“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demons whom one can neither resist nor understand. …And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.”
– George Orwell, Why I Write
Editing that book can also be a struggle, keeping the windowpane as clear as possible. There is something exciting about the ‘birth’ of a book, with the editor acting sometimes as midwife, sometimes as mentor, always as the clarifier of intent and purpose.
This is perhaps the sharp end of the writing business. Editors don’t just correct grammar; they commission, they shape, they rework. Here, we are hoping to provide some insight into this process. You might find a useful starting point is the website for the Society of Editors.