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Developmental Editing

Developmental editing is the first editing pass on a manuscript. While there are different approaches to developmental editing, all approaches should ensure the manuscript is well structured and organized and fully fleshed out.

Right Touch Editing defines developmental editing as:

  • creating a solid outline and structure for a manuscript or clarifying the writing style, content, or organization of a manuscript.

Our approach might be different than what you’re used to. Our developmental editing clients are generally professionals who write rather than writing professionals. They usually write books to promote themselves or their businesses, and their books are often approached like a marketing piece. While we’re not ghostwriting per se, we can do a heavier edit and sometimes rewriting than other developmental editors might. 

We offer three levels of developmental editing, described below.

Create a Roadmap

If you have a mass of material that you want to turn into a book or other publication, we can help!

Send us your material, and your developmental editor will review it and create an outline for your book. Our goal is to create a structure that best suits your goals and organize your ideas logically. Your ideas will move smoothly from one point to the next.

Your developmental editor can also compile the text for you into one document, writing transitions and marking areas for you to expand on. At the end, you’ll receive a detailed outline, a working draft, and guidance on what to do next.

Assess Your Draft

Maybe you already a have draft but you’re not sure what to do next. In this case, your developmental editor will review the manuscript for items like:

  • Structure. Do all the parts work together to create a unified whole?
  • Writing style. Would any revisions of the writing style help the manuscript?
  • Content. Are there gaps in the argument that readers need filled in? Is there too much of something?
  • Organization. Does the order of the information work, or would a different order help?

You’ll receive a detailed overview of the state of the manuscript, as well as comments in the manuscript itself on what changes could be made. At your direction, we can make some of the changes for you, such as reordering chapters or creating sidebars.

Help me decide.

Schedule a discovery call with Erin to determine what your manuscript needs.

Assess a Portion of Your Draft

Perhaps you’ve realized a section of the manuscript isn’t working. A chapter just isn’t coming together the way you want it. Or maybe you’re writing your manuscript in large sections and want developmental editing, section by section.

We can do the same assessment on sections that we do on a completed manuscript. With this option, we sometimes blend in stylistic editing or even copyediting, if the text doesn’t need a lot of rewriting.

We commonly perform a developmental edit in:

  • MS Word — most popular!
  • Google Docs
  • Quip

Don’t see your software listed? Tell us what program your manuscript is in! We’re experienced in many other programs. 

You can also combine your developmental edit with writer coaching to help you improve your skills and do more of the work on your own. 

Help me decide.

Schedule a discovery call with Erin to determine what your manuscript needs.