Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Red Pen Has Friends

We've all either seen it, or at least heard rumors of, the dreaded red pen. That's right, the editing tool that makes your manuscript bleed. Literally.

I'm not going to deny the fact that I totally love using the red pen of death. Last week, I was in the coffee shop with a friend of mine and she had me edit a short story for her Creative Writing class. So I pulled out my Iron Man pencil case, opened it up so she could see all of the pretty colors inside, and grabbed the red pen. Because, honestly. How official and terrifying do you think you look when you're using the dreaded red pen?

Pretty darn official and terrifying. Yep, that's right.

But what about when it's your own manuscript? When it's just you and your own short story, or novel, or poem, using the red pen puts you in both the power position, and the victim. You look at the red pen and suddenly feel pained to use it against your precious.

I mean, maybe it's just me, but I can't stand using a red pen on my own papers.

So I came up with a solution that fits me. See, I love using colorful pens. Green, purple, blue, maroon, and my favorites are pink and orange. So instead of using red, I use pink. And orange. And light blue. And then by the time I'm done, my manuscript has turned into a rainbow that I actually want to look at it. I see fun, and bright, an cheerful, and not the horrid and depressing color of bleeding words.

And let me tell you, this is a purely mental thing. Because if I give my papers to somebody else, that's when I want the red pen to be used. Because it's them cutting up my hopes and dreams, and not me.

Yeah, I don't know if it makes sense, either. But it helps.

The next time you have a paper version of one of your manuscripts or essays, choose your favorite color of pen to write with (preferably not black or that dark blue that's really common). You'd be surprised at how much of a difference a bright color can make, even when it comes to ripping apart your most prized collections of words.


Thoughts or Questions? Let me know what you think!

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