Well, her task is somewhat more complicated than most editors.
Traditionally I think, editors are tasked with copy editing, which takes care of formatting, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and all that sort of thing. Secondly they read for continuity and content. They can tell you when a plot feels off-kilter, and also give you fresh eyes and a sense of how to improve the narrative.
Her function for me is a bit different, because there is no narrative. It’s just my life.
She curates my many many posts, telling me which need to be in place, which can be removed, which detract from cohesion, Essentially, without her it is a journal, not a book. she identifies beginnings and endings. She makes me replace words or forces me to trim back my rather extensive rants about inane things. Working without her is impossible, I think, at this point in the process. Which is why I am both proud and dismayed she is off becoming a successful author in her own right.
It’s troubling for me to think I might have to start all over again or worse…do it myself. It isn’t good to edit by yourself.
If you hear my editor rant on the subject, which she does with some frequency, everyone needs an editor, even she, because you cannot ever catch all your own errors. She also recommends a set of beta readers, and the willingness to recognize that your vision for a project is not the finished product. The finished product is the agreement that the author and the reader reach, each time the work is read. It will be different every time, for every reader, she always says. So it is important to have an editor, because you need to know which things to make abundantly precise, and which to leave to the reader.
That’s the craft, I suppose. I have begun embracing her idea of beta readers. I have several readers to whom I funnel the Snacks when I finish them, because I find them to be tediously hard on my thoughts, as they are so different to the books. They help me realize where I have left too much to understanding, or been too dry in my discussion of history, or even if I have one particular word that is without definition and might give a reader pause. I do find this quite helpful.
So do I recommend an editor? Wholeheartedly. I could not have brought these books to the market, or indeed moved into the third stage of the experiment without her help.
Now please do not take this as a recommendation to pester her constantly forgo her own successes and work for me. Do not go immediately over to @kristinalmeister and beg her to be kind to Simon. Do not tell her to think of the gentle readers or Simon’s data, or this tenuous experiment hanging by a thread only she can reinforce. Don’t dog her heels until she swears at you in her customary creative fashion. The poor dear was railing against Trump in colorful fashion all morning. She’s probably far too tired to come up with any more expletives.
It’s not like I forget I have a client who says he eats people, okay? I know you’re there. I’m moving as fast as I can.
You don’t knock that shit off I will come find you. I know where you live. I will track your spiny ass down and
Like buy you a beer or a plate of raw hamburger or something.
Like you eat that, right? It’s like your jam, right? The raw meat? Like, I’ll even put salt on it for you. Maybe pepper.
I’m gonna start telling my readers to come harass you. Grayscale denture-wearing old-timey mother fucker.