Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Passings: Carol Houck Smith

Celebrated editor Carol Houck Smith has died.

from her obituary in the Washington Post:

"The best advice to beginning writers, she said in a 2004 washingtonpost.com online chat, is "to be a reader. To become a voracious reader. And to learn to read with your ears as well as your eyes. To read your own work aloud. And even to type out a passage from a writer you love, to really get the rhythm."

The job of an editor, she continued, "is to discover what the intention of the writer is, and then to try and stand in for the general reader and assess whether the writer has fulfilled that intention. I think it's a chemical relationship between author and editor, in the same way that you're attracted to friends when you meet them, and so the editor has really joined the book."

To read the rest, click here.

She once wrote me a nice letter. I wrote her back.


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