Development editing and manuscript critique


Development editing is a large umbrella that gives writing support and helps an author with the first, overall development of their story. If authors have used a development editor they will have done this before engaging with a copy-editor (followed by a proofreader).

A developmental editor helps guide an author with the overall structure of a novel, and identify and solve the big-picture storytelling issues in their manuscripts. They do not address grammar, spelling, punctuation or sentence structure.

Feedback is given as both an editorial report and as notes and edits in the manuscript pages themselves.

  • An editorial report will summarise the  assessment of how well the author has handled the different storytelling elements and contains suggestions on how the author might improve the manuscript.
  • Notes and edits in the manuscript can include suggestions on where and how storytelling techniques can be strengthened within the manuscript itself. It will highlight specific instances of where storytelling technique can be improved.


A manuscript critique will looks at all the big-picture storytelling components associated with developmental editing, but no changes are made to the manuscript. A report could be a few pages of general feedback, or twenty or more pages of detailed analysis and suggestions. This would be agreed on beforehand and will, of course, affect the cost.

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