Do you have a plot that looks like Swiss cheese? Maybe you think that twist at the end is amazing, but a reader leaves a review that sounds something like, “Are you for real? What are you smoking? Can I have some?” It’s time to bring in a pro!
Developmental Editing is one of the hardest but most rewarding parts of my job. I love all things grammar and punctuation, but to be able to enhance the reading experience by working with an author to develop story lines, characters, and eliminate plot holes, that’s my passion.
Developmental editors offer specific suggestions about the core intentions and goals of the book, the underlying premise, the story, character development, use of dialogue and sensory description, narrative voice, pacing, style, and language. They’re kinda like literary ninjas! To learn more about what our developmental editing entails, click here.
Seems like a lot, right? Well, developmental editing is really the first part of the editing process, so the developmental editor often does the most work. That’s why they get paid the big bucks!
“Some people may complain that a professional editing job (especially a developmental edit) is too expensive. Maybe it is. But I for one count it as the most invaluable tool I had in writing something I am truly proud of.” -James Ramsey
James Ramsey is the very talented, up-and-coming author of Andromeda Rising, the must read Urban Fantasy new release! You can read her post on her editing process and why developmental editing is so important here.
What developmental editors don’t do is correct spelling and grammar. That’s the job of a line editor, who works much later in the publishing process. Line and copy editors are not responsible for catching plot holes. If something is glaringly obvious, they may bring it to your attention, but before you even send your manuscript off to an editor your “beta” readers should have addressed most of these issues.
I cannot stress enough that the editing process should include more than one type of editing. I urge every author to have their manuscript edited on as many levels as they can prior to publication whether they plan on self-publishing or sending it off for traditional publication. Each type of editing focuses on specific elements, and the only way to have a final product that meets industry standards is to have an editing process that incorporates line, copy, and developmental editing. The most important thing to remember when working with an editor is to be honest with yourself. If you know your plot is lacking, tell the editor! They can help, and if you’re honest, they’ll know what to look for. At The Polished Pen, if you hire us for a copy edit but tell us you’re a little worried about your character development and possible plot holes, we’ll be happy to work with you an add some developmental editing to the copy edit without having to pay for two separate services.
Not everyone can afford a developmental editor and a copy editor and a line editor and a proofreader (Geesh! Who knew how extensive this editing process was?), but if you’re a new author and haven’t trained yourself to look for plot holes as you write or you’re afraid your story may be missing the mark, you should at least have an editorial review done.