Words, meanings, and intentions often get lost along the way. Maybe you’re writing your first novel, or perhaps you’re just experiencing some burnout on your upcoming presentation. That’s where a developmental editor comes in, someone to help to tinker with the delivery of your story, whilst maintaining its vision. You might be thinking; I already have a copy editor to make sure all my grammar and punctuation is in tip-top shape.
Here’s the difference, a developmental editor is like a coach of sorts, not one to shy away from pitching you relevant ideas to add the right kind of flourish. It’s kind of like having your most brutally honest friend provide constructive feedback to make sure you, the writer, knows what’s working and what just doesn’t. But don’t think of it as offering up your nearest and dearest works to the wolves. It’s a partnership and a labor of love.
If you’re self-publishing, an extra pair of eyes is always invaluable. No major publishing house would ever publish anything without a decent amount of editing, neither should you. Here’s what a developmental editor can do for your written works.
A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR PROVIDES STRUCTURE
Whatever you’re putting together has to have bones. And not the kind that can break. Writers often start with a rough outline of where they’re headed and where the story will end, thinking that a chronological timeline will do the work. Still, even that’s too messy for writing. My job is to make sure you have a solid blueprint that allows you to foresee any gaps, pitfalls and shoddy foundations. Even in the most chaotic of stories, there must be order. My job as a developmental editor is to make sure you don’t fall victim to that.
A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR IS AN ANALYST
The role of a developmental editor requires us to know your story through and through. In my years working in developmental editing, I always made sure to breakdown stories in order to understand their most intricate and fundamental core. This is so I can assess what matters to the reader and what aligns with the writer’s goals. Being able to understand your vision means you’ll stray from it.
A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR KEEPS YOU ON TRACK
There are times when details need to be fleshed out and times where you can have too much of a good thing. Striking that balance requires quite some finessing, and what a time succubus that can be. My role is to help you articulate chapter by chapter, keeping your message on track and keep you moving forward. Alleviating roadblocks is my specialty.
A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR ACTS AS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
The ability to read as your audience is invaluable, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty tricky to do that as the writer. Walking in other people’s shoes is famously hard! When I’m reviewing your work, I do more than look for narrative consistency. I’m making a note of what I want more of, what kept me gripped and the parts where you may have lost me. All those intangible feelings within a piece of writing, that can only be seen by a reader with the eyes of an editor.
A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR CATCHES PITFALLS
Writing tunnel vision is a real thing, and it ain’t pretty. When you’ve invested so much of yourself into your work, you often develop blind spots to minor and major flaws can erupt. It may be a forgotten character trait or a question gone unanswered. The task of writing yourself out of that hole can be even more painstaking. That’s my job, to sniff out any missing pieces and make them fit.
DO I NEED A DEVELOPMENTAL EDITOR?
If you have an idea that needs fleshing out, a developmental editor may be just what the doctor ordered. Regardless of if you’ve started putting pen to paper, you may wish to discuss the necessary materials you need with an expert or have someone to bounce an idea off of.
Maybe you yourself are an experienced writer, then I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, even editors need editors. It could be you feel your work has lost its focus, has too many moving parts, or just isn’t sophisticated enough. No matter the issue, a developmental editor, like me, can deliver new perspectives that make sure you hit the mark.
Did you have any other questions about what a developmental editor can do for you? Think you might need a helping hand or two? Just get in touch, I’d be happy to chat!
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