Developmental editing (also known as content or substantive editing, or even ghostwriting) is an editing term that has gone through many iterations since the advent of publishing. The original meaning of developmental editing referred to a meeting between author and editor before the writing process began. This editing stage allowed the editor to help the author come up with an outline and plan out the content and structure of a manuscript.
Within the publishing industry, “developmental editing” has become a euphemism for the process by which an editor has to entirely rewrite a poorly written manuscript that the publishing company commissioned.
Another understanding of “developmental editing” (and the one that is most useful for TAEM’s developmental editing services) is the way it has been misused by authors who confused it for macroscopic or substantive editing — in which an editor edits a completed manuscript with a focus on content and organization issues. This understanding of developmental editing has now become so widespread that substantive editing and developmental editing are nearly synonymous, and most editing services recognize this.
TAEM’s developmental editing services intend to tackle the “big picture” items of your piece. We will provide an annotated manuscript with extensive margin notes detailing suggestions for how to fix specific issues. Additionally, we will provide a 1-5 page editorial report (depending on the length of your piece), which will provide feedback on what to improve, what’s working, and the general strengths and weaknesses of your piece.
A developmental edit with TAEM will address:
for fiction and personal history
- Narrative and plot
- Character arcs
- Content development
- Point of view and voice
- Writing style
- Structure and layout
for nonfiction and academic
- Analysis, argument, and thesis
- Theoretical framework
- Quality of sources and evidence
- Structure and layout
- Content & relevancy
- Writing style
You will receive:
- Annotated manuscript with margin notes
- 1-5 page editorial report
Academic Developmental Editing Service
TAEM’s academic developmental editing service will address all the “big picture” items of your essay: the thesis, argument, theoretical framework, methodology, evidence and quality of sources, and content. Academic developmental editing is best for a writer or academic who feels confident in their writing and copyediting abilities, but needs a seasoned editor to ensure they have delivered a strong paper.
Fiction Developmental Editing Service
Do you have a short story draft or flash fiction piece that features a great character but could benefit from some plot development? Or perhaps writing dialogue and maintaining a consistent narrator voice is an area you’re struggling with and need a second opinion. TAEM’s fiction developmental editing service will assess your story’s strengths and weaknesses, helping it to reach its full potential.
Nonfiction Developmental Editing Service
Have a brilliant idea and a rough draft of a super engaging SEO blog or AP-style journalistic piece, but need some help strengthening the argument, finding appropriate sources, or double-checking the relevancy of the content? TAEM’s nonfiction developmental editing service will make your nonfiction essay appealing to a wide variety of magazines.
Personal History Developmental Editing Service
Are you working on a personal history essay or memoir piece but not sure if the writing style or pacing is appealing to publishers? TAEM’s personal history developmental editing service can help take away the stress often associated with personal essays. It can be difficult to identify which scenes are irrelevant when it comes to memoir-style creative writing, but our developmental editing feedback and editorial report can serve to refocus your attention on what’s important and help you get published.