Jim recommended this Salon piece on editing in the comments of the previous post, but it’s so good I’m promoting it to the main page.
To people not in the business, editing is a mysterious thing. (Actually, it’s mysterious to most bloggers, who despite having been in existence for less than 10 years, probably outnumber every writer who ever wrote. But more on them later.) Many times over the past 20 years, people have asked me, “What exactly does an editor do?”
It’s not an easy question to answer. Editors are craftsmen, ghosts, psychiatrists, bullies, sparring partners, experts, enablers, ignoramuses, translators, writers, goalies, friends, foremen, wimps, ditch diggers, mind readers, coaches, bomb throwers, muses and spittoons — sometimes all while working on the same piece. Early in my editing career I was startled when, after we had finished an edit, a crusty, hard-bitten culture writer, a woman at least twice my age, told me, “That was great — better than sex!”
Gary Kamiya gets the byline. Enjoy.