I came across a good article by Katie McCoach, an editor, that explains the kinds of editors an author needs. That’s right, plural editors. Like Ms. McCoach, I’m what is called a developmental or substantive editor. You should visit the entire article for more, but here is her definition of a developmental editor.
A developmental editor’s focus is “on content edits. This usually involves things like critiques or manuscript evaluations, substantive edits, developmental editing, and line editing. The goal of these edits are to work with the author to strengthen their story telling and writing abilities. This is the first stage of editing.
These edits look at the writing style, voice, pacing and flow, characters, readability, intended audience, genre, narrative, plots and subplots, etc. These edits are designed to help an author tighten their manuscript. Does the protagonist grow or change from beginning to end? Are the characters’ actions believable? Does the plot feel forced or organic? Are the characters’ goals and motivations fully developed? Is there internal and external conflict? Is this actually a romance novel or is it women’s fiction?
This is also where things such as backstory, show vs. tell, POV, dialogue and more are addressed.
She suggests sources for finding editors, which is helpful—but you already know one, don’t you?
One more point, though—she says she’ll hire an editor for her own book, and I just did the same—a copyeditor to make sure I got things right. Yep, editors need editors.
For what it’s worth.
© 2016 Ray Rhamey