Developmental Fiction Editing
Best for: authors looking for the most detailed feedback on their full novel or memoir.
Includes a detailed report. Plus margin comments in the manuscript itself. And a book map outlining the structure.
Please note: I offer a short sample edit (free). This applies only to novellas and novels. Or memoirs in the same word count range.
A sample edit allows us to trial working together before you commit to the bigger edit.
Full developmental edits can take up to 4-6 weeks.
However, if you’re looking for a lighter level of developmental feedback and your manuscript is already in a good state, the editing timeline can be 3-4 weeks.
Pricing is also adjusted down for the lighter edit. But this is still a more detailed service than a straightforward manuscript critique.
Novels and memoirs are composed of many moving parts. Character, plot, viewpoint, tone, structure, dialogue, action, conflict, and much more.
Trying to juggle all these components is a nightmare at times.
And it doesn’t help when you’ve read your manuscript so many times you can’t see straight.
You forget what you took out, what you put in… different drafts merge in your head. And this leads to one of the biggest issues of all…
What is on the page is not necessarily what you think is there.
As writers we fill in the gaps, the things we know about character and backstory. We might still include, in our minds at least, deleted scenes.
But the reader can only ever see what’s on the page. They have no knowledge of what was once there. They’ve never met the characters before.
And they don’t know the backstory other than what they’re told.
This can lead to a mismatch between what the reader sees on the page and what the writer thinks they see.
As a result, any holes that are there will often be missed.
At least, until some helpful reader points them out on a review site.
Which you absolutely don’t want!
If you do miss important problems, plot holes, and inconsistencies, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer.
It means you’re totally normal.
You just can’t get the cold perspective on your manuscript that a stranger can.
But you’re in luck, because this is where developmental editing comes in.
What happens in a developmental edit?
I read the novel several times, making notes in the margins. I never read a novel only once or twice because I find that more emerges the more I read. Connections are made. Patterns emerge. And the smaller details that might otherwise go unnoticed start to show themselves.
Drawing up a book map can help break down the scene and plot structure. It’s possible to derive a lot of crucial information that way.
However, there are a number of issues that are not detected in a secondhand breakdown of the plot.
Things like viewpoint slips. Problems relating to psychic distance. Characterisation issues. And prose-related pacing issues.
Pace can be affected by how much happens and how well it’s described. But it’s also affected by the length of scenes, the length of paragraphs, and the length of sentences.
Some developmental editing crosses over into line editing. My edits include some attention to language, where appropriate. Particularly where the prose style is a problem for the story/characterisation, etc.
I also write examples of how to reword sentences or paragraphs – but only in the margins. I don’t rewrite inside the manuscript text itself.
Repeating problems like crutch words and incorrectly formatted dialogue are also highlighted.
I don’t offer copyediting or proofreading.
Developmental editing is very time-consuming, which is why it takes so long. The margin comments are probably the most time-consuming element. I take several passes when it comes to making margin comments.
Book maps are also time-consuming. Not only do they have to account for all scenes in the book, what happens in them, and other factors, they also have to be analysed for any information they reveal.
This is why developmental editing is costly. And because it’s a risk to spend a lot of money up front, you have the option to test-drive a shorter developmental edit first. For one thing, it will give me a better idea of what you and your manuscript need.
If you are wondering which type of editing is best for you, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss your book. I will ask to see a sample and I’ll also want to know how much writing experience you have and what your plans are for your manuscript.
If you’re looking for a developmental edit rather than a manuscript critique, I will ask you to try out a free sample edit first.
The Manuscript Critique is available for the following genres:
A detailed report on your novel or memoir within 4-6 weeks of submitting your manuscript.
A lot of writers go round and round in circles trying to figure out what they might be missing in their manuscripts, or what they can improve.
With a developmental edit you can save yourself the time. Instead, you get to refresh and kick back for a few weeks before tackling your manuscript again with new insights and constructive feedback.
It’s true that a developmental edit is a lot of information to take on board. That’s why I include follow-up email feedback and a single-read spot check of your later draft. You also get a shorter editorial letter for your revised manuscript. This will not include track commenting in the margins.
If you want me to go through your revised manuscript more than once, that costs extra but you still qualify for a discount as a returning client.
Here is what’s included in your edit:
When you first contact me, you can let me know the genre of your manuscript and whether you intend to self-publish or submit it to an agent. You can also let me know your word count.
I will contact you to ask you more about your project. I’ll also ask to see a sample of your manuscript. I may send you a questionnaire to fill in to give me a better insight into your writing experience and goals.
The Editorial Freelancer Association’s recommended rates per thousand words are $30-$39. In GBP that amounts to around £21-£28 per 1000.
My rates are currently lower to help indie writers access an otherwise expensive service. Prices may vary according to whether it’s a more detailed edit or a lighter one. At the moment it costs between £12-£18 per thousand words or £120 to £180 per 10,000.
The exact price is dependent on the length of your manuscript and its complexity. The book map option is included at the higher price rates.
Payments are paid in instalments, with at least 25% due on booking your edit. If your edit starts immediately, then you will be invoiced for 50% of the balance.
Delivery of your edit is within 4-6 weeks of the commencement date. However, if there’s a queue you might have to wait – you will be given a booking time and the date to send me your manuscript. You will also receive the delivery date.
You are invoiced for the next 25% on delivery of the edit. By this point you will have been invoiced overall for 75% of the balance.
After you have completed your next draft, you can book a spot check and I will read over your manuscript and send you an editorial report. The spot check is not as detailed, but it is included in the price of the package. You are invoiced for the final 25% either at the time of booking or on delivery of the manuscript.
You can also opt for five payments over the following schedule:
Delivery of manuscript to me…………………………….20%
Delivery of edit to you…………………………………….20%
Return of the revision to me……………………………..20%
Delivery of the spot check report to you……………….15%
Payment is by bank transfer, PayPal, or Stripe.
The deposit is non-refundable..
Contact me to let me know about your manuscript. I’ll send you a questionnaire about your project and intentions. I will also provide a sample edit of up to 2,000 words.
If we both agree, I will send you a contract and an invoice for 25% of the fee upfront. You will be given a completion date. Payment is by direct bank transfer, Stripe, or Paypal.
If you are not booked in for an immediate edit, you can pay a 25% deposit to book your place, then 25% just before the edit begins. The remaining payments are in instalments.
There are two deliveries – the full edit, and the shorter report on your revision. When both edits are complete, you are free to contact me with any questions you have for a fixed period of time.
Word documents in a readable font like Times New Roman or Calibri. The text should be double spaced to allow plenty of space for margins comments.
When you book an edit, you will receive a booking date. If there’s a queue, your commencement date may be days or weeks in the future. If there is no queue, you can have your edit much sooner. The turnaround for the edit itself is around 4-6 weeks for longer manuscripts. So, if you book today and I have an immediate space in my calendar, you will receive your edit within around 4-6 weeks.
You have the option to spread the payments for the full developmental edit over up to five instalments. However, the first instalment must represent 25% of the overall fee and is non-refundable.
The final payment is due within 14 days of delivery of the manuscript.
Yes, this is a full developmental edit with track commenting in the manuscript. You also receive a book map which outlines your book’s story and scene structure, plus an editorial letter. Included is also a targeted reading list and links to useful video tutorials or other resources. If relevant, other supplementary material may also be included.
If you cancel the edit after it has started, you cannot be reimbursed for the deposit or the second instalment because work is already done.
Yes, most authors I have worked with have been based in the US, but I’ve also worked with writers from the UK, EU, and elsewhere. My training is predominantly American and I’m a member of the US Editorial Freelancers Association.
Yes, I read the manuscript multiple times in full. More details emerge in subsequent readings which is why it’s so important to reread. A book map can help with studying structure and plot issues, but some issues can only really be picked up in the manuscript itself. These issues include point of view slips, psychic distance, and much more.
I recommend you try a sample edit first before ordering a full edit. This will give you a better idea of what’s involved.