Posted by @ 2:56 pm on August 4th, 2009

However, I can tell you this with complete certainty: Had I had any bright editorial ideas, Lish would have summarily rejected them. His control-freak obsessiveness redoubled itself when it came to his own work. He demanded that he get to pick the art director for the cover. We strategized over the sending out of galleys like Ike planning D-Day—”Howard, I have enemies everywhere,” he said ominously, and he was right. And no author I have ever worked with concentrated more compulsively on the precise way each line of type fell on the page, driving me and the production department almost nuts. (This is a pattern of behavior, I have learned, that he’s repeated with his other editors.) He wanted what he wanted, and that was that. He was a living no-editing zone. Except, of course, when it came to his author’s work; then out came the pick and the shovel and the scalpel and the drill.