The Art Of Editing

Jul 22 2013 @ 4:00pm

Miranda Rizzolo draws on her experiences at the LA Review of Books:

[E]diting is a true partnership with the writer, a collaborative art form that must be preciously guarded and passed down to the next generation. As interns, we don’t just proofread; instead, we are encouraged to learn and practice real editing. We learn to remove jarring repetitions, seeking instead the kind of repetition that is sprinkled deliberately through a piece, echoed words or images that help form a cohesive narrative. We learn the difference between line edits — sentence-by-sentence adjustments for clarity and flow — and heroic edits — the “not entirely unironic” phrase for major restructuring or rewriting. Above all, we learn to make every change with one goal in mind: the preservation of the writer’s voice…

I always thought the creation of a story was solely the job of the writer (or even the actor). But editors, too, are creators, meticulously combing paragraphs for problems they must then inventively solve, imaginatively crafting and re-crafting sentences as they work alongside writers to shape a piece into the most powerful, compelling story it can be.