If you’re a writer, you have to work on your craft. You have to learn the mechanics. You have to study language and dialogue. You have to read other people’s work – both the classics and the contemporaries. You have to develop what Dean Young calls a “critical sensibility” that guides how you read and write.
One of the final steps in preparing your work to be published is having it copy edited, which is to say that there are other steps. For example, your work needs to be revised. It needs to be read by beta readers, preferably ones who read critically. It needs to be read by an editor who will provide structural feedback.* It will then need to be revised according to the feedback and reception received. Then and only then is it ready to be hacked to pieces by the copy editor.
But I know now there’s one thing you’ve all overlooked: intelligence and education that hasn’t been tempered by human affection isn’t worth a damn…Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love.
- Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon