I’ve always been in favour of editing, if I wrote my articles ahead of time and had someone who’d be happy to look them over then I’d be continually bugging them and then trying to learn why they feel their way is better, some people don’t feel that way.
Victor Gollancz, the person as opposed to the publishing company, didn’t like to edit and you can read more details in this article. When I was the editor of my congregation’s magazine I tried to keep the author’s voice when I edited, some of them were challenging as I also had to make them understandable, not everyone has good written English.
The case for editing is clear in some cases, I’ve read a few pages of 50 Shades of Grey and that is in drastic need of an editor. I read 80 pages before I gave up, I got sick of being told how gorgeous the protagonists were and how attracted they were to each other, it happened on every page sometimes multiple times; readers do have memories. I admit to being really curious to find out why this series was so big; I don’t get it.
An editor can spot when something is written badly and when there are too many commas, they can tell you if the book doesn’t hang together. We have a lot of authors or would-be authors now, certainly far more than in previous times as almost the entire Western world is literate and we’re taught to write at school, it’s part of the education process; some people learn it more completely than others.
I found the comments in this article to be of interest. I didn’t have time to read them all but they discussed the issue of editing novels as opposed to editing poetry or art. I ask myself why is it considered appropriate to edit novels but not poetry and why not edit art? Some art screams for editing as it’s not really art and should have been sent back to the drawing board before being put in front of the public. We edit movies, they’re generally not sent out until everything is just right, some scenes are shot many times until it’s exactly the way the director wants it and they go through it with a fine tooth comb before it’s shown to the public. What is different about poetry and art? And then there’s music, is that edited before it becomes public?
My article today could have used an editor. I’ve read it through finding many issues with it, how many other issues a fresh eye would have found I can’t tell you.