The key to revision is learning to look at your work with an editor’s eye.
—The Writer’s Digest Writing Clinic
An editor’s job is to make the writer look better. Editors are trained to look a piece of written work and help the writer tie up the loose ends. They make sure that there are no superfluous characters, red herrings, or plotlines that go nowhere. They try to ask questions of the text that the writer can answer by changing the story. In addition, an editor checks that the point the writer is trying to make is clearly definable.
A good editor certifies that the language is tight; not too flowery and not too staid. They make sure that each piece of writing has a “voice”, a unique cadence or rhythm, or sense of humour or deep understanding.
Good writers are not always good editors, and certainly, good editors are not always good writers. However, you need to take on the editor’s role when you are ready for the revision stage. First, walk away from the text for at least twenty-four hours. Then, as you read through your material, take an editor’s approach and see how you can tweak your work to make it better.
One word for mastery: Consistency.