This week, (since I missed last week - I am SO sorry) we're talking up editors. I absolutely advocate for finding and clinging to a good editor. Because:
- A good editor will call you on your bullshit. Let's be honest. When I write, I am so close to a story. It's my baby. I am incapable of objectively looking at it and saying aloud, "Man, you ugly." So I pay someone who will point out the misshapen arc. The half-formed character. The utter and appalling lack of conflict in that scene near the end.
- HOWEVER. A good editor will also point out what's good in my work, what's working. This isn't just me needing ego stroking. Though pets are nice. The markers of what works gives me sign posts by which I can fix what doesn't work.
- A good editor will occasionally make suggestions - "Hey, I think you knew what you meant in this scene, and I think this scene is complete in your head. It just didn't make it to paper. I could see adding x, y, and/or z. What do you think?"
- A good editor communicates in a way that I can process (now, granted, it is incumbent upon me to be professional and easy to work with - no histrionics, no diva-ing. Everything is in service to making a story better.) This requirement is 100% subjective. Only you know when you're in the communication groove with someone, but it is worth pursuing. You should never wonder what it is an editor wants when you're going through your dev edit notes.
And once everything is said and done, don't forget to credit your editor. It's often a thankless job, telling writers the baby needs a makeover.