I noticed during my years in radio that the best documentary makers didn’t object to being edited; the ones who kicked up a fuss were the least talented. I try not to overreact when I’m told that something needs more work. I try to accept that whatever I write always needs more work. Initially, of course, I am downcast. But once I’ve absorbed the disappointment, I return to the work reinvigorated. It’s exciting to have a chance to make something better (though there is always the fear that I won’t be able to fix the problems the editor has pointed out).
A good editor will push you to deepen the characters, sustain the tension you’ve set in motion, pull through to the end the strands you’ve established in the beginning, point out where characters are not true to themselves, underscore the narrative opportunities you’ve missed and so on. A good editor is indispensable. I’ve been lucky in having a brilliant editor, Ellen Seligman, work with me on my novels.