Years ago, I came upon a slender little book titled My Editor, by M.B. Goffstein. It’s a poem of few lines, with simple, geometric illustrations, describing the process of working with an editor on revision.

I loved it so much I bought three, thinking of people I knew who might love it too. Now I only have one.

I’ve been thinking of it a lot, of late, going though the revision of The Next Novel, working with The Taskmaster (editor). The poem evokes the rewriting process as a construction site:

I begin to dig again, and lose myself in the excavation. 

Of course the new creation isn’t quite right at first, and his editor sends him back to revise.

… my building worries me. It’s stone cold, and I cry, “Why not have left it wobbly?”

There is a feeling of integrity in the early drafts that is initially lost in revising, until, with time, a new integrity emerges.

Take it apart, and suddenly see how it goes. 

This book is a treasure, and greatly heartening.

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