Editing is one of the most time-intensive aspects of writing a novel. Some folks prefer to do it by their computers. I am someone who must work with hard copy on serious edits. I've tried it a lot of ways, and this is the only way I consistently produce higher quality edits.
Simply put, I see the pages and the words differently. It is easy to tell when a paragraph is too long and needs broken up. I can see the flow better. I can tell when I've omitted things. I can see where I repeated myself. But, when your manuscript stack is almost as tall as a coke can, it can be very, very daunting approaching the pile of papers.
This is what my desk often looks like when I'm in the middle of editing hard copy. Hard copy edits are a great way for me to see the text on a line-by-line level; it forces me to read the story in a different way than I normally do.
Some of my favorite tools when working with hard copy includes post-it flags, Avery NoteTabs (not shown), a can of soda (because sometimes tea just isn't enough to get me going…) and a variety of other office supplies used to keep my thoughts organized.
I will also include things like my story bibles and complete outlines in the fray, as these are very, very important tools for me when I'm editing my own writing.
This image shows the carnage typical to a page of the manuscript.
My rough draft is not a completed piece of work. It is a foundation. This is where the magic happens for me. The more I have grown as a writer, the more time I spend on this phase. The more I think about how things piece together.
After I do the carnage, I edit it again as I copy the changes. A lot of the handwritten sentences are thoughts that I refine when I put them in the story. (Or try to, at any rate)
The materials I use include: Post-it notes, post-it tabs, post-it flags, my novel/series bible, a laser printer, and several dead trees worth of paper. (Fun fact: I end up drawing on the backs of the manuscript before they're used as kindling for my fireplace. One manuscript is enough kindling for a long time… and the ‘free' sketch paper is definitely a boon.)