One of the most important relationships an author will ever have is with his/her editor. Even though this piece is written from the perspective of a person who has been (and is) both an author and an editor, it leans heavily into the realm of an editor’s POV. This is by no means a conclusive list. 🙂
1. The editor is flawless.
2. The editor is all-knowing.
3. The editor will always tell you what you want to hear.
4. The editor is always right.
Let’s tear these apart, one by one.
1. The editor is flawless. The editor is human. Humans are fallible. Therefore, the editor is fallible. Just like an author, the editor is going to miss things. Mostly, it will be little “nothing” punctuation marks that some reader who enjoys nitpicking will see and joyfully point out to the author. A lot of punctuation, especially the comma, is subjective. There are so many rules of thought for so many of the “rules” of grammar and punctuation. Editors have the nightmare job of having to research (sometimes for hours) some innocuous use for things like commas, semi-colons, colons. Regardless of how many times your work has been edited and revised, you are more than likely going to find at least one error. This does not make your editor a bad person. Unless it is something major, like a whole paragraph out of sync with what is happening in the book, any minor mistakes are hardly worth tearing your hair out over. Keep the lines of communication open with your editor. No author or editor is so professional they can’t learn (or relearn) a few things.
2. The editor is all-knowing. Nope. As much as authors need to research their materials to make sure their stories, no matter how fictitious, are believable, so an editor has to research and double-check all.
3. The editor will always tell you what you want to hear. Leave that to your family and close friends. More often than not, the editor is going to tell you what you do not want to hear. And probably more of that than you are anticipating. The editor may reconfirm some things that you know you did right, but the editor’s real goal is to cut through the fluffy bunny aspect and get the meat on display. You may not like or even agree with your editor all the time, but be sure to consider every aspect of what the editor presents. Open communication is critical.
4. The editor is always right. The humanity of an editor has already been addressed. But don’t toss the baby out with the bath water! Editors have specialized training and skills that are different from an author’s. It is always beneficial to hear/see what an editor has to offer your work.