During a developmental edit, a fine tooth comb is taken to your manuscript. A developmental editor keeps an eye out for inconsistent character behavior/speech, style issues, thematic variances, plot holes, and readability. A single inconsistency or character flaw can ruin an entire story. A developmental editor will help you focus your conflict, develop your characters, and create believable scenarios for your characters. They’ll be able to help you choose a voice for your story, paying careful attention the language based on your audience. They also make sure everything makes sense, the dialogue is believable, and the plotline is plausible.
Developmental editing includes:
- Passive writing
- Point of view
- Scene point of view choice
Here's a list of questions a developmental editor asks during the editing process:
- Is there a plot?
- Is there a conflict? Is it compelling?
- Does the conflict resolve? How?
- Is there thematic material available? Is it effective?
- Is the information provided focused around the main character / conflict?
- Do the scenes progress from event to event smoothly?
- Do I believe the outcome? Are the events believable and consistent with character motivation?
- Is there anything that seems derivative, trite, or overdone?
- Are there any plot holes, unexplained jumps in time or location, or major inconsistencies?
- Are there sections of the story that are underdeveloped or overdeveloped, or do sections of the story drag?
- Are the characters believable and well-rounded?
- Are the characters consistent in appearance and motivation?
- Do I care about the characters?
- Do they develop over the course of the book?
- Are the first pages effective at drawing the reader in?
- How is the background information developed? Is it effective?
- Is the ending effective? Does the story conclude?
- Is this book well-suited for its intended audience?
- Is there material that will create emotional attachment or response from the reader?
- What core interests in the reader does this story appeal to (love, justice, revenge, etc.)?
- Is the story narrator effective?
- Is the story narrator consistent, and, if not, is it intentional?
- Is the story narrator believable, and, if not, is it intentional?
- Does the order of events/chapters make sense?
- Do the plot events occur in a way that makes the book a cohesive whole?
- Is the story/information organized into approachable chunks?