Stanley Schmidt was the editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine from 1978 to 2012. Every year, from 1980 through 2006 (the last year it was awarded) Schmidt was nominated for the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor. After the Society revamped their award structure, he was nominated for Best Editor Short Form every year until he retired. In 2013, the Society awarded him his first Hugo as an editor and a Special Committee Award for editorial Work. That tells you two things.
First, the World Science Fiction Society’s award system could probably use a tune-up. Second, that Stanley Schmidt was one heck of an editor.
Great editors make writers look good, but they do their work in the shadows. No one ever looked at Analog Science Fiction and Fact and said to themselves, “Wow! What a great editing job!” We just got lost in the stories.
Editors help us look good when they edit our writing, but they also help us look good when they give us sage advice that we can use. Here’s one bit of Stanley Schmidt’s sage advice.
“Resist the temptation to try to use dazzling style to conceal weakness of substance.”
Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts.