An editor decides, first of all, what gets published. Will anyone under the sun want to read this? Has it been said before a thousand times—and much better? Is it well written (or can it be fixed)? An editor might have canceled “Books in Northport” long ago, but I don’t have an editor.
An editor guides a writer to the finished product. The title may change, entire chapters get cut, new material brought in and the ending taken in another direction entirely from what the writer originally envisioned. An editor would undoubtedly shape “Books in Northport" quite differently, but I don’t have an editor.
A line editor, or copy editor, remedies infelicitous phrasing and the flow of the narration or argument. Without an editor, I do my best. Misspellings, faults of grammar, words incorrectly left in or out (“I think you wanted a ‘not’ in that sentence”) and errors of fact—blog readers are at the mercy of them all. You might think a spell-check program, either the one in Word (where I compose) or the one in Blogger, would at least catch the misspellings, but no, I have to rely on my sister Deborah for that. Bless her heart! She’ll call me at the bookstore and tell me there’s something on today’s post that needs fixing, and I hurry to fix it. Sometimes other readers point out places where correction is needed. I appreciate the help. But other than that, I don’t have an editor.
Everything is a double-edged sword. Remember, my philosophy of life? For every benefit, there is a cost, and for every con there is a pro. Not having an editor is like owning my own business: my light (assuming I have one) may be hidden under a bushel basket, but I’m my own boss.
So if you see an upside-down bushel basket by the side of the road, dragging itself along at the speed of a tortoise, seemingly moving forward under its own mysterious power, however erratically, zigging and zagging this way and that from pavement to drainage ditch, tap your horn as you speed by. Poor thing! She does the best she can without an editor!