then you use your computer for the convenience it offers you, by utilizing the convenience of it's electronic "cut and paste" to reassemble your ragtag looking manuscript. After you've done that, however, the manuscript has to be reprinted, reread, and, possibly, rearranged again. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Yup. There's much to be said for doing things . . . the old-fashioned way.

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