Developmental Editing for Novellas and Novels
A developmental edit is an in-depth evaluation of your novel’s strengths and weaknesses. You’ll receive an editorial letter designed to give you a personalized road map for the next draft, offering guidance on where to focus your attention to create the best version of your story possible. This report (usually 10-20 pages) includes notes on plot, structure, character arcs, worldbuilding, use of setting, pacing, tone, and other big-picture elements. This edit also includes annotations in the manuscript to identify specific issues and offer informed suggestions, scene by scene.
$8.50 per page
(3.4 ¢ per word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $2,720
A “lite” version of a Developmental Edit with a shorter editorial letter (usually 10-12 pages) and no annotations to the manuscript itself. This is a great option if you’d like a general revision plan for your next draft but don’t think it needs a full developmental pass, or for those looking for developmental notes on a budget.
$4 per page
(1.6 ¢ / word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $1,280
LINE EDITING & COPYEDITING
Substantive Line Edit
(AKA Content Edit). This is a Line Edit PLUS extra developmental notes focused on scene-level elements such as pacing, transitions, characterization, tension, and atmosphere/mood.
$7.50 per page
(3 c per word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $2,400
A detailed edit focused on the sentence level. Includes margin notes to query any potential issues and enhance your unique voice, + tracked changes to suggest repairs for awkward phrasing, inconsistencies, redundancies, and unintended repetitions.
$6.50 per page
(2.6 ¢ / word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $2,080
A near-final editing pass for previously edited manuscripts almost ready for publishing. This light-handed edit focuses on grammar, syntax, consistency of details, spelling, & punctuation rather than story or style.
$6 per page
(2.4 ¢ / word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $1,920
Dev + Line
A Developmental Edit PLUS a Line Edit of the revised manuscript
Book both rounds together and get 20% off the standard rates
$13 per page
(5.2 c per word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $4,160
MS Evaluation + Line
A Manuscript Evaluation PLUS a Line Edit of the revised manuscript
Book both rounds together and get 20% off the standard rates
$8.50 per page
(3.4¢ / word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $2,720 for both rounds
Substantive + Copyedit
A Substantive Line Edit PLUS a Copy Edit of the revised manuscript
Book both rounds together and get more than 25% off the standard rates
$10 per page
(4¢ / word)
e.g. an 80K-word novel = $3,200 for both rounds
Other Services & Short Fiction
- A first pass focused on big-picture elements and developmental notes
- PLUS a Line Edit to polish and tighten the revised draft
- For short stories between 2,000 and 7,000 words
- Developmental feedback on plot, structure and character arcs before you write your manuscript
- For detailed outlines of up to approximately 5,000 words.
Feedback and line edits on your query letter and synopsis to help you grab and hold an agent or editor’s attention
- Trial Substantive Line Edit of 5-6 pages for $20! (Limited availability)
- This offer is restricted to potential clients interested in any of the above services only.
- No obligation to continue after the sample.
What's the difference between editing types?
A single-pass developmental edit focused on the big-picture elements such as plot, structure, character arcs, worldbuilding, use of setting, and overall pacing.
You’ll receive your feedback in the form of an editorial letter (also known as a revision letter), usually 10-12 pages for novel-length fiction. This is a great option for early-stage manuscripts when you are preparing to make deep revisions and need a road map to help guide you. More detailed developmental annotations or line editing would not benefit you at this point, as you are still in that stage where you’re making deep revisions and whole scenes may be cut or rewritten.
(Editorial Letter + Margin Notes)
An in-depth Editorial Letter (often 10-20 pages for novel-length fiction) that includes everything described above for the Manuscript Evaluation
🔸PLUS notes on additional developmental elements such as scene-level structure, tension and suspense, characterization, timing of revelations, foreshadowing, narrative techniques, and reader experience.
🔸PLUS detailed annotations (in the form of margin comments) made directly to the manuscript to highlight examples of strengths and weaknesses, suggest revisions, and identify habitual errors or awkwardness in the writing. No changes will be made to the text itself.
This option is best for drafts that are really taking shape and may not undergo massive changes in the next drafts, yet still need scene-level revisions. Your manuscript would not benefit from a line edit (with tracked changes) yet as you are still making deep revisions and rewriting whole paragraphs or even scenes where necessary.
(Tracked Changes + Annotations)
You’ve finished editing your story, and now you’re ready to polish the prose! This is a single-pass, detail-oriented line edit focused on the style, clarity, and consistency of your prose. You’ll receive notes on readability, clarity, consistency, narrative flow, tone, choice of detail, and characterization. I’ll suggest revisions to repair unintended repetitions, redundancies, logical inconsistencies, tired cliches, awkward phrasing, or any other bugs. These suggestions are made both in the form of queries (margin comments) and Microsoft Word’s tracked changes, so you can review every change and accept, reject or modify as suits you.
Line editing is best for manuscripts that have already gone through either developmental editing or multiple rounds of critiques and beta reads, so the story is very solid and now you want to ensure that every line is creating the smoothest and best possible experience for your readers, and delivering what you intended it to say.
SUBSTANTIVE LINE EDITING
(Tracked Changes + Annotations focused on Style, Clarity, and Scene-Level Elements)
The Substantive Line Edit (or Content Edit) includes everything from the Line Edit
🔸PLUS scene-level developmental notes.
E.g. Is the scene setting working the way you intended it to? Can readers follow which characters are present and where they are. Could you use the scene setting to impact the scene better? Does the set-up have a pay-off and/or lead to a new hook? Are the characters behaving in ways that seem believable and interesting? Are there any logical inconsistencies or other glitches that could mean you start to lose readers here? Could you move a paragraph or rearrange some details to create even more dramatic tension or improve the pacing?
The focus here is on honing the story at the scene level, ensuring the writing is immersive and engaging, and doing what you intended, while also polishing the lines for style and clarity. This option is best for manuscripts where the overall story is solid and you are moving into more detailed edits, and yet you get the sense that some things just aren’t working the way you envisioned it, or you want to level up the scenes for impact along the way.
What if I don't know what kind of editing would be best for my manuscript?
If all the different editing options are overwhelming or you’re just not quite sure what your manuscript needs, feel welcome to reach out for an initial evaluation and guidance.
I also offer sample edits ($20 for around five or six pages) so you can get a feel for my style and editing in general. See the FAQ on Sample Edits below!
Do you offer sample edits?
Yes! New clients can request a sample Substantive Edit of around five or six pages for the discounted rate of $20 (usually around $45).
This is a great way for both of us to see if our style of communication and creative brains are a good match. It’s important to work with an editor who gets what you are trying to do! If you’re new to hiring an editor, it’s also a great way to get a feel for a professional edit and weigh up the value to you, or to compare different editors before investing in your perfect match.
Unfortunately, with such a small sample size, it’s impossible to sample a Developmental Edit (looking at the overall story and how it’s all working together), but a Substantive Line Edit does include some developmental-style notes at the scene and line level… at least enough for you to get a feel for the kinds of things I might highlight for you. It will also include some line editing and copyediting. I’ll clearly mark what type of edit is what.
There is no obligation to book editing services with me after receiving your sample!
Please note that when my schedule is heavily booked out, I may not be actively taking on new clients or offering sample edits. I will also only do samples for projects I’d actually consider taking on. These are a ‘getting to know each other’ stage to see if we’d like to work together. Please reach out anytime to chat about your project and ask about availability. If I can’t help at that time, I may be able to refer you to another great editor!
What if I'm low income or have a very limited budget, and I'm not sure
All of my rates and editing services are general guidelines; every project is unique and has different needs, so I try to be flexible. Let’s chat and work out the best options for you.
If finances are a concern for you, let me know and give me some other key information: I’ll need to know size of the manuscript, your budget (a range is fine), your thoughts on what the manuscript needs (it’s okay if you’re not sure), and an excerpt (approx. two chapters) for me to review. Also let me know if you are BIPOC or from another historically marginalized group, or low-income, in case I’m in a place where I can offer a little better price than usual. As a freelancer, this isn’t always possible, but let’s see what we can do!
Taking all of this into consideration, I can offer suggestions on how we could make the manuscript the best version possible within your budget. There is no obligation or pressure to book my editorial services after this exploration; it’s just information so you can make the right decisions for you.
I used AI to write my story. Can you edit it into something that feels natural?
This is a hard no. I work with human-made art only.
Generative AI is incredibly unethical: it’s harmful to artists and to the industry, it’s environmentally destructive, it’s built on unpaid labor and plagiarized works, and it wastes everyone’s time. I, and many others in the publishing and entertainment industries, fully believe art is about the human experience. I have no interest in the soulless patterns a machine comes up with or in the profiteering middlemen benefit from it.
If you have used generative AI for any reason, please do pause, step back a little to research the harms, and reconsider. Honor yourself and fellow artists by practicing art that comes from your own life experiences, thoughts, and heart.
If a manuscript I’m working on is found to be AI and this wasn’t disclosed, our project will be cancelled immediately, returned to you unfinished, and charged at my normal rates for the work completed up to that point. I am not the editor for you.
Thankfully, this is not something I’ve had to do yet, and I hope we can all agree to support our fellow humans and support human-made art! <3
What payment options do you take?
Do I still need a proofreader after my manuscript has been edited?
Yes! With one exception mentioned below.
The professional proofread is your last chance to make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible for your readers. After you’ve put in all that work into refining the story and polishing the prose, you want to make sure the newly revised draft is going out with as few errors as possible.
If you are self-publishing, I highly recommend hiring a proofreader who has not worked on prior editing passes or seen the text before. Errors may be missed or even introduced during the editing and revision stages, and these errors can become invisible to anyone familiar with the text, including to your editors! This is because of the way human brains “helpfully” fill in the blanks, supplying what is expected rather than what is there in reality.
Publishing a completely error-free novel would be something of a miracle, even with a publishing house team behind you, but hiring a professional proofreader gives your manuscript its best shot. Make sure to look for someone who is experienced, trained, and familiar with style guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style (the most popular standard for fiction publishing). Proofreading is not about just reading closely or remembering some grammar “rules” from school; it’s a skill that requires a lot of knowledge (including knowledge of why the so-called rules are there and when it’s okay to break them) and a careful, light hand so your prose is not mangled through someone’s eager over-correction.
The exception is if you are submitting or querying for publication. Yes, you want the manuscript as error-free as you can possibly make it, but your future publisher should supply you with a round of copyediting and proofreading (at minimum), so they will not be expecting a pristine manuscript upon submission. Just make sure it’s as error-free and beautifully written as you can make it.
How and when should I schedule my editing?
My editing queue for novel-length fiction can be anywhere from 2 to 6 months long, so reserve your editing time well in advance, before you’ve completed your final revisions on the current draft.
Having said that, sometimes bookings open up as the last minute as creative schedules can change, and I try to be flexible. I keep a waitlist of clients who’d like to be bumped up to an earlier booking if one becomes available, so make sure to ask if you’d like your name on that.
To schedule your editing, use my contact form to send me a description of the manuscript (premise, brief synopsis if available), the editing level you’d like, your editing deadlines (if any), and the estimated total word count.
If we decide to work together, I’ll send you an invoice for a deposit/retainer (25% of the estimated project fee) to reserve your editing time. This amount will be credited off the final project total. You’ll also receive a simple editorial agreement outlining the scope of the project and protecting both parties.
Once the deposit is paid and the invoice is signed, your editing is officially booked! Now you can go ahead and make any last changes to the manuscript before our start date.