Literary Disappointments (was: The LKH thing)

Tue Feb 18 05:27:56 PST 2003

On Tuesday, February 18, 2003, at 08:18 AM, Andrew Lias wrote:

>> I think that's brutally unfair to editors.  They're not miracle 
>> workers, you know and turning a 900-page doorstop into a tightly 
>> plotted story a third that size in the time frame that most editors 
>> have isn't bloody likely.
> I take a middle stance.  A lot of books that do reach the public sufer 
> for a lack of rigorous editing.  However, you are correct, editors do 
> suffer limitations.  A bigger limitation is that authors who are 
> successful can become 600 lb. gorillas.  What editor is going to stand 
> his ground when confronting a defiant Steven King, for instance?  I 
> think this is one reason why many authors have earlier works that seem 
> tighter and better focused than their latter works.
>> Not to mention the fact that people LIKE doorstop fantasy.  Just 
>> because your taste doesn't match the market doesn't mean that editors 
>> aren't doing their jobs.
> There is a market but it is possible to write a big book that is, 
> never the less, well plotted and not stuffed with filler.  An *ideal* 
> editor is capable of helping an author achieve that... but we don't 
> live in an ideal world.

I am blessed with a good editor who does exactly that--she cuts filler 
mercilessly, asking me, "Why is this here? Does this advance the 
plot?". Probably why my books tend to be about 300 pages :-)