Novels, nonfiction and memoirs
Generally performed at a per-word rate
What is it?
Also known as content editing and substantive editing, developmental editing focuses on the conceptual and structural development of your long-form work.
While it is a form of editing, it is largely a critique and a guide of sorts to help you address your book’s problems or at least improve it.
It does not include much line editing, if any. Instead it aims to nail down the work’s central idea, narrative arc, and informational flow, as well as tone, voice, style and other key literary elements. Developmental editing is applicable to novels, nonfiction, memoirs, theses, and academic works.
We will work together in determining what your novel needs to best tell the story and convey the core themes and principles, but you’re ultimately assigning the work to a set of fresh eyes and new ideas, all with the intention of either working out core problems or improving the narrative. It all depends on your goals and the target audience.
- Plot or premise. The most crucial element of your work, be it fiction or nonfiction, which distills down to Who, What, Where, and When.
- Narrative arc. How your story unfolds over the course of the work, it deals with How, In What Order, Why, and By Whom.
- Conflict and tension. Tension is the glue that holds a story together, and conflict is how it is enacted. The most vital ingredient for a compelling narrative.
- Themes. Novels and nonfiction employ core themes that carry from the first page to the last, be it redemption, the hero’s journey, or something concrete like social justice or climate change.
- Point of view, voice, tense, and tone. Perspective and grammatical tense affect your story and the sense of urgency, as do the overall “voice.”
- Character development and arcs. How your protagonist, antagonist, and subordinate characters change and grow (for better or worse) over the course of your story.
- Dialogue. One of the most complicated elements, we’ll examine whether it feels natural, reveals character, and propels the plot—or whether it just sounds like people talking.