Developmental Editing

Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.” – Michael Crichton


There’s a convenient fantasy surrounding the writing process that goes something like this:


The day breaks, and the Writer reads the newspaper or goes for a morning jog; sips tea or coffee over a leisurely breakfast; sits down alone to a computer, notepad, or typewriter; and writes, at which point the magical words, for which the world is raptly waiting, flow out. Finished creating, the satisfied Writer enjoys the rest of the day, perhaps draws a paycheck from the mailbox, reads a book or three, and then repeats the process until enough words accumulate to compose a book, at which point the manuscript is mailed off, and accolades follow.


If this is your life, stop reading here. You are already living the dream.


For the rest of us, writing is an endless, messy, complicated, and harrowing business, one that’s often closer to bloodstained field triage than cloud nine daydreaming. At the same time, it is addictively pleasurable, the job we show up for even when we are not paid. Writing is rewriting, and thoughtful, intentional revision is a fundamental component to the creative process. Sometimes it involves a literary chainsaw, other times a scalpel. In every situation, the goal is not to change for the sake of change but to identify those revisions that will benefit your book.


Every single event, character, idea—in fact, every single word—in your book should be treated as if it were at a job interview, and you (or a stern editor on your behalf, fiercely loyal to your own interests) must ask these questions of it: What do you bring to the table that justifies your presence here? What do you provide that no other (event, character, idea, word) could do? Why are you the very most suited for your unique purpose?


As a developmental editor, I ask and help answer these questions for every aspect—and eventually every word—of the book. I evaluate structure, pacing, conflict, characterization, organization, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, clarity, and flow. At the sentence and ultimately word level, I look for concision, vibrancy, and impact.


After an initial evaluation, I propose and discuss a revision plan, and we mutually decide on the scope, specifics, and approach for implementing the changes. All edits are then performed in close collaboration with you, the author.


Up to 50,000 words: $4000
50,000-75,000 words: $5250
75,000-100,000 words: $6500
100,000+ words: TBD per project

Fees above are estimates; exact price will be determined per project.