Editors should not rewrite others’ text to make it like their own. Instead, they should strive to improve the text to make it as good as it can be — but it must still be the writers’ piece. James Thurber, in The New York Times Book Review from December 1988, notes:
Editing should be…a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, ‘How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?’ and avoid ‘How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?’
Mr. Thurber is right on point. Most editors are good writers themselves, and so many find it difficult to resist the urge to “edit” another’s text to the point of making it just like their own writing. However, the best editor will work to retain their client’s own voice and style, while at the same time improving the text to help the writer shine.
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