I recently read the assertion that many great works of fiction were chiefly down the contribution of a good editor. I must admit I was a little taken aback by this statement. I had never really thought of the writer and editor as being like the musician and producer. To what degree is this really true?
I always liked to think that as the author I am the writer and the "producer" of my story an editor is just there to clean syntax glitches and polish spelling (they are also free to point out bits of the story they don't like but surely in most cases this is a matter of opinion). If I were to read the work of others and tell them "x doesn't work" I feel I'd probably get a bunch of abuse. I try always to appraise work as "I feel this is currently a problem because..." or "this would work better if..." I always think of this as critique, is this editing?
I guess this question comes down to "What is an editor? How would one know a good one? What behaviour from an editor is appropriate?"