Why I do what I do
I discovered many years ago that I was a decent writer; but also that I enjoyed editing my prose far more than I liked writing it. Years later, I discovered that editing others’ words was even more of a challenge: I had to learn where to step back. Tweaking that initial prose ever-so-slightly, that’s the part of writing that I love.
Oh, I still have writing projects of my own: I have a novel-in-progress that I plan to continue toying with for many years; and I write song lyrics for the fun of working in verse. I have three paper rhyming dictionaries, and they all have strengths and weaknesses. (But I digress.)
When editing, I’m happiest when I can preserve the artistry and the spark of the original text while, at the same time, making it subtly easier to read. I’ll change words–sparingly–but punctuation is an editor’s best friend when it comes to enhancing pacing and readability.
Other editors tell me that editing ruins them for reading, but I’ve managed to avoid that trap–so far. I do a better job as an editor when I’ve been reading a good book, any good book at all. I’ve found inspiration most often in the words of Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut, but inspiration can come from anywhere. Alexander Belyayev, Nick Bantock, China Mieville, and John Irving have all produced work that I love.