If you want to improve the structure, flow, readability or any other of the “vague” qualities of your text, chances are you need Developmental editing.

Read on for more details about this editing solution or

I know that many people don’t really understand what developmental editing means. (So you’re NOT just a glorified wordprocessor?) But actually, for anyone who has written more than the high school essay on how they spent their summer vacation, it’s quite easy to understand.

Most texts are complex. A good book is not just a good book because the rules of spelling and grammar are correctly applied. And even a great concept or theme does not necessarily make for a great book. If you’re passionate about a topic, I can safely assume that you’ve been in a position where you WANTED to enjoy a book on that topic, but the book made that very difficult for you. The book probably needed developmental editing.

The Task of the DE

For me, a developmental editor’s task is to make sure that the shape of the book supports its purpose. If your purpose is to convince your ideal reader of a certain point, a developmental editor tries to figure out in what order and at what pace your different supporting arguments need to be made. If it is to take your reader through increasing suspense before revealing that the butler was the murderer all along, the DE might note the different points in which the suspense falters or fades and make suggestions to prevent that from happening.

The Developmental editor's toolbox

The main tool in a DEs belt is reorganization. I will not write a new chapter for you. But I might take passages you’ve already written and suggest putting them in other parts of the text. Or I might tell you that you should write a new paragraph here that does X.

Another thing I can help with is to figure out what needs more explanation. When we picture your target audience, which terms you use might be unfamiliar to them? As you are an expert on your topic, some words and facts will seem so familiar to you that you don’t realize that for your audience this might not be that obvious.

And then there’s every editor’s favorite topics: pace, flow and tone.

Now, there are more tools in a DEs toolbox. But these are the first areas where I will look when you hire me to be your Developmental Editor

I am here to support you as a writer. And, like you, I want your text to be as successful as possible. This is true for novels, edited volumes, academic monographs, journal articles, book chapters, dissertations, essays and even school assignments. What’s more, I aim to give structural feedback, so that you can make your own informed decision on what suggestions you will and will not adopt. And to learn from potential mistakes for future projects.

I don’t want to sit in your chair and write your entire text for you. When the text calls for it, I might add a sentence or even a paragraph. But I will always ask you if this is what you had in mind. The last thing I want to do is hijack your project. I see a first draft as raw material, and the final version as the polished product. The polishing is done to bring out the beauty that was already in there, not to create something entirely new.

It is important to me that your ideas and voice are preserved and the text still feels like it is yours. That is why clear communication throughout the process is always included, from start to finish. I like to start my developmental editing by having a conversation with you. We will discuss your goals, your aims and your purpose as well as other things that might be relevant for the project ahead. 

What can you do right now?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have, using the contact form. Or, if you’re ready to schedule your first free one hour video meeting, just go here and book one immediately.

I would love to hear from you!

– Susanne