What is Developmental Editing?

Stack of books


Developmental editing addresses issues of logic, flow, organization, and clarity first at the level of the work as a whole, then section by section, and then at the level of the paragraph and the individual sentence. Our goal is to produce a piece of written work that communicates your good ideas as powerfully as possible, in a format that is acceptable to a publisher, journal editor, or funding agency.

Developmental editing is not copy editing. Developmental editing works with the “big picture” of the written work, whereas copy editing addresses issues of writing mechanics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure) and publication-specific style and format (for example, standard abbreviations and numbering conventions). As we work with your manuscript to the point of telling your story clearly, concisely, and powerfully, we will address writing mechanics and style as well – but if all you want is copy editing, I’m not the right person for the job.

“She did an excellent job, and I highly recommend her services. She was a pleasure to work with for me and for the author, and the outcome is a stronger final work produced in a timely manner.”
David Brightman
Senior Managing Editor, Jossey-Bass Publishers

“I could not have done it without her.”
José Antonio Bowen
Author, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning

Winner of the 2013 Ness Award for Best Book on Higher Education from the Association of American Colleges and Universities