Helps you to see and to solve the big-picture issues in a completed draft of your book.
Developmental editing focuses on structural elements like the purpose of your book, readers’ expectations, themes, and narrative arc. In an editorial letter, I point out the fantastic parts, identify what could be improved, demonstrate how with examples from your manuscript, coach you on craft as needed, and suggest next steps.
It may come as a surprise that a developmental editor doesn’t make changes to the manuscript itself. Instead, you, the author, remain in charge. You revise the manuscript, in your own words and voice, using the editorial letter as a guide.
A developmental edit is as unique as your story and addresses your particular concerns. Often, authors need feedback on the premise, structure, timelines, beginning and ending, characterization, scenes, settings, dialogue, interior monologue, description, pacing, believability, voice and writing techniques.
For narrative nonfiction
The developmental edit focuses on purpose, audience, organization into parts or chapters, persuasiveness of the argument, gaps in logic, too much or not enough information, visual elements, permissions, documentation, length, balance, voice and writing style.
I offer two kinds of developmental edits:
An editorial letter is a written report that provides comprehensive feedback on your manuscript. My editorial letters are about 15 pages (4,000 words). The letter might be accompanied by a summary of chapters, a new outline, a table that tracks characters, events, and timelines, or whatever your manuscript needs. Headings make it easy for you refer back to the relevant guidance as you revise.
Editorial Letter +
Comments in the Margin
You'll receive an editorial letter (8-10 pages) plus comments in the margins using Microsoft Word. The comments supplement the editorial letter by drawing your attention to specific passages, asking questions about clarity and meaning, affirming moments that are funny or moving, and noting paragraphs or lines that could be expanded, cut, or improved.
Which service is right for me?
An editorial letter is the best choice for an early draft that may need substantial revision.
An editorial letter + comments is ideal if the overall structure of your manuscript is working fairly well. At this stage, you'll likely have revised your manuscript a few times in response to feedback from family, friends or beta readers. There may still be some structural issues to deal with, but you won't have to rewrite entire chapters or sections.
For both services, you must be willing to revise — to immerse yourself again in the creative work of writing.
I took my manuscript as far as I thought I could, then sent it to Ellie. Her insights and comprehensive feedback allowed me take it so much further. She understood what my story was about, and helped me see where I needed to go deeper. I could not have stepped back and looked at the book from this perspective without her keen, impartial observations.
What does it cost?
Usually, $1,500 to $3,000 (Canadian dollars).
The price ranges widely depending on the length of the manuscript and your editorial needs. Please complete the questionnaire below for a complimentary assessment. If I feel that we are a good fit, I’ll provide you with a custom estimate.
When we began to write this book, we knew this venture was going to be unlike anything we’ve done before. But we never imagined how far we’d journey beyond our comfort zone. We also realized that Art Embracing Awareness wouldn’t be possible without assistance. So we want to extend our deepest thanks to Ellie Barton, our editor, for her ongoing support and insightful feedback. You helped us transform our prose/poems into this book. You are a gift to us.
Frantisek Strouhal and Chantal Robert