I know how overwhelming it can be to figure out what kind of editing you need for your manuscript. There’s line editing, copy editing, proofreading, developmental editing, manuscript reviews, beta reading, and more. Additionally, most editors are going to have a personalized view of what each of these things mean. For that reason, I am going to do a deep dive today on what developmental editing and manuscript reviews are within my business.
For both types of editing that I currently offer, I like to take a collaborative approach. I make suggestions for improvement but mostly my goal is to point things out for you so that you have an idea of what to work on next. I’m here to support you as a writer, not take over and rewrite your book for you.
The main type of editing that I offer is developmental editing. Developmental editing can also be called substantive editing or structural editing. This type of editing is what I like to refer to as “big picture” editing. While I am looking for grammatical errors, sentence structure, and overall language (especially if there are repetitive word choices or mistakes), the main focus of my edit is going to be on the plot, character development, setting, and overall flow/readability. A good developmental editor should also think about your writing in terms of audience and marketability. In short, developmental editing is a thorough look at all the elements of your manuscript and how they work together.
My developmental editing package includes extensive comments throughout the manuscript. I note places where I feel lost, plot holes, awkward wording and sentence structure, and improper formatting. When I finish, I go back through my notes and edits to make any additional comments or suggestions based on the book as a whole. While I’m editing, I also take extensive notes, which I then turn into my critique essay. This is a written response to the manuscript where I detail strengths and weaknesses and my suggestions for next steps in the editing process. My critique essay is usually around 2,000 words. My developmental editing package includes the comments in the manuscript, a critique essay, and also a follow up phone call or e-mail with me to discuss any other questions you have, if needed.
I do developmental editing for both long manuscripts and short stories.
The idea of a manuscript review is probably going to vary a lot more widely than a developmental edit will across the internet. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to talk about what a manuscript review is within my own business.
When I’m completing a manuscript review, my focus is going to be on the same things as it would be during a developmental edit. I’m looking at the big picture of the manuscript, and taking notes as I read. Then I’ll turn that into my critique essay.
The difference between a full developmental edit and a manuscript review is that the developmental edit includes notes throughout your manuscript and the manuscript review includes no notes or minimal notes throughout. The critique essay will look pretty much the same for both packages.
I wanted to offer manuscript reviews as a more affordable editing package option. Because it takes less time to do a manuscript review, I am able to charge significantly less than the full edit, and I’m still able to give you actionable feedback that will help you get to that next draft.
I only offer manuscript reviews for long manuscripts (novels and novellas).
What kind of editing is right for me?
If you’re looking for someone to catch every single grammatical error and typo but not looking to develop the meat and bones of your story any further, then you’re looking for a copyeditor or perhaps even a proofreader, not a developmental editor. If you feel really great about your plot, your characters, and your overall readability, you probably don’t need to hire a developmental editor.
On the other hand, if you feel lost as to how to edit the first draft of your first-ever novel, a developmental editor may be able to help. If you feel like you’ve done everything you can on your own but your novel or short story still doesn’t feel polished, a developmental editor can help.
If you’re interested in working with me but not sure which service you want to go with, reach out to me and we can talk about it further. I love working with new and beginner authors and I want to connect with you! As long as I think that I’ll be able to help you with your project, I’ll complete a sample developmental edit for you and give you an idea of how much each option will cost. Then you can decide from there.
I hope that this cleared some things up as far as the services I offer go. If you have any additional questions please reach out to me! My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by!