What does an editor do for a writer? I’m thinking about this because I’ve been asked to serve on a panel on that subject at an upcoming seminar for writers.
It should be obvious that editors find errors. They find where words were left out or doubled. They make sure you have commas in all the right places and that capitols are correctly used. They help you rework awkward sentences. They call you out when something is just a little too cute or when you’ve given in to alliteration one too many times.
Editors are your lifeline for continuity. They point out that Martha was named Margaret, earlier. They notice when a character has just shaved in one scene and still sports a beard in the next.
I most value my editor for endlessly berating me for using
weakening words. I’m good about staying away from that common scourge of writers, passive voice. My personal sins are “just” and “though.” People use those words frequently in conversation. I’m able to slip a few by her if they are cloaked in quotes. Though, she just won’t allow it, otherwise.
Those words are my personal disease. Fortunately, I have a good doctor.