Is edited writing always best?

There is a lot of discussion on the internet about writers (especially indie writers) getting their writing edited before letting unsuspecting readers actually read their work. Among those who prefer (or insist upon) editing, some prefer (or insist upon) professional editors while some don’t seem to care who edits a piece of writing, as long as someone other than the author takes a red pen to the text.

I think editing can be a good thing – a second pair of eyes that belong to someone who knows what they’re doing can only help. (I say this as a writer who once had characters drive separately to the movies and then drive home in the same car.) By the same token, someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing is more likely to do anything but help. So, I feel that authors can be edited or not, whatever they choose, not what any gods of good writing decide for them.

Some of the people that insist that all indie authors must be edited have said that they won’t read any author who isn’t edited and who doesn’t list who that editor is. Judging from this, one would suppose that any – ANY – work that has been edited is therefore good.

One can stop supposing that.

At the link below, there all kinds of egregious writing from published (non-indie) authors. (And if they are published, wouldn’t one suppose they’d been professionally edited?)

My personal favorite: “the shriven corpse of a dinosaur” – which means that the dinosaur’s corpse went to Confession. I’m so glad.


2 thoughts on “Is edited writing always best?

  1. Haha! Great post! I completely agree.

    I’ve read indie works that are either unedited or edited by an unconscious person (horrendous, truly), but I’ve read works of equally dismal quality that are published and edited. I think it’s a question of having an eye for that kind of thing, not whether it’s an ‘official’ editor. Same goes for a writer.

    I like what I like, and I like good stuff mostly. I don’t care about credentials so much as I care about the quality of the work.

    • I read something many (yes, MANY) years ago, when there was a discussion of developing square tomatoes so that they could be packed more efficiently for shipping to stores. And this person said, the only thing a tomato has to do is taste like a tomato. The same goes for a story – the only thing a story has to do is be a good story, and good stories don’t always follow the Right Rules for Good Editing. Larry McMurtry won a Pulitzer Prize for Lonesome Dove but in at least one instance he switched character POV right in the very same paragraph (gasp!) And he broke lots and lots of other “rules” and yet still managed to write an award winner story.

      Again – good editing is a wonderful thing, I always like having other people read my work and give me their reactions to it. But to insist that ALL editing is wonderful and necessary is a bit extreme, in my opinion.

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