Developmental Editing

A developmental editor (also referred to sometimes as a “substantive” editor) reads a manuscript with an eye towards the big picture. Their main goal is to help an author tell a story that works. They do this by looking at genre expectations, characterization, plot, pacing, point of view, conflict, world-building—all the parts that make up a story. A developmental editor highlights your strengths, not just your weaknesses. Most importantly, when they do offer constructive criticism, they will tell you why that area isn’t working. An effective developmental edit will help a writer improve their craft not just during the revision process of a single manuscript, but overall.

Things developmental editors don’t do during a developmental edit: heavy copy editing, line editing (working on style, word choice, etc.) or proofreading.

Whether an author wants to self-publish or go the traditional route, a developmental editor can help.

What I offer

After reading your manuscript through once to get an overall impression of the story, I will read it again with an eye toward making note of your best writing, as well as pinpointing any problem areas that when addressed, will improve your story. What you will receive from me is a multi-page letter outlining what I’ve found and in-line comments to support those findings within your manuscript. This is not a quick process, so for full-length novels over 50,000 words, depending on what shape the manuscript is in, it can take several weeks to complete the process thoroughly and thoughtfully. An estimate will be provided after I take a look at the manuscript to assess the scope of the job.

Sample edits of 500 words available upon request.

Manuscript Evaluation

If the deeper work of Developmental Editing is more than you need or want at the stage of writing you are at, I can provide an evaluation of your story, touching upon what is working, as well as what major areas need attention. Those include: genre expectations, characterization, plot, pacing, point of view, conflict, world-building.

What I offer

After reading your manuscript, I’ll provide you with a letter discussing what I find so that you can revise your work effectively. This process does not include any in-line comments, nor does it include copy editing, or line editing. Estimates dependent on length of manuscript and timeframe requested.


Before your book goes to print, your website live, or your marketing materials off to the masses, it is always a good idea to get another set of eyes on them to make sure there aren’t typos, broken links, or artifacts. Having worked in both writing and design arenas, I know what to look out for and will even tell you when the kerning is off on a line, making it difficult to read.

What I offer

Attention to detail to make sure your work is presented in its best light and is as error free as humanly possible. Estimates dependent on length of manuscript and time frame requested.