Letters to My Editor: The Importance of Editors Who Write

November 16, 2015

Welcome back to Letters to My Editor, a series of blog posts hashing out the relationship between an author and editor. In this case, my editor, Kate Homan, is my pen pal, and you can catch her latest letter to me at her blog, Long Story Short.

Dear Kate,

Letters to My EditorI thank you for your candid response to my volley in my last letter to you.  Your remembrance of your time spent in the trenches of NaNoWriMo was enlightening and invigorating for those who may be considering the plunge.

Now, as to whether or not it is important to have an editor who writes – I have two schools of thought on this subject.

One: it’s excellent.

Having an editor who writes can be beneficial when presented with a very sloppy, terrible first draft.  An editor can empathize with what it took to complete that first draft and can be supportive in the building of the second draft.  An editor who writes can implicitly understand the hard work that goes into writing and the effort it takes to put the right word on the page.

However, there are always two sides to a story so…

Two: it’s awful.

Editors are there to edit, and it is possible for their penchant for writing to overcome their specified role in the production of your book.  This is especially bad if your editor writes in a genre that you do not.  An editor’s own taste in writing can eclipse yours if you are not a strong enough writer to overcome the nudge.  In addition, an editor who writes may find fault in your writing when there is no fault at all.  Genres have distinct rules with distinct formats, and again, if the editor is writing in a different genre, they may disagree with something you’ve written because it doesn’t fit the rules of their genre.  This can lead to over-editing in your own manuscript and as a writer, you need to be strong enough to refuse such edits when you know that what you’ve written complies with the rules of the genre in which you are writing.


When working with a writing editor, it is necessary that the writer keep control of the text and filter through the editor’s suggestions for changes with the understanding the editor may be approaching the text from a different stand point.

So what am I getting for my birthday this year if not a manuscript?  Perhaps the second draft of the one I received last year?



Be sure to subscribe to Kate’s blog to get her response next week!

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