Developmental Editing

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 emails back and forth as we cover:

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

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, a lengthy editorial report, and 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.


Are you ready?

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.

Click on the tabs below for more information.

The editorial report will cover these tabbed categories, plus items you wish to have me pay particular attention to. Open the tabs for more information.



Here are your PASTO ingredients to a good plot: Preparation, Attack, Struggle, Turn, Outcome.

Are you off to a good start?

Preparation: The reader wants to know time period, genre, and location right away. Main characters are introduced here, and the reader learns why this story is happening at this particular moment in time.

The report will cover each step of PASTO with suggestions to strengthen the elements.


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 separate days though. There could be murder. Interview questions provided at time of booking your DE.


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.”

What is the underlying theme of your story? You want a pretty big deal here. Murder is good. Revenge. Redemption, Survival, Forgiveness, etc.


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?