The editing mind

Thanks to a link in the comments here yesterday, I’ve got a snippet today from a book editor turned writer.

David Ebershoff, whose book The 19th Wife was just released, edited Norman Mailer’s last book. Here’s some of what he said in a Saturday interview with NPR.

If I stepped back and thought about it, sure, I was intimidated. But ultimately, I’ve always been a reader, since I was a kid, I feel most confident when I’m reading. And so, when I’m told I’m going to be Norman Mailer’s editor, I might get a little anxious about that, but once I had a manuscript in hand, I felt I knew what I was there to do. And I knew that the best way to respect Norman, or any other writer I work with, was to be fully honest with him and to bring my sharpest pencil to the manuscript. And that’s what I did.

See here to hear the full piece.


One response to “The editing mind

  1. Editing someone else is a thankless task but I’ve always held the view that if the writer does his/her job, the task of an “editor” devolves into more like proof-reading, making sure an author hasn’t used “literally” in two consecutive sentences, etc. I spend an enormous amount of time and energy on my manuscripts, doing all the grinding work myself. I will not abdicate my responsibilities as author and editor–I want every word on that page to be MINE and the only acknowledgment an editor will ever get from me is a nice card at Christmas time…

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