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 

Need feedback on your novel or memoir?

"I have paid for writing classes and online course which did not even come close to giving me the advice, support, and ideas that Karen did. Not only did she provide constructive feedback, she also gave me techniques to try out to improve my characters (which I tried, and yes, it did work), as well as including a list of books and other resources which would help improve my writing. And finally, she convinced me not to stress too much over a first draft, as long as I get it down - which definitely soothed me a bit. Would highly recommend her services.
Crime writer

On the blog:

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 edit. 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?

Get a fresh perspective on your work.

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 H
Manuscript Critique client

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 information:


I’ve worked with manuscripts in the following genres:

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