Novel and Story Edits

 
 
 well-dressed man sitting in a road with sbook pages falling from the sky around him demonstrates when an author needs a structural, content, or developmental edit

Developmental edit

Also known as structural or content editing, developmental editing focuses on improving structure and content. It looks at the bigger picture and addresses aspects of the piece such as characters and their arcs, plot, tone, pacing, organization, and believability. Developmental edits are all about the overall story. They are for authors wondering how to make their story better or who are aware of the story’s problems but don’t know how to fix them. A developmental edit at Ignited Ink Writing. LLC includes:

  • A 30 minute phone call to discuss the author’s goals for the manuscript, intended audience, and any specific aspects they’d like the edit to focus on
  • A copy of the manuscript with comments made throughout using “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word
  • A detailed multi-page letter describing the reasoning behind the edits and any overall comments
  • A 1-2 hour phone call or meeting where the edits and next steps for the author are discussed
  • Another review of the manuscript after author has addressed the edits
  • A copy of the new version with comments made using "Track Changes"
  • A second letter discussing how the changes are working and what still needs to be done
  • A 1 hour concluding phone call or meeting.

At the end, I recommend authors take a breather before rejecting or accepting any of the comments. Think about why the edits were suggested for a couple of days, then take a hard look at the manuscript and dive into the revision process.

The price of a developmental edit depends on the word count and a sample of the manuscript. If the mechanics of the writing make the manuscript unclear or the manuscript is an early draft, the editing process will take longer and cost more. I charge $7.00 per Standard Manuscript Format page. A typical 70,000 word (250 page) manuscript is usually around $1,900 and takes 2-3 weeks to complete each edit. To learn more about developmental edits or hire Ignited Ink Writing, LLC, contact me.

* Note: Development edits do NOT include copy edits (grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc.), research and fact checking, or drafting pages of original material for the author.

Testimonial by Robert Eric Shoemaker

 Robert Eric Shoemaker wearing a black polo shirt and glasses on a grassy, sandy beach

Author, poet-playwright, and theatre artist

"Caitlin’s incredibly thorough feedback, which included comments in the manuscript as well as a two-page letter on the overarching revisions called for by the piece, comprehensively addressed my novel and the potential in this current draft. Out of all of the feedback I’ve received so far on this piece, Caitlin’s has been the most helpful and considered, especially for this particular mix of experimental poetry/prose and young adult fiction. She’s very conscious of the balance of constructive criticism and praise she gives to the writer, but doesn’t hold back when the work has potential and could use a boost. I am so grateful for the work Caitlin did on my manuscript, and for the potential to collaborate with her in the future!"


copy edit

A copy edit corrects grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation, checks for consistency, and polishes the language. Line by line, this edit makes sure the mechanics of the writing are up to par, so the story is clear. A copy edit at Ignited Ink Writing, LLC includes:

  • A 30 minute phone call to discuss the author’s goals for the manuscript, intended audience, and any specific aspects they’d like the edit to focus on
  • A copy of the manuscript with all edits marked through Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” feature
  • A detailed letter explaining reasoning and rules behind the edits
  • A 1 hour phone call or meeting to discuss the edits

After the final meeting, I recommend author’s review their writing through the eyes of a reader to understand why the edits were suggested.

Copy edit costs are based on the word count and a sample of the manuscript. A more grammatically lax piece will take longer to edit and cost more. Copy edits are $3.50 per Standard Manuscript Format page. A typical 70,000 word (250 page) manuscript costs around $1000 and takes about two weeks to complete. To learn more about copy edits or hire Ignited Ink Writing, LLC, contact me.

* Note: Copy edits do NOT include comments on the bigger picture, such as characterization, plot, and structure, or research and fact checking.

 a hand holding a pen and writing on papers shows how copy edit marks are made

Testimonial by Jesse McKinnell

 Jesse McKinell, author headshot in balck and white round.

Author of Dead Cats and Other Reflections on Parenthood

"I hired Ignited Ink to provide a second and final copy edit of my first novel. I found Caitlin to be a skilled technician, capable of spotting all of my crappy little writing crutches and tics, allowing me to scrub away imperfections and pretend I'm something better than I am. Releasing a piece of yourself into the world can be a scary process. Caitlin helps you sleep at night."


 packet of papers tied together with string, a pen, an inkwell, and loose papers show how a submission packet is created

submission packet edit

There are many publishing options available to authors today. For those choosing to submit to agents or traditional publishers, the quality of their submission packet is essential. A submission packet edit looks at the query letter, 3-5 page synopsis, and first 10 pages of the manuscript and includes both content and copy edits. Edits will address aspects of the writing from grammar to plot. A submission packet edit at Ignited Ink Writing, LLC includes:

  • A 30 minute phone call to discuss the author’s goals for the manuscript, intended audience, and any specific aspects they’d like the submission packet edit to focus on
  • A copy of the documents with edits marked using Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” tool
  • A letter detailing the reasoning behind the comments and any overall suggestions
  • A 1 hour phone call or meeting to discuss the edits

Once the final meeting is over, I recommend author’s try to look at their query letter and synopsis from the point of view of an editor or agent who doesn’t know anything about the piece. Do the query letter and synopsis clearly show what the story is about, who the main characters are, and the overall tone?

Submission packets are limited to a one page query letter, 3-5 page synopsis, and the first 10 pages of the manuscript and cost $450. To learn more about submission packet edits or hire Ignited Ink Writing, LLC, contact me.

* The synopsis and manuscript pages should use Standard Manuscript format, and the query letter should be formatted according to industry standards. To learn more about these, check out the Ignite Your Ink post Why Standard Manuscript Format.


 Girl with long hair and glasses sitting n a filed looking at the sunrise with a open book on her lap

Sample Edits

I offer to perform a sample edit of a story before I agree to work on the entire piece. For a shorter piece the sample edit is 5-7 pages. For a longer piece, I look at an entire chapter or around 4,000 words. This way I can be sure I will be able to help an author improve their story and the author can make sure I am the right editor for them. Editing and writing are both intimate acts, so it is vital the editor and author respect each other's work and communicate professionally. To request a sample edit, contact me.