Developmental Editing

You’ve done it! Your draft is ready for the next step. During the Developmental Editing stage, we’ll work on some necessary structure and content issues.

After the analysis and commentary, you’ll have some revisions to make and sections to tighten and clarify.
We’ll work together, so expect e-mails back and forth as we cover:

Strengths and weaknesses
Plot, Character, Dialogue
Reader’s experience
Goals and obstacles

Click on the tabs below for more information.

This is where we finally get to PASTO! During this stage, I will examine the content of your story to make sure it is cohesive, smooth, and follows a basic narrative arc.

Preparation establishes setting. This is where we meet the protagonist and learn the time period, location, and genre.
Attack This is where we meet the antagonist. What’s the problem in the story? This is often called the MDQ (major dramatic question.)
Struggle This is the point where the protagonist and antagonist have some sort of battle, whether literal or not.
Turn This section usually answers the MDQ
Outcome is when the battle is resolved and the status quo changes. Hopefully, this will also include a hook for your next story! (This section can also be called the denouement, epilogue, conclusion, etc.)

What do we find out about the characters? Are you just telling us? Walking in front of a mirror and describing the look? Let’s sprinkle description throughout. Show us if she is angry. Show us if that remark bothered the protagonist. Did her hand shake as she brushed away her auburn strand of hair? Does she have habits that give us insight into her thoughts and history? How well do you know your darlings? Invite your protagonist and your antagonist over for tea and cookies and ask them a few questions on this worksheet. On separate days though. There could be murder.

Click the link below for a downloadable PDF:


Do all your characters sound the same? Can you hide the names and figure out who is saying each line? I always suggest giving a few pages to your beta reader and hiding the names. Then see if she can figure out who said what based on speech pattern, accents, word choice, sentence rhythm, and style.

Examples of dialogue variety:

  1. “I presume her dissatisfaction was directly related to my lack of transparency.”
  2. “I assumed she was mad because I hadn’t been honest.”
  3. “She was probably just pissed off at me for lying.”
There are so many ways you can bring melody to your story. Not just background music such as night sirens, dogs barking, church bells in the distance, and kids’ toys in the game room. You can add musicality to your story through the rhythm of dialogue. Does a character speak with a Cockney accent or a Louisiana drawl? Essentially, the point of melody is to distinguish your character’s voices. I will help you refine each character’s voice so that your reader will be able to differentiate between the characters’ speech patterns. Whether the speaker is rushed and hurried or laid-back, creating a variety of melody adds flow to your story and makes for a much more interesting and engaging read.
How rich are your surroundings? Do we get a sense of spookiness? Calm and cozy? Is your story sprinkled with visions of silver, steel, chrome, and contemporary clean lines? Or do your characters live among rich textures, soft colors and cluttered living spaces? What do we see when we read your story?
What is the underlying theme of your story? You want a pretty big deal here. Murder is good. Revenge. Redemption, Survival, Forgiveness, etc.

This is the heavy stage where we really dig into the story on various levels. There will be comments and marks all over the pages in lots of great colors.
I’ll include helpful links and resources to assist with revisions.

As there will be rewrites after this stage, I will not focus on grammar, punctuation, or sentence structure items that normally fall under line edits.

If you are ready to dive into your story or if you have questions about this stage, drop me an email and let’s chat.

Tell me about your project.

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