I get asked this question all the time. In podcast interviews, by new followers, and anytime I tell someone what I do for a living. Developmental editing is, possibly, the most important type of editing out there and yet it’s the most unrecognized. So, what is developmental editing?

developmental editing

The short answer

Developmental editing deals with the big-picture elements of your story—plot, characters, theme, authorial voice, and word choice. You know, the little things that make a reader want to keep reading your book.

How does developmental editing improve your story?

A developmental editor is part beta reader, part surgeon, simultaneously giving you fresh eyes on your work and zeroing in on the strengths and weaknesses. The advantage a developmental editor has over a beta reader is that they then take it a step further and provide you with ways to bring out your strengths while improving the weaknesses.

Developmental editing can mean the difference between a book your readers liked but maybe didn’t love and one that instantly turned them into your biggest fans. It’s like performing a home inspection before putting your house on the market. Knowing and addressing potential issues that could drive away buyers before you try to sell greatly increases your chances of success!

Don’t believe me?

Andee teaches writing at the University of Hawaii and has already published one novel, so it might surprise you that she sought me out to help with her second. But she knows the value of getting professional feedback on your work. Her second novel was a story very close to her heart, so she wanted to give it its best chance at connecting with readers.

After working together, she felt re-energized by my feedback and couldn’t wait to jump into revising!

Want to know more about how it’s done?

I created the Ultimate Developmental Editing Checklist to give you a clear idea of what exactly goes into developmental editing. Put your email in the form below to get your free PDF!

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Author: Whynott Edit

Hi, I'm Megan! My mission is to help underrepresented writers refine their words, strengthen their skills, and tell the best possible versions of their stories.

If you have questions/comments/concerns about writing, editing, or publishing, or want to suggest a post topic, feel free to reach out to me! megan[at]whynottedit.com