Editorial Services Guide
By The Bay Area Editors' Forum

Acquisitions editing Indexing Production editing
Copyediting Information design Project editing
Developmental editing Page design Proofreading
Fact checking Permissions editing Technical editing

Definition: Developmental editing

Developmental editing can include consultation before the writing begins. The developmental editor may help plan the organization, features, and other aspects of the work, and prepare developmental reviews or analyses. Duties often include the following:

  • Suggesting formats to communicate the message.
  • Rewriting and restructuring the text to fit the format.
  • Moving entire paragraphs and sentences to improve flow.
  • Ensuring consistent structure by adding or deleting headings.
  • Identifying gaps in content, and supplying or describing the needed copy, so the author can resolve them.
  • Deleting content that is outdated or that does not achieve the desired marketing focus or tone.
  • Developing an effective system for handling trademarks and notes.

Developmental editing may also involve altering the content to meet the recommendations of reviewers and determining the style and general content of the illustrations and/or diagrams.

Copyediting is a separate step after the developmental stage. The developmental editor does not ensure the consistency or correctness of spelling and usage, routinely check cross-references, typemark manuscripts, or enforce parallelism in running text. The developmental editor may, however, provide the copyeditor with a skeletal style sheet and a few pages of sample copyediting that show preferred forms and usage. The developmental editor may also articulate for the copyeditor the desired level, tone, and focus, and may suggest specific means by which the copyeditor can effect and fine-tune them.

Select a developmental editor.




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