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Monday, February 20, 2012

"This needed an editor . . ."

One kind of literary criticism that still irks me is this line: "This needed an editor." I received that comment when Post came out, and I'm sure I'll hear it again with When We Were the Kids. Why it irks me is because I spend many weeks/months getting things ironed out with an editor. To make this claim is like saying the author wrote the book without any thought or organizational skills, and published it without reading it.

What I must remind myself is how everyone gets that remark. Substitute "editor" with the "Everyone's a critic" phrase and you get the picture.

But the Internet is a great place to be an armchair critic. Lampooning, ridiculing, and/or blasting someone's work is much, much easier than committing yourself to the writing/editing process. The thought of actually writing a book is beyond them.

Ever since I co-edited Post, I tend to think like an editor when I read a book. This is especially true when I read Stephen King's work. I'll read some stretch of pages and think, "This could have been consolidated." That was especially the case as I read the Dark Tower series (Too much High Speech! Ugh. And quit your nonsensical conversations and find that damn tower!).

But are my editorial suggestions going to change King's books? Hell no. They don't change my feelings on Post and they probably won't with When We Were the Kids. Such is the struggle, but it's worth it when you're proud with the end result.

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