Editor’s dilemma is in determining the length of a sentence and extent of elaboration of any idea.
When I saw this post about the problems faced by editors I was travelling with very low battery but noted that I must debate on this issue.
Editing is important, some cases inevitable too and in certain cases renders a work more interesting through fine tuning and chaffing of the unnecessary frills covering the important substance or subject.
But how much is too much and who gets the privilege of deciding that.
Whether editing must be used as a nail filer or as a vegetable or fruit skin peeler or as a surgical knife or as a lumber jack to fine tune a presentation.
All artists in all forms of art create or render their works as a flow of their creative expression involving the romance between the medium with all its techniques and tools and what the artist wants to express using them.
We can see this romance in alapana [elaboration in music], a painter splashing multiple colors , a photographer taking photos from various angles, a writer weaving multiple expressions to express ideas, thoughts, descriptions and so on.
Every phrase in an alapana, every line or colour in a painting, every expression in writing, even the redundant ones or synonyms may have popped out of certain nuances that must have struck a chord in the mind of the artist/writer.
That’s why editing is a very delicate job like tight rope walking- the emphasis of focus is on balance than on exuberance or exhibition and ultimate aim is to ensure that final output is enjoyable or useful to the intended recipient.
When I see a movie like PINK PANTHER I am in total admiration of the editor; when I see Sivaji Ganesan’s over acting I feel that both the director and editor have failed miserably; when I see excessive, unwarranted, repetitive long winded dialogues in Indian movies it is irritating.
However, when Semmangudi elaborates a raga in alapana or a Madurai Mani Iyer repeats certain kalpana swaras, when J.Krishnamurthy or Osho repeat certain intrinsically valuable philosophical truths in different ways , when Shakespeare’s or Kalidasa’s plays delve into multiple descriptions I would love to savor them in all their entirety as many times as I can.
Life after all is a collation of repetitions. Repetitions of various kinds and intensities and which could be categorized as inevitable, interesting and incorrigible.
As in many other realms of life, editing and determining the length of a sentence too, our attitude is, inevitably one that is ambivalent.
Here is what I wrote on three topics of remote relevance to the subject of discussion
1. Length of a sentence
2. Need for elaboration
3. Repetition- the predominant factor of life
Once I had an argument with an editor, I told her , well I thought writing a cheque in your name for hundred thousand rupees i.e. 100,000 but then I edited and removed the four zeros which I felt were a mere repetition.