Everyone needs an editor!

Literati are perhaps the least respected of professionals. Oh, sure, every doctor gets hit up at parties for a snap diagnosis freebie (Miss Manners’ advice? Reply “certainly, now if you’ll just disrobe I’ll examine you.” Hey, it WOULD liven up a party) but how many of them get “I’ve always been good with cutlery, probably would make a pretty snappy surgeon, doncha think?”

Writers? Editors? Every feeb who knows the alphabet has internalized that old “Everyone has one novel in them.” Yeah, maybe. But whoever said that (Confucius? Hesiod? Boccaccio? I wanna give that man a swiftian kick in the legpit region, I’m telling you) was careful not to claim it would be a good novel. Or even a novel one.

You see what I’m getting at here?

Few indeed are even the true the classics of literature that couldn’t be improved by the judicious exercise of editorial oversight. Think, for instance, how much better most of Thomas Hardy would be with a restrained sprinkling of snappy musical numbers.  Think of how much more eagerly students would tear through The Canterbury Tales if they were a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mystery instead. Think: The Gulag Archipelago With Zombies.

Oh hey…

Where was I? Right, editors and improvement. Longtime readers of the ol’ raincoaster blog (for what crime can this be the inhuman sentence? I ask yez) will be aware that we at raincoaster HQ have long cherished a fondness for the old-fashioned Yankee consumptive Howard Phillips Lovecraft; fewer, however, will realize that in addition to being a talented author of eldritch tales™ Lovecraft was also an editor and collaborator of prolixity and profound talent.

Climb with us into the Wayback Machine, set the dial for “Arkham,” and behold the birth of a career:

Young Lovecraft

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14 thoughts on “Everyone needs an editor!

  1. I found the first paragraph a treasure trove of humor.

    Especially the line about cutlery and being a good surgeon.

    Nice delivery.

    spot on, spot on

  2. As someone once said (I think it was me) any fool can dig a diamond out of the ground, but it takes a skilled and experienced cutter to make something beautiful out of it.

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  4. Glad you liked it. Sadly, I have just received my fourth slash Star Trek fanfic in a week to edit, for free. At this point, I’m just copy/pasting “Thank you for your submission. We are very happy you have chosen to use raincoaster media editing services. Please see below for our estimate and submit 50% of payment in advance via Paypal.” It’s not making me any money, but it IS good for a cheap laugh.

  5. The person in charge of telling me what’s wrong with my book is called “Senior Editor”, but only in the Illuminati literary set would such a distinction really make sense. Most of my experience has been in newspapers and magazines where Editors are cool… it’s the Managing Editors you have to watch out for, they’re the ones who assign the stories and bring your finished copy back with the pen marks all over it.

  6. I always though the Managing Editors were the ones who were paid to hide the fact the Editor in Chief would bugger off to play golf every day at noon.

  7. Pingback: Creativity is hard « raincoaster

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