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Seattle Editing’s basic services include coaching, manuscript critique, developmental editing, content/substantive editing, copy editing, line editing, and proofreading. Not sure which type of editing you need? The free edit and job estimate can be used to help you make up your mind.

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Sometimes writers need help with a particular aspect of the writing project. Fiction writers tend to struggle with plot, pacing, or character development; nonfiction writers often ask for help with focus and structure. Some writers come to me for a refresher course in paragraph construction.

Coaching usually takes place over the phone and/or through email, although some clients prefer to meet one-on-one. I always give clients summary notes after a coaching session.

Developmental Editing

Say you’ve completed a rough draft of your book, but haven’t figured out how to revise it. Developmental editing, also known as “big picture” editing, examines a manuscript in the context of its genre and audience. It identifies strengths and weaknesses, and assesses how well the parts or elements contribute to the whole.

A developmental editor evaluates and critiques a manuscript and also suggests additions, deletions, and revisions. Generally, a developmental editor’s goal, particularly when working in nonfiction, is to make sure the manuscript is

  • well-organized 
  • appropriate in tone, style, and format for its audience 
  • clear and articulate
  • consistent in its approach

When you choose a developmental edit, your manuscript will be carefully read (at least twice) and analyzed, with careful attention to how well the parts connect to the overall theme or focus. You will receive a detailed critique letter, a follow-up phone call (with Skype and e-mail options), and three hours of coaching as you revise.

If the developmental edit is for a work of fiction, the critique letter addresses genre, readers, plot structure, subplots, pacing, setting, character development, dialogue, narrative style, voice, point of view, spelling, and grammar.

For nonfiction the critique letter examines thesis, logical flow, clarity, tone of voice, diction, spelling, and grammar.

Manuscript Critique

Submit your manuscript and receive a detailed critique letter, minus the follow-up call and three hours of coaching. 

Content/Substantive Editing and Copyediting

Heavy-to-medium editing typically involves two types of editing: content (substantive) editing and copyediting. This type of editing usually requires a couple of passes. Content editing addresses chapter, paragraph, and sentence-level organization, and points out places where more development or clarification may be needed. It may involve fact-checking as well. Copyediting involves identifying and correcting the following (in Track Changes):

  • redundancies & inconsistencies
  • inaccuracies (such as wrong dates)
  • wordiness, inappropriate jargon, clichés
  • weak sentence style
  • inappropriate or inconsistent tone
  • lack of transitions and signposts (i.e. “flow")
  • problematic word choice
  • tense shifts or wrong use of tense
  • grammar, usage, spelling, and punctuation

Light Copyediting & Proofreading

If the manuscript has already been edited and revised, it may only need a once-over to eliminate any remaining errors, inconsistencies, sentence-level problems, or formatting issues. In addition to these, light editing checks for proper sequencing, cross-references, consistency in spelling, punctuation, fonts, and capitalization. 

Express Proofreading

Express proofreading is the fastest turn-around. Manuscripts that have been carefully copyedited and contain only mechanical errors (spelling, punctuation, typos, formatting) qualify for an express edit.

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