Monday, September 20, 2004

Salty Editors

Over on Bibliotechno, we were discussing editors, and I asked, "Are editors today worth their salt?"

Maybe not, or maybe not lots of them. It's a good question considering that the two latest Harry Potter books could be used as barbells in a daily workout. Meanwhile, like, Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code (UGH!) certainly could have used a more stringent editor. Cut out some of those adverbs, friend, and most certainly edit out things like, "He thought he saw a horse. He said, "I thought I saw a horse!"


At any rate, the summer 2004 issue of Tin House discussed F. Scott Fitzgerald's relationship with the editor who helped him along with The Great Gatsby. That was a cool essay, in that it reminded us of the important relationship between writer and editor. The description of the give-take between the two was really neat -- and reminds us all that self editing is not always the end-all, be-all.

Thanks for reading,



Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be Maxwell Perkins.

In the end, it always comes down to Maxwell Perkins.

My guess it isn't that editors aren't available or competent, I've worked with a number of good ones. Instead I'd say it's a sign of the marketplace; and editor's work isn't considered to be worth as much these days.

3:57 PM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Yeah, I'm sure there are good ones. But actually, at my place of employment, they have had a hard time finding good ones to hire, and I've heard that's also the case at another former employer. People aren't passing the tests.

So, it's probably a wide variety of variables. Also, there might be more people who are better copy editors than substantive editors, and vice versa. I also wonder at all the editorial mistakes I see on online newspapers, like The Washington Post.

So yeah... some of it's likely incompetence or lack of education... some of it is most certainly downsizing (probably with the lame idea that machines can do so much now you dont need as many editors nor do they need to spend much time)... and some of it may be that the really good ones are in such short supply.


9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You posted this on ...

"the birthday of one of the greatest editors of the twentieth century, Maxwell Perkins, born in New York City (1884). "

I stumbled across this on The Writer's Almanac website

7:39 AM  
Blogger LadyLitBlitzin said...

Wow, that's kind of weird, eh.


6:25 PM  

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