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Writing on Computer



What is developmental editing?

Also termed as a content edit, story edit or structural edit, a developmental edit looks at the big-picture storytelling components of your manuscript. Consistency of plot, clear and believable characterisation, and a compelling storyline are key considerations.

Specifically, the edit will look at:

  • Plot & Setting

    • pacing and tension - correct pacing will give the reader enough time to let the details sink in and urge them to continue the story.

    • loose plot threads to be identified

    • subplots must be relevant and feed into the main plot

    • plot events should be clear/understandable, and believable

    • Setting to reflect characters and storyline

    • Use of all five senses to describe setting

  • Characterisation & Dialogue

    • characters should have clear motivations/goals for the things they do and behave consistently

    • characters should have arcs—they start at one place and end at another

    • characters should be varied - not sound/act/think exactly alike

    • Dialogue to be realistic for gender, age, and the ethnicity of each character

  • POV and Perspective

    • the story should be told from the most appropriate point-of-view (first, close third, omniscient third)

    • the number of POV/viewpoint characters should be appropriate, and the POV characters should be the right one

    • head-hopping should be addressed

    • scenes should reflect who the POV/viewpoint character is.


Feedback is presented as both an editorial report and as notes and edits in the manuscript pages themselves.  The editorial report summarises how well the author has handled the different storytelling elements. It contains suggestions on how the author might improve the manuscript by strengthening certain aspects. Notes and edits in the manuscript will include recommendations on where and how storytelling techniques can be strengthened within the manuscript itself.  These will be marked with track changes on your Microsoft Word manuscript file.

Will a developmental edit fix my grammar and punctuation errors?

No. A developmental edit looks at the big picture elements of a story. It does not focus on the sentence level detail or word usage. A copy edit is required for this. The developmental edit is the step before a copy edit. A copy editor will focus on spelling, punctuation, capitalisation, grammar and word usage. This is looking at correct word usage rather than developing the story. There's no point making changes at a sentence level if the manuscript requires more extensive changes. Some of the original manuscript might be changed or even removed before the author declares it to be a final, publishable draft. You don't want to throw money away copy editing words that are later cut from the story.

How much will it cost?

Every edit is different depending on word length and the author's experience. To discuss your specific project, please get in touch via the contact button below. In order to provide you with a quote, after our initial conversation, I will generally ask you to send me a few chapters to get a feel for your writing and to help me estimate the time required for your job.

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