fix your plot, characterisation, and more

Developmental editing of fiction and memoir

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IndieCat Editorial

Looking for detailed feedback?

I'm Karen McKellar and I'm a developmental editor of fiction and memoir.

Indie authors work hard on their manuscripts and want their books to do well, just like any other writer. But you don’t have the support of a publishing house or agent. 

That’s where I can help. Manuscript critiques and developmental edits give fresh insight into your story and characters. Armed with editorial feedback, you can rework and polish your next draft.

Banner image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash 

Client testimonial:

I have worked with several editors, all good and professional but I found Karen’s critique much more than that. She got into the heads of my characters, something I often failed to do thoroughly, and the plot, of course. But as with life, the big omissions are more obvious, the smaller less so and these make the novel work and stand out. And these Karen identified. I had a lot of work to do after she reviewed my novel but worth every minute. And she is good to work with, makes positive suggestions and is very thorough
Sandy Hogan
Manuscript Critique client

Special February Deal: Opening Chapters Assessment (Up to 15,000 words)

Your opening scenes and chapters are among the most important in your book. Are your opening chapters pulling their weight or dragging you down?

special february deal - flat fee - £120

Who it’s for:
Writers wanting to try out a developmental fiction edit. Writers who want to trial my services before buying a larger package. And writers who want to have their opening chapters checked before submitting to an agent. This is also a good option for those still writing their book, who need guidance or feedback on how things are going so far. Your synopsis – if you provide one – will also be analysed. This means you can get feedback on the overall narrative and character arc of your story.

What’s included:
Clients receive an editorial letter and a copy of their manuscript with track commenting. The report will include feedback on any synopsis or outline of the rest of your novel. You also receive a reading list, and some email support/feedback. Payment in 2-3 instalments.

Special time-limited price: £120

Time to complete: 7 days.

On the blog:

selection of blog posts

A mainstream publishing deal should come with good editorial support. But does your novel always get the attention it deserves?

What are the benefits of outlining your novel in advance? Here are 3 case studies involving authors I’ve worked with who outlined first.

The Story Spine is a storytelling structure used by Pixar studios and others. How can you use this structure in your own writing?

selection of blog posts

What is the most common problem I see in manuscripts? Let’s call it character credibility and the domino effect. So, what is it exactly?

10 ways to improve your novel's pacing

One thing you want to avoid in your novel is a pace so slow, your reader gives up. Here are 10 ways to increase your novel’s pacing.

How indie authors are often subject to snobbery from writers looking for a mainstream career. And why those mainstream writers are wrong.

selection of blog posts

What is the difference between a manuscript critique and a developmental edit? What do you get in one versus the other?

Do you have a novel or memoir that showed a lot of promise but ended up rejected? Is it time to dust it off and rework it?

Dialogue can make your scenes sparky and vibrant. Great dialogue can also boost tension But dialogue can also be problematic.

selection of blog posts

Some writers pay for a copyedit before they send their manuscript to a developmental editor. This post addresses why this is a mistake.

Avoid this location issue in your novel

Does your novel have different locations? What happens when your write about places you know AND places you’ve never visited?

Period language can really bring a historical era to life, but how much is too much? And what are the drawbacks of using it?

Main editing services:

ignite your plot, characters, and more!

Opening Chapters

Grab a detailed developmental edit of your first 15,000 words, with a report and track commenting. This feedback is based on several reading passes of your manuscript.

Manuscript Critique

Get a detailed 20-30 page report on your manuscript’s plot, structure, characters, and more! This feedback is based on several reads and not just one or two passes.

Developmental Edit

Get the most detailed feedback of all – margin comments throughout your manuscript and a report. Generally there are four complete passes of the manuscript.

More blog posts:

selection of blog posts

How did developmental editing feedback benefit Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire? A look at her novel from first to last draft.

Maxwell Perkins was one of the most famous editors of the 20th century. Here I look at his developmental feedback on The Great Gatsby.

Maeve Brennan mined her Irish childhood and adult life in New York for her fiction and vignettes.  Here I explore her life and work.

More information:


I’ve worked with manuscripts in the following genres:

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