Click above to download a sample developmental letter from the Book Doc.

Click above to download a sample developmental letter from the Book Doc.

developmental editing

Developmental editing is what most professional writers are referring to when they talk about working with an editor. It’s a conversation between you and your editor. It can be in the form of letters, as in this example, or emails, or even face-to-face discussion with notes over Skype or FaceTime.

A developmental editor asks questions and makes suggestions, often challenging you to figure out how to respond. With fiction, you may get plot or character suggestions, but how you follow them is up to you. With nonfiction, you may be asked to delve deeper into your subject, or do more research.

Working with a developmental editor can also involve line editing—the developmental editor reads every line of your manuscript, and may offer suggestions about phrasing and word choice, and suggest cuts to make the language more concise and powerful. But it is different from copy-editing and proofreading in that it is not primarily concerned with “correcting” what’s written. It’s part of the creative process.