James Thurber on editing

posted by Jason Kottke Sep 02, 2009

Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, "How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?" and avoid "How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?"

That's James Thurber in a 1959 memo to The New Yorker.