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A Solitary Business

13 January 2003

'Without editors we would not have half the writers whose books have changed our lives, and nor would we have those books in the form which makes them so memorable. Writing is inevitably a solitary business: one lives inside one's own head to a degree, sometimes, that makes one scream at the terrible, monotonous inevitability of one's own thoughts and opinions. Living that way for long periods, even for the most reasonable and least melodramatic of writers, tends to lead to a skewing of one's sense of proportion, to a failure to see where sense is blurred, or tension lost, or structure (vital) shaky. That's where the editor comes in. The editor is the crucial third eye, reading both in harmony with the creator and on behalf of all of us readers, without whom there wouldn't be any point in the creator creating anything if the first place.'

Joanna Trollope, in an excellent piece in Publishing News about why writers need the skills of a good editor