Developmental Edit

My developmental edit is tailored specifically for romance. I understand the particular difficulty of writing for this genre: creating believable conflict (both internal and external) that will keep apart two main characters who actually want to be together. Take contemporary romance for example. They’re adults, they’re consenting, what could possibly be the problem? That’s something I can help with. If you’d like a few more details about my developmental edit, you can read about my approach.

What you get with a Three Little Words developmental edit

Stack of indie romance novels that were self published by romance writers and edited by romance editing services Three Little Words Romance Editing.
  • Two manuscript passes

  • Editorial report (ten to twenty-five pages)

  • In-manuscript comments (with Microsoft Track Changes)

  • Combination scene list and time map

  • List of character names and key features

  • Sixty-minute Skype follow-up discussion or email correspondence

  • Light and silent manuscript clean-up (Microsoft Track Changes off)

  • Free blurb-writing service

Two manuscript passes

This means I read through the manuscript two times. On the first pass, I generate the character list, the combination scene list and time map, and make notes about any issues or questions I have for the editorial letter and in-manuscript comments. On the second pass, with the full knowledge of the story in its entirety, I flesh out my editorial report and in-manuscript comments.

Editorial report

For story structure, I pull out and identify each subplot so you can see it as a separate storyline instead of a thread woven into the novel. Additionally, I plot out the romance structure and comment on each romantic beat. If it’s in there already and awesome, I’ll tell you all the things that make it so, and if a beat (or plot point) is glossed over or missing, I will explain why it should be there and make suggestions about how to do it.

Because each hero and heroine in a romance must have an internal flaw, or wound, or weakness that is eventually healed through the power of love, for character development I generate profiles of the two main characters identifying their internal flaws—or suggesting what could be their internal flaws. Using the building blocks of GMC (goal, motivation, conflict), I’ll analyze your characters and make suggestions about things, like whether they have solid internal or external goals, or if the reasons for their internal flaws are believable enough. (I always make sure to point out the things that are working too, though!) 

In-manuscript comments

While my editorial report gives analysis and broad-strokes recommendations, my in-manuscript comments are all about implementation. The most efficient way to read my developmental edit is to first go through the editorial report then look at the comments in the manuscript so you’ll understand, for example, why I’m giving a step-by-step set of suggestions about how to completely revise chapter three.  

Combination scene list and time map

The scene list is a record of your manuscript that allows you to see the entire story structure in just a few pages. I give a summary of each chapter, scene by scene, and also label the three acts as they occur. In addition, I note the beginning, middle, and end of the second act—which is the biggest by far—and also label all the major plot points (or beats) like the meetcute, the midpoint, the romantic black moment. Also, I record the different plots as they occur in each scene, whether it be the main romance plot or subplot two or subplot three.

The time map is part of the scene list, recording when everything happens, though I will not comment on any time issues there—this sort of calculation is reserved for a line and copy edit.

List of character names and key features

This is where I record the names of each character as they are introduced in the manuscript (whether major or minor) and create a short summary of their appearance. To do this, I often copy/paste descriptions directly from the manuscript.

Sixty-minute Skype follow-up discussion or email correspondence

After you’ve read through my developmental edits, I’m totally available for follow-up questions. To that end, I’m very happy to do a face-to-face chat for up to one hour. Or, if you prefer, we can break down the chat into whatever time increments suit you. There’s also the chance you’re a bit of an introvert and you’d rather communicate by email. That’s okay too.

Light and silent manuscript clean-up

Before reading your manuscript, I will give it a very light clean-up so that it follows standard formatting. This will all be done silently with Track Changes off.

Free blurb-writing service

As your editor, I’ll have done a deep dive into your novel and will know your romance story inside and out and be great friends with your hero and heroine. As part of my service, I’m offering to write a blurb for you, free of charge. It will be all yours—with my best wishes—to use, revise, or be an inspiration for your own version.