Thursday, May 09, 2013

On the significance of editors....

My little book is at large--- in the big wide world with publishers.

And while my agent and I keep our fingers crossed that it finds a happy home, I have started working on my next novel.  Which, to tell you the truth, has been a lot of fun thus far.  It’s all stitching up quite "spade work", as LM Montgomery calls it...of plotting and mapping and digging and sewing.

This entire process of revising and line-editing a manuscript, of finishing a proposal and sending it out into the world has made me contemplate the entire process a lot….and, recently, how important it is for a writer to have a good editor. Indeed, when I first compiled a mental list of publishers I would love to eventually work with, the editor names I recognized and respected were one of the reasons for my initial geek-out

As gifted as we think good writers are ; editors possess an equally important talent.

I do some work for Breakpoint and my editor there is Gina--- who, fortunately, happens to be a.) one of my favourite people on the planet b.) an impeccable editor.  She makes me look smarter than I really am.

I am beginning to pinpoint a few of the exceptional qualities of a good editor and treasuring them not as a voice to change my intent; but to capture the gist of my work and help bring it out in its best light.

Editors are conductors of light.  We have the stuff, they hone in and make it something even better.  They understand, think, mull and help drive you to pair the best ideas with the best words and phrases and sentences. They know when to say too much or too little, they challenge you to polish and distill your writing.

 A good editor….

Knows that often less is more

A good editor …

Has the ability to nudge you: Ahhh! This is what you mean; now give it scope and finesse

A good editor….

Polishes your writing without every losing its integrity or undercurrent

A good editor...

Checks in with you and welcomes your input as they extract or add to your work. They don't make changes without your sign-off or giving you the opportunity to fix and tweak

A good editor…

 challenges you so that you want to write better so that the next time you submit to them 

If you want to see an example of good editing, check out my review of Iron Man 3 at Breakpoint

1 comment:

Gina said...

That is the sweetest and best tribute I have EVER received as an editor. (Most writers are more like, "Ack! Here comes an editor! RUN AWAY!!") Thank you so much for this, Rachel. I will keep it and treasure it.