Developmental editing is an in-depth, thorough review of your entire manuscript which looks at your story as a whole, ranging from plot and characters to pace and audience.
Following a developmental edit, you should have a good idea of any plot holes, characters that need further development and whose actions/dialogue seem out of place, and an idea of pacing — for example, if there are any areas where the story moves too fast or not fast enough and if the pacing is consistent, for example, paying attention to chapter lengths.
A developmental edit will also take into account your genre and target audience and review its suitability; for example, if your manuscript is written for YA, then is the language throughout appropriate?
Once your manuscript has had a developmental edit, it will be ready for a line edit, followed by a copy-edit, then a final proofread.
As a writer, you may have spent weeks, months, even years getting your manuscript finished. You will probably have battled with self-doubt, anxieties, and fought through other blocks to get you where you are today. So the thought of handing over your manuscript to somebody else, to have them be brutally honest and direct with their feedback, is a scary prospect.
For many inexperienced writers, the revisions suggested could mean that the final draft is nothing like your original. Sections may be reworded, moved, or even cut completely.
As a writer, you need to prepare yourself for such critique while a good developmental editor will work with you to make your manuscript the best it can possibly be while staying true to your vision and story. That’s why good communication and being on the same page as your editor is crucial.
As an inexperienced writer, a developmental edit is arguably the most beneficial stage of editing your manuscript will go through. Readers won’t often know the exact reasons why they dislike a certain book or why they found it boring when the plot was actually really interesting. Or why perhaps they didn’t find themselves rooting for or relating to any of the characters.
A developmental edit can help solve all of those issues. If you’ve ever watched a film, TV series, or read a book where you’ve been left wondering why Character A did X as it just seems so out of character for them, or you’re picking up on plot holes throughout the entire story, then you have seen first hand why a developmental edit is crucial.
For inexperienced writers, developmental edits are highly recommended and you should expect for any further editors you work with to ask if your manuscript has gone through a developmental edit. If it hasn’t, you’ll likely find that a developmental edit is recommended before a line or copy edit is completed, especially if you’re still fairly new to novel writing.
As you gain more experience with novel writing and the craft of writing good stories (after all, a good story is a mix of art and technical structure), you may find that you do not need a full in-depth developmental edit and the more budget-friendly developmental analysis is sufficient.
How long a developmental edit will take and how much it will cost all depends on how long the manuscript is and how much work is needed. I know this is such a vague answer but because no one manuscript is the same, it’s virtually impossible to give a definitive answer. However, as a ballpark figure, you should expect anywhere from 5-8 weeks.
For a free no obligation quote, please send me a message. I’ll then ask you to fill out a questionnaire and ask you to send a sample chapter. From this, I will provide with an estimate of how long I expect the edit to take (with consideration given to my current commitments) and the cost.
This is a free, no obligation quote and if I think from your sample that you could benefit from a developmental analysis rather than a full developmental edit, I will also provide that as an option. My aim is to get your manuscript to the best it can possibly be, not to carry out unnecessary work.
“Don’t listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won’t be one of them. Don’t listen to your friend who says you are better than Tolkien and don’t have to try any more. Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them.”
— Robin Hobb