Where’s the Editor, Anyway?

I’ve vaguely alluded to this in recent previous posts, but a number of things (including some of the children’s books over at Curious Pages, an excellent website especially if you’ve got the time for its archives) have got me wondering: what the hell is wrong with the publishing industry?


Who thought some of these were a good idea? And, for certain novels, why didn’t the editor, for instance, eliminate the repeated use of ‘he smiled’ after every goddamn quotation?!


Once again, I do think fame factors into it–I think editors pick up a certain amount of timidity and well-he-probably-knows-what-he’s doing (the cynic in me says it’s apathy: it’ll-sell-no-matter-what)–but it’s telling that a universally great piece of literature can’t be made on the merit of the writer alone. I wonder how this applies to visual art: although it doesn’t quite work the same way. With visual art, there are certain conventions everyone’s familiar with (color use, composition, etc.). Literature is more flexible. Infinitely more, because all of us grow up rearranging words into sentences.


So, how’s your infinite assembly doing?


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