Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What good editors do, by Stephen King

Like so much of what we discuss in here, King is talking about fiction writing/editing (specifically, editor Gordon Lish and writer Raymond Carver), but what he says certainly applies to our newsroom, or any newsroom:

In King’s opinion, “a good editor should improve the writer’s work by doing a number of useful things: posing questions the writer should have answered and didn’t, suggesting places where thematic concerns can be reinforced to make a more pleasing whole, and pointing out (gently) infelicities of language. What an editor should never do is superimpose his or her own beliefs about style and story on the author’s work. An editor should be an expert midwife, not a surrogate parent.”