Suggested by John :
How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:
__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.
Interesting question. But a hard one to answer. Truthfully, I don't even know how. Sure there are books that I have questioned , "Why, oh why, did that have to happen?" There are books I have read that I have loved....and books I haven't. Even a few that I would go as far as to say I actually hated. But would I have CHANGED them? Probably not. That's not my right. An author must have a vision when he or she writes, and who am I to question that vision? Doesn't mean I have to like it.
For example, Jodi Picoult has written a lot of books that have some questionable endings. My Sister's Keeper is certainly one of those books. I really loved this book, although the ending left me in tears. Would it have been a better book if one of the main characters hadn't died in the end? Well...I probably wouldn't have cried so much, but it would have changed the tone. It would have been a different book, and I might not have enjoyed it as much.
Certainly Tolstoy could have shortened War and Peace. I mean, come on. Those battle scenes could have been a little....less. But that was the book he wrote, and it has stood the test of time.
Almost ever Stephen King book ends with the knowledge that the creepy-crawly monster is STILL out there. Maybe I would have slept a little better not worrying about what was under my bed at night, but would I have kept reading his books if the endings were are tied up into little neat packages?? Who knows?
So basically, my answer is this: I don't think I would edit anything. The writer's vision is his own, and who am I to judge!