December 5, 2012
COME ON, NOW. Self-editing is the soul of literary fiction.
I recently wrote to my long-time editor that I am again editing my third novel which she and I worked on several years ago. Title: Concerning Georgia Stekker.
(My second novel is ready to publish in the spring; The Way They See.)
I told her that when I picked up Stekker after a long while, I was shocked that it appeared no better than a rough draft. I realized how far I had advanced my skill. “I am making enormous improvements on the text. Your responsibility as editor does not include raising the writing above the mediocre. That responsibility belongs to the writer.”
The professional editor is my critically important support system. She makes suggestions from the reader’s point of view.
The writer self-edits to better evoke the human condition intellectually, socially, and emotionally. Here is where the soul is at work.
All the rest (grammar, punctuation copy editing) does not tap into the soul of writing; they are the mechanics. Anyone can be hired to do that.
Editing for the writer means doing it again, and again, and again.