The Top 10 Developmental Editing Services

Developmental editors often edit, which causes rewrites.

When it comes to developmental editing, different developmental editors provide different services. For example, some provide line editing or proofreading services. Some will offer coaching, in which the editor regularly meets with the writer and provides support and feedback throughout the writing process.

The most important service a developmental editor offers is the manuscript critique. Looking at the big picture, the editor reads the whole manuscript and looks at much of what is covered in this unit: goals, category, theme, structure, characters, scenarios, messaging, organization, etc. Then the developmental editor can help with any or all of the following:

Providing honest feedback on the structure, style, and even line issues; 

Offering critique and support as you improve your work; 

Writing an editorial report detailing what works well, and what the editor thinks you need to change;

Giving you an annotated version of your manuscript, which gives specific suggestions for fixing each issue.

Breaking it down further, this process will typically help you with the following issues:

Problems with your book’s theme;

Issues with your book’s structure;

Anything that seems unrealistic;

Scenarios with too much or too little description;


Overusing “crutch words,” which are words the writer tends to overuse that serve no purpose, such as literally, actually, just, very, definitely, certainly, and quite. These words in moderation are fine; it’s the overuse that’s problematic. They’re just filler, which is why they’re also called “filler words.”

A Final Thought

Developmental editors serve a very important function in the process of turning a manuscript into a book. Too many writers get defensive about the input these people provide and fight back against the suggestions the editors make. It is critical that you be cooperative, transparent, and open so you avoid any miscommunications. Developmental editors know that writers put themselves in vulnerable positions whenever they write books because the content is so near and dear to them that to criticize the manuscript is to attack themselves. Developmental editors want the same thing a writer does: make the manuscript the very best it can be.

So, trust that your book editor in Boston will handle your material with the utmost care, respect, decency, and sensitivity. You’re all on the same team.

If you want to discuss in detail anything about this of the past posts, I’m always glad to help. I can be reached at (818) 521-1675,, or on LinkedIn. 

Let's Start A New Project Together

Contact me and we can explore how a ghostwriter or editor can benefit you.