Developmental Editing

An objective analysis of the manuscript as a whole. After you’ve gone through a couple drafts, you as the author will likely be too close to your text. Here’s where I come in, in order to examine the basic, big-picture components that affect how effectively you communicate your story or message.

Let me start with this: it’s a good idea to go through at least one draft of your book before sending it to an editor. Even after a first draft, there are often still themes to flush out, characterization to expand, and logic errors to correct. Help me help you. If your story is as good as you are able to make it, you have a draft ready for a developmental edit. This way, I can give the most constructive feedback to help you with any necessary revisions and expansions. If you disagree with any of my recommendations, I’d be happy to discuss other ideas with you – after all, this is your book, not mine.
The scope of this type of edit is threefold:
  1. Objective, professional, and constructive feedback and suggestions in the form of an editorial letter of 5-10 pages.
  2. Detailed comments in the margins of the manuscript to illustrate my feedback
  3. Some in-text edits to illustrate my feedback
Aspects of your manuscript I will explore:
  • perspective/voice
  • tone
  • language
  • character and plot development
  • goals
  • themes
  • structure
  • flow and pacing
  • style
  • marketability
  • and more
A developmental edit does not involve combing your text for errors (that’s a line/copy edit). It’s about improving it as a whole through raising questions and concerns about existing and potential issues.
The specifics of a developmental edit vary depending on an author’s needs, but a project will generally include an editorial letter with my remarks, critiques, and suggestions as well as in-text revisions to demonstrate suggestions and help rework trouble areas. We can also discuss these matters through close email communication.
Rate: $0.035/word (variable)
You may ask, How can I know whether my manuscript needs this type of edit?
You can base this judgment upon the feedback you get from your beta readers. It’s always a good idea to find at least a few beta readers from your target audience who will give you their honest feedback. Based on the reviews you get, you can choose to either start with a professional manuscript critique, a developmental edit, or skip straight to a line/copy edit, if you are very confident with your content.
A developmental edit, unlike a manuscript critique, improves on a story that is already well formed and has the necessary components: a robust plot and a premise with legs; fully realized characters with real stakes in the story; and conflicts that will intrigue and entice your audience to continue reading. A developmental edit will take the building blocks already there and help the author make them as strong, fluid, and entertaining as they can be.