If you have spent any time at all exploring this website (and I do invite you to do so), you will be among the clever few who already know there are different levels of editing. While I happily offer my services in structural or substantive editing as well as copyediting, I have a definite delight in doing developmental editing too.
This kind of editing happens at an earlier stage in the writing process. It occurs closer to the spark that ignites the original idea, which means the words I’m working with when I edit developmentally are often in a more raw or tender form.
Writers who approach me for assistance with developmental editing are excited by their projects and committed to their creation. Often, however, they have not yet found the precise shape or content for their concept. While they care deeply about their topic and the message they want to share, many find themselves getting tangled up in the complex possibilities of expression and composition.
This is where developmental editing can help.
As with other kinds of editing, the focus of this approach is on ensuring a writer’s voice and vision are made clear. Where developmental editing differs from structural editing or copyediting is that the editor is more intimately involved in the actual formation of the text.
This can include things like helping you clarify your main point or purpose and devising a structure for its elaboration. Developmental editors may also propose new directions for you explore, based on either an early version of your manuscript or discussions about your topic. We can assist you with expanding your vision too, but it is just as likely that we will advise you on areas to reduce or exclude.
Undertaking an effective developmental edit can be a daunting venture for editor and writer alike, yet it is an exciting one too. It is not always an easy procedure, nor is it a speedy one, but it can be incredibly valuable.
The reasons why I enjoy developmental editing are many. There is the thrill of engaging with emerging ideas and the privilege of working so closely with writers. There’s the elation of sensing the rhythm that is hidden within the content, and the pleasure of guiding the writing into a cogent flow. Personally, I also relish the sincere satisfaction of turning a bundle of genuine but jumbled jottings into a comprehensible document with a compelling proposition.
Creative and intuitive, challenging and rewarding, developmental editing is the means by which an idea becomes a manuscript. It is the process that allows me to help writers like you shape your unruly ideas and language into lucid, expressive and poetic texts.
If you are curious about this kind of editing or want to discuss your project with me, please get in touch. It would be my pleasure to help you.
Have you had any experience with developmental editing? What was it like? How did it help you?