The Foundry: Developmental Editing

The Foundry—Developmental editing, manuscript critique, novel evaluation

Free sample edit & quote

A good novel is honed, not hatched.

In a developmental edit, we take a close look at your plot, characters, relationship arcs, perspective, and voice. Most authors begin with this service.

In addition to a written critique, you will receive a marked-up copy of your manuscript with comments added throughout, including scene-level feedback and pointers for recurring grammatical or mechanical issues. 

Rates range from $0.02 to $0.03 USD per word. Your editor will determine a rate based on a preliminary assessment of your project.

Industry Professionals & Award-Winning Authors

Our editors are industry professionals and award-winning writers. We have team members in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Philippines, and India. To check out our roster of top fiction and narrative nonfiction editors, click here.

Our clients write in pretty much every genre. Some are traditionally published. Some are indie authors. Some have their feet in both traditional and self-publishing. Some have just finished the first draft of their first manuscript. We are happy to work with anyone at any stage of their manuscript's develop and their own development as a writer.

You name it, we've worked on it: literary fiction, memoir, own voices, SFF (science fiction and fantasy, including dystopian and magical realism), historical fiction, romance, horror, thriller, mystery, suspense, women's fiction, contemporary fiction, young adult (YA), middle grade (MG), and more.

We are narrative experts, but more importantly we are coaches.

Free sample edit & quote

Developmental Editing vs Narrative Assessment

We offer two developmental services: the full dev edit and the narrative assessment. 

A full developmental edit is sometimes called a substantive or structural edit. Your editor will add scene-by-scene annotations throughout your manuscript to give you specific examples of any narrative issues they encounter, which could involve the plot, characterization, voice, pacing, and more. In addition to this annotated feedback, your editor will also create a detailed feedback report to address recurring issues and big-picture misfires. 

A narrative assessment is sometimes called a manuscript evaluation or an editorial letter. It includes the same detailed feedback report as a developmental edit, but not the manuscript annotations. Since this is quicker work for your editor, the rate is lower. Our clients tend to use this service on very early draft manuscripts, for example if they have specific big-picture questions related to plotting or arc, as well as a final structural check, for example if they have completed a foundational revision following a full developmental edit.

Since developmental editing usually leads to a deep revision, this stage comes before line editing and proofreading. Beta readers, when used for a novel's pre-publication audience assessment, come last. However, some authors start the developmental cycle with beta feedback just to make sure an early draft is on track.

Aren't sure which service you need? You can chat with your editor about that after they've completed your sample edit.

Free sample edit and quote

Darling Axe Editing Services for Novelists