An editor should be a writer’s best friend. A good editor can take a decent story and help the writer make it a very good, or even great, one. I’ve had the opportunity to work with several editors that I respect highly, but the one I probably enjoy working with most is John Joseph Adams at Lightspeed Magazine. (It has nothing to do his buying of several of my stories, either) Everything Mr. Adams does demonstrates his respect for writers, from the rapid review of his slush pile (1-2 days!) to his handling of editorial revisions.
Case in point, I received the proof for my story “The Schrödinger War” earlier this week, and it was filled with the typical line edits, but also with numerous suggestions where Mr. Adams felt the story could be strengthened. He exerted no pressure to make the changes if I didn’t want to; he only tossed them out there for my consideration. They’re good suggestions, and I’ll surely incorporate some of them (but likely not all) into the final version, resulting in a that story will be stronger for it.
This isn’t an isolated incident either. I went through several back-and-forths with Mr. Adams for “Thief of Futures” and a few for “Dreams in Dust.” Both stories, but especially “Thief of Futures” emerged better from the exchange. He does the same with other writers, too: author Jake Kerr has discussed the editorial revision process he and Mr. Adams went through for his story “Requiem in the Key of Prose.”
Mr. Adams has been nominated several times for the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his work at Lightspeed Magazine, but he’s yet to win either. If he continues to work with writers as he currently does, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before he’s recognized with some hardware.