Editors. I love a good editor. They see story and character, structure and theme like pieces on a chess board. Yeah, the knight is stuck behind the castle, and you need to move him over here to support the queen. And just like that, something clarifies in your mind. Some niggling doubt, always there, has been given voice by an objective, seasoned vocalist, and you get it. You’re just nodding, of course, of course, and you can see the three moves around it—knight to queen, rook takes rook, queen takes knight, and the game is transformed.
Mostly you write in isolation. Wandering around with these voices in your head, trying to get them out in as complete a way as possible. With some authenticity. Some uniqueness. Partly it’s an effort to be free of them, and partly it’s an effort to set them free of you. Characters are not an extension of the writer, but another thing altogether. A complete world, explored and independent.
But when you have gone through your isolationism, when you have set them off with the best of your skills, you need that perspective, that objectivity, that insight from someone who understands the picture and can see the spots that need a bit more color, another brush stroke, a darkening.
And if they ply you with liquor, and chat about the narrative, a piece shifted here, an attack opened there, then so much the better. New eyes. Your brain alight. A marshalling of all your forces.