Developmental editing

Because a copy-edit focuses more on the line-by-line structure of your manuscript, it often does not allow for focus on wider aspects such as chapter order, plot holes, character development/arcs, and so on. If we have any points related to these overarching themes, or more drastic suggestions than a copy-edit can fix, we are likely to suggest a developmental edit before the copy-edit. It’s an incredibly useful stage, as it’s the last time during the editing process that you can really get the manuscript into its final form – once we start copy-editing, you can’t make major changes easily.

The developmental editing service comes with two hours of correspondence, which can be used for instant messaging or Skype calls. This is one of our favourite parts of the job, as it allows us to get to know you better and means we can chat thoroughly about your book without needing to write multiple emails! For more information on what a developmental edit encompasses, check out this Q&A.


As we base our approach on what your writing needs rather than applying a one-method-fits-all approach, part of our initial conversation will involve identifying your editing level. For the sake of ease, we usually specify one of three basic levels – One, Two, and Three, where One requires the least amount of editorial attention. However, please keep in mind that these are for reference only; there is a whole spectrum in between, and the editorial package will be built especially for you. A couple of example requirements:

  • Edit Level One, but with particular focus given to plot outline, pacing, and character development
  • Edit Level Two, but with Level Three-specific attention on dialogue

All levels, unless specified otherwise, encompass a copy-edit which will correct grammar, punctuation, repetition, word usage/jargon, dialect/accents, and basic formatting, as well as examining pacing, plot, logic, accuracy, consistency, narrative flow, coherency, characterisation, and so on. For a more in-depth explanation of how a copy-edit differs from other types of editing, see our blog post here.


If at all possible, we recommend at least two rounds of proofreading after a copy-edit has been carried out, ideally by more than one person. Ellie and Emma can provide one or both rounds once we have edited your manuscript, and if you have already had the work professionally edited elsewhere, we offer proofreading services as a stand-alone service. During proofreading we will correct objective errors and minor subjective ones (dependent on the level of proofreading required). Please note that we will still request a sample of your work, as sadly in the past we have found that not all editorial standards are the same!

Writing Advice

Hours of email, phone, or instant-message correspondence purchased on a monthly or weekly basis. This is a totally flexible, bespoke service and can take any shape you need, from feedback on plot outlines, chapters, world-building, etc., to discussing general aspects of the writing process such as characterisation, description, dialogue, and so on. Generally all editing levels will include some amount of writing advice, and more can be included at any point throughout the process upon request.

Beta Reading

If you have an early draft of a finished manuscript but feel it’s not yet ready for editing, we can offer beta reading services. We’ll read your work and respond to some key questions about it, giving you some insight as to how readers or publishers might react upon reading your work. This will give you a general guide of which direction to take your manuscript in next, but will not be especially detailed.


Emma’s Edit specialises in fiction, and our field of expertise is fantasy; this is our favourite genre to read, and most of our long-term clients are fantasy authors. However, we accept all genres and media and have worked on a wide range of projects, from academic papers to memoirs. If you are unsure about whether we will accept your manuscript, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Anything Else

Have an idea of what you want, but can’t see it listed? Just get in touch for a chat – the sky is the limit.