Editing is a sensitive issue—for writers, for editors, for everyone involved. Virtually all writers can benefit from working with a good editor. But note: the key terms here are “with” and “good.” Which is to say, the writer and editor have to be well matched—they have to understand each other and be able to communicate. What most writers resent is an editor who has a very different view of the trajectory of their work and then attacks the manuscript in a vigorous manner based on that view.
Most notably, editors are essential for serving as a sounding board for ideas, catching unintentional repetitions, and identifying passages and plot developments that don’t work. Word by word revisions are less important, and in some cases counterproductive. Finishing the manuscript of a novel is after all very different from writing and editing a magazine or newspaper article.
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Personally, I think the key to being a good editor is understanding the authorial intent by communicating with the author first-hand and then doing everything he/she can to help the author achieve that intent in a way that everyone is happy with. While that's a very simple concept, it can be difficult in execution. But for me, it's always, always the goal. It's the author's book. Not mine. I just do the best I can to guide.