When members of writers’ groups become friends, a wide variety of unintended consequences can arise. Catching up on life can overtake story-reading, and critique can become diluted. In fact, the line between encouragement and useful feedback can disappear completely. It’s easy to sit around laughing and say, “kill your darlings….” Easy, that is, until the executioner editor comes along and kills them for you.
If you’ve never experienced a good, hard edit, it can be a jolting experience. It can leave even the most competent of writers with a lump in the throat and feeling a tad bit sick to the stomach.
Well-meaning family members can also contribute to your big letdown. They tend to offer the sought-after but completely useless phrases “I like it” or “It’s good.”
What the Writer Writes vs. What Gets Read
There’s often a large gulf between what the writer writes and what others read. The developmental editor is tasked, in part, with bridging that gap. Not only is she your first line of defense against total embarrassment, but she is also tasked with reading your submission in multiple ways. First and foremost, she will read it as a prospective reader. She'll look for gaps; are there things that stayed in the writer’s head and never made it to the page? The brain’s tendency to self-correct won’t allow you to see those for yourself.