Edit. Don’t kill.


Every one who has ever sent anything whatever for publication knows the harshness of the editor’s blade. It is merciless and is presumed to be like how to keep your house and garden clean. It is a tough job. Remember the utensils you had to clean spotless.

There is difference however.

In the kitchen you clean your on stuff to make look like they were. As you do to your house. Or when you dust your books.

I mean you know what they looked like when you start the work. Editing at its best is like art restoration. Leonardo might know what he intended with his Mona Lisa or The Last Supper. The restorer does not. He or she presumes the original and works. But how can he or she match the genius of Leonardo. Thus the botched restorations.

The author sends his book or story or whatever to the publisher who hands it to the editor. It is the same as restoration. He cannot get into your mind, cannot fathom your motivation when you chose, mostly from the subconscious, a particular turn of a sentence. Sometimes your creative energy would be at loggerheads with the ruthless view of the editor.

The world is now a pretty messed up place. Sometimes the creative chap forgets or ignores this in his frenzy. The editor cannot ignore this. He is a different person with a different perspective.

I speak from experience. Two of my novels were edited out of shape. You can explain all you like but the editor may have many compulsions not counting his ego. When it comes down to the foundational ego things reach the absolute bottom.

The problem is not with the editor. It is in the incomprehensible human mind. The high fortifications of the ego refuse to yield and on occasions the siege goes on and on.

I am not an editor. I just do several revisions of what I write. Mostly making the intended meaning clearer. I guess that is not sufficient.

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