Why writers need editors
It's a funny thing, being an editor for a place that you also get published as a writer. Logically, it should help you produce such perfect prose that it doesn't need the eye of another editor. After all, if you can spot all the problems and holes in the stories passed to you for editing, you shouldn't make any mistakes yourself, should you?
It doesn't work like that though.
The itchy heat of creation and the cold eye of editorial overview are separate processes. It's a rare person who can go through the first when writing a story and not bring any of that warm glow to the second, when editing it. And that means that however hard one tries, the little padding words (that, then, just) tend to slip through, and the delightful literary conceits never get removed, even if they are holding up the narrative flow because - well, they're so delightful (and we created them, and it's hard to murder our babies). But an editor with no investment in the story sees all such flummery for what it is - hot air and sugar, spun out of nothing (okay, that's meringue, not flummery, but you know what I mean) and dispenses with it.
So editors who are writers are subject to the same icy blast of clear common sense that strikes writers who are not editors, and our work is nearly always the better for it.
Labels: editing, writing