Editorial Nudging

Sallie started a discussion at TC about Anne Rice and her aversion to having her work edited. Apparently she thinks she’s so beyond that. As in, she’s not in need of an editor because her work is sheer perfection. Ya, right. Now, it’s true, I’ve never read Ms. Rice. However, there isn’t a writer out there who couldn’t use the assistance of an editor from time to time. So you can probably figure out what I think her swelled head needs. *kick*

I much prefer what Madeleine L’Engle had to say on the subject of editing. From Two-Part Invention:

[M]y first novel [A Small Rain] was optioned by Vanguard … I was fortunate at Vanguard to have a fine young editor, Bernard Perry, who later founded the University of Indiana Press. Bernard somehow managed to make me understand what I needed to do with the shapeless mass of material I had given Vanguard, to refine it and tidy it until it became a novel.

Then a little later:

[M]y second novel [Ilsa] was accepted, with enthusiasm. But, alas, Bernard Perry was gone. There was nobody at Vanguard at that time to tell me that what I had submitted was an excellent first draft but that my manuscript needed work, a lot of work.

I have been blessed with editors who have pushed and prodded me, made me go back to the typewriter and rewrite and revise. This second novel needed that kind of editorial nudging and didn’t get it.