Is a Developmental Edit Worth the Money?


After submitting my second suspense manuscript Window of Guilt to over twenty agents/small publishers with no success, I finally broke down and hired a developmental editor to varnish my writing. Line editors, or copy editors, focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax. Developmental editors, on the other hand, gauge pacing of the novel, intensity of plot, point of view characters, setting, and character development.

In Deadly Choices, my first suspense novel, Treble Heart Books provided me with Barb, a talented developmental editor. Can you imagine being in the heads of  two dozen characters? Barb helped me slim down to three point-of-view characters.   A former newspaper editor, Barb aided me in my quest for written perfection. Yet she never stepped in to feed me the answers.

This time around, I had to bite the Kiwi  – I’m allergic to that fruit – and pay for my own developmental edit. In this economy, coming up with the same amount of money it takes to feed a family of four for six weeks is no easy task. Fortunately my spouse was supportive in my endeavor and Charis, my new developmental editor, accepts partial payments.

I found Charis on Craig’s list. A former contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, Engish professor, and developmental editor of mystery and literary fiction, Charis fed me a ten page report citing holes and redundancies in my story, along with misused words or phrases. Within those pages, she also pointed out the strong points of my manuscript. Two weeks into my developmental edit, I still find the corrections challenging to locate since neither chapter nor page numbers were provided. Yet I am coming along nicely, as they say. I’ll let you know how I progress.

Go to to learn what developmental editing is all about.