Development editing (also known a ‘structural’ or ‘substantive’ editing) is the most complex and detailed stage of the editorial process.
In a Development Edit, I take in the ‘big picture’ and evaluate your manuscript as a whole. I analyse the story arc and discuss how well its constituent parts contribute to the entire narrative. During a Development Edit, I ask the fundamental question, “Does this manuscript work well as a book, and if not, why not?” As I read, I’ll add comments, questions, and suggestions to improve any component I consider needs work.
In a Development Edit, I address the following aspects of the manuscript:
- Plot—does the story arc hold together throughout? Are there any obvious gaps or holes?
Themes—are they all relevant to the story?
- Characterisation—are your characters consistent throughout?
- Consistency—do your characters react in a way the reader might expect, given the way you’ve introduced and developed them?
- Point of view (POV)—would your narration be better written in first or third person? Is the POV consistent throughout?
- Tense – should your book be written in past or present tense? Is the tense consistent throughout the manuscript?
- Dialogue—is it natural? Would real people speak the same way?
- Pace and flow—does your story drag in places? Can you increase the pace in an action scene, or does it move so fast the reader can’t understand what’s happening?
Although I carry out low level editing for grammar, punctuation, and spelling as I work through a manuscript, this is not the primary objective of a Development Edit. For example, if you overuse a particular sentence structure, or make obvious grammatical errors, I’ll note them and may even suggest changes, but my focus is much broader.
My Development Edit package includes:
a) The initial Development Edit—usually completed within three weeks of receipt of the deposit and the manuscript (depending on my schedule).
b) The optional Follow-up Line Edit, completed after you have made the necessary modifications—usually completed within three weeks of receipt of the revised manuscript (depending on my schedule).
c) If more than one service is booked at the same time, I will provide it at a discounted rate. IE: development edit plus proofread = 15% discount.
d) I will make myself available to answer any questions you have during the project (via email, Facebook messenger, and, as a special value-add service, via FaceTime or Skype).