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Developmental Editing

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What Is Developmental Editing?

I’m glad you asked.

A developmental edit (DE) is one of the deepest forms of editing. We’re looking at the foundation of the manuscript: structure, pacing, plot, character arcs, theme, and other big-picture concepts. It would be a waste to fix all the grammar and dialogue if  you end up cutting that scene or adding in a new one. That’s why line editing always comes after a DE.


I personally start the DE after the manuscript is complete—not when you’re pulling an outline together. I read through your manuscript twice, jotting down comments on a macro level. Then I write up a 5–8-page editorial letter outlining strengths, main points to improve, and suggestions for revision. I also include at least one virtual meeting so we can address queries and brainstorm solutions. The DE involves lots of comments, suggestions, questions, and hopefully, a fist punching through the air.

Do I Need a Developmental Edit?

It depends. It could be your draft is developed enough to skip the DE. However, it often happens that writers skip to the line edit stage, only to learn that their entire plot needs to be revamped before the edit can continue. If you’re not sure what edit it needs, we can do a sample edit to determine that.


In short, the DE is helpful to writers who (A) have a draft but feel something fundamental needs work or (B) want an objective eye to check that the foundation is solid before the next stage.

How Do I Know We’re a Good Fit?

That’s where the sample edit comes in! I look at your first 20 pages and leave in-text comments on the big-picture elements.


The sample is important so you see my editing style and how I treat your work. And I need to see if I’m the editor for you and if so, what editing your book needs, how long that would take, and how much it would cost. I never take on a project before making sure you’re comfortable with my edits and I’m passionate about your project.

So what are you waiting for?

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