The other day we were talking about the role of a good editor. Not a copyeditor, though they’re nice, too, but a good developmental editor. Someone who can say “Um, yes, wasn’t that character a girl 30 pages ago?” or “I think you’d be better served by moving chapter 6 up some,” or if you were Stephen King’s editor, “It’s really great until the end and then it kind of seems like you aren’t sure how to wrap things up.”
It’s hard to explain to folks what a good editor does and so they’re kind of becoming a dying breed.
But a good editor is your most intimate reader.
And, to me, that’s the thing about writing. It can’t be separated from reading. They are, I think, actually different parts of the same act. And having a reader who lets you in on his end of things, if you’re a writer, is invaluable. It sucks and it’s hard on the ego, but it’s invaluable.
I don’t know if we’ll have publishers like we do now, so it’s hard to know if we’ll have editors.
And I’m a little sad about that.
Until I think of you, dear reader.
We do out here in public what used to be done in private. (Isn’t that part of the joke of this Vanity Fair thing? That they are shaming her, not only by editing her, but by showing work publicly that we perceive of as being done in private?)
I push; you pull. Things that aren’t clear are made clear or fights ensue.
Ha, I can’t remember where I was going with this.
I want to talk about how intimate it feels to edit someone. But I don’t want to talk about how I came to feel like a whore.
So, let’s just leave it at that.