Editing is like bartending, the finished result tends to be satisfying but getting there always takes different paths.
Many of my prose editors have been idea guys, helping me hammer out the initial concepts and then leave me on my own for the final outline and writing. In some cases, they course correct the outline but usually, let me go.
Much of my early prose work was with John Ordover on the Star Trek books and he was a strong idea man, almost handing me the plot after we covered some broad stroke ideas. He was certainly a top-down editor, preferring to use his writers as extensions of his vision.
The line editing done to the manuscripts has tended to be light or done without much of my involvement.
As a result, I’ve always felt somewhat dissatisfied with the end results since I have not been intimately involved from soup to nuts. On my own, I find myself hitting a wall and often need collaborative discussions with peers.
Iron Man, so far, is turning out differently. I took my one paragraph idea and over the course of several days, did some research, some expanding, some rewriting and finally expanded it into a nine page outline with chapter breaks. I sent it off to my editor and received, today, a very long, thoughtful e-mail along with an annotated version of outline. This was followed a phone call where we hashed out some further thoughts and came up with some additional ideas, all building off the original outline.
Tomorrow, I can spend the day revising it, making it a stronger work which has me excited.