Writing a book is no easy task. Getting it ready for print takes a team. One of the first members of your team should be a developmental editor.
What Is Developmental Editing?
Developmental editing isn’t worried with grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, or spelling. That’s what copy editors and proofreaders do. Rather, a developmental editor pays attention to the big picture. The main task of this professional editor is to perform a manuscript assessment. Once finished, that manuscript evaluation will help identify the following:
• Plot holes in your story. Do you make promises to the reader that don’t get fulfilled? Are there actions that don’t make sense or fit the flow of the story? With this editorial service, your editor will point those out to you.
• Character problems. Whether you write literary fiction, picture books, historical fiction, science fiction, or nonfiction books, creating three-dimensional characters isn’t easy. A developmental editor points out weaknesses and inconsistencies in your characters to make them jump off the page.
• Form issues. There are lots of writing styles, but you should match yours to reader expectations. If your middle-grade fiction reads more like a self-help book for adults, these book editors will notice it in the developmental editing process.
What Does a Developmental Edit Include?
The developmental editing process starts with the editor reading your entire manuscript. While reading, the editor notes questions and concerns that should be addressed. A manuscript assessment is then created and sent to you. This provides constructive feedback on how to improve your story.
On top of the editorial feedback listed above, my developmental services include the following:
• Notation of words, phrases, or sentence structure you overuse. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s important your book is full of it.
• Inconsistencies in verb tense, point of view, and more. Like all experienced editors, I pay attention to all the things that make your story work. If you change tense or point of view, I’ll let you know. I’ll also suggest changing verb tense, point of view, and more if appropriate.
This Sounds Like a Writing Coach
If this sounds like what a writing coach, that’s because it kind of is. Developmental edits go by many names, including:
• Comprehensive editing
• Content editing
• Global editing
• Structural editing
• Substantive editing
Why all the names? Beats me. But whatever you want to call it, I provide it to authors across the United States, right here from my office in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Finding the Perfect Editor
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a perfect editor. Every one of us has our own perspective and preferences. Because we’re all people (sorry, AI), we also have personalities. That means finding the right editor for your book is a matter of personal preference.
Before starting the developmental editing process with an editor, make sure you can work together. You should appreciate how your editor communicates with you and treats your book. I’m a pretty nice who gets along well with people. I also treat my clients’ books like my own. So, if you choose me to provide developmental edits, you’ll get straight-forward, compassionate editorial feedback in a timely manner.
Who Needs Developmental Services?
With beta readers and DIY editing tools, you may feel you’ve got the book editing process under control. However, unless you have editing experience or are good friends with professional book editors, your book needs professional editing.
First-time authors and experienced writers alike benefit from the services of a developmental book editor. If you’re one of them, I would love to take a peek at your story. I’ll even give a small sample edit of your actual manuscript. That way, you get to see if I would be a good fit for your book. Interested? Contact me below to get started.