There are rabbits in my garden. Lots of them. It's a community garden, so there are plenty of opinions about what to do. We tried live trapping, but some folks think that puts the poor bunnies at risk. I think not trapping them is endangering my beans, but that's a discussion for another time. In the meantime, we've reinforced the fence and are doing our best to keep the damned things out. What I'd really like to do is build a perch tall enough to attract a hawk or owl or eagle to eat or scare away all the bunnies and chipmunks and mice.
Life isn't supposed to always be sweet and cuddly. The fox I saw trotting down the road with a small animal clamped in it's mouth was just another parent taking food back to the kits. I hope that dinner didn't involve a neighbor's cat, but I can't really blame the fox if it did. She's got to feed her babies.
All this death and destruction got me thinking about the editing process. It isn't always pretty. For the most part, I'd rather not add that extra scene or take out that wonderful anecdote or tighten up loose plot points or characters. But I know from experience that without a hawk-eyed editor, my stories can get as stunted as those half-eaten beans. If I insist that editors treat me gently, the story (and eventually the readers) will suffer.
I could extend this hawk metaphor further - talk about how editors can step back from a manuscript and see clearly just like eagles sitting on a perch - but I think you get the point. And I'm betting that those are the bits any sharp-eyed editor would pluck from this blog post anyway. I will say that anyone who tries to edit their own work is likely to end up running around in circles like I did the other day as I tried to chase a rabbit out of the garden. The slippery devil slid under a spot in the fence where I didn't know it could go. I did learn something that helped me plug one more hole, but I didn't solve the problem. At least not as effectively as a wise old owl would.
Everything needs a little pruning. Even if it hurts.