Developmental services


Developmental services

At its heart, developmental editing is about the art of storytelling. This type of edit isn’t about whether your commas are in the right place; it’s about hooking the reader in from page one and keeping them turning the pages until the end. It’s about making your readers really care what happens next.


When I look at your manuscript during a developmental edit, I'll give you guidance on two intertwining levels.

What I call the storytelling level includes big-picture elements such as:

  • Overall pacing: does the plot progress at a pace which keeps the readers engaged?
  • Plot structure: does the plot unfold in a way that creates suspense?
  • Plot threads: do the subplots tie in with the central plot effectively?
  • Payoff: does the ending satisfy the reader's expectations?
  • Character arcs: do the characters grow and change throughout the novel?
  • Characterisation: are characters' motivations clear to the reader? Is each character distinct in the way they behave and talk?
  • Conflict: do characters' motivations and desires clash to create compelling conflict?
  • Worldbuilding: is the setting portrayed vividly? Does the in-world logic withstand scrutiny?
  • The more technical level of writing craft includes on-the-page elements such as:

  • Dialogue: does dialogue flow naturally? Are dialogue tags used appropriately?
  • Point of view: is the story written from the most effective point(s) of view? Are the narrative boundaries maintained – e.g. are there any instances where information is given to the reader that the narrator couldn't know?
  • Narrative style: is the 'voice' of the narration consistent? Does the chosen style serve the story well?
  • Scene pacing: does each scene contain sufficient tension and plot/character progression to keep the reader engaged? Is there a good balance of description and action?
  • Conveying information: does the narration use 'showing' and 'telling' appropriately and effectively? Are readers allowed to infer information rather than it being spelled out for them?
  • The storytelling and the writing craft aspects are interrelated and each affects the other. A full developmental edit would look at both of these levels more or less equally (depending on your manuscript's needs), whereas a manuscript evaluation would focus more on the storytelling elements, and a partial edit would focus on writing craft.


    Your editing journey from start to finish will look something like this:

    1. First contact

    Not as scary as it sounds! Whether you know exactly what you want from me or are unsure what your manuscript needs, get in touch for a no-obligation chat about my services.

    It’s really useful if you can provide the following information when you contact me:
  • What genre is your manuscript?
  • What is the total word count of your manuscript? Is it finished? Has it gone through any rounds of revision already?
  • Who is your intended audience? (You can be as vague or as specific as you like!)
  • What is your end goal: are you aiming to submit your work to agents/publishers, planning to self-publish, or something else entirely?
  • Do you already know which service(s) you are interested in, or would you like to discuss this?
  • Do you need the work by a particular date? (A rush fee might apply.)

  • I’ll answer any questions that you have, let you know my availability and ask for any further information I might need.

    If you’re interested in a full developmental edit or a tailored service that falls outside of my fixed-price services, I’ll also ask to look at your manuscript so that I can provide you with a quote. Rest assured that I will store any documents that you send me securely and confidentially, in line with my privacy policy.

    2. Plotting a course

    Once we’ve decided to work together, it’s time to finalise the project details. We will mutually agree the scope of the project and the timeline for the edit. We’ll also sort out payment arrangements, and I’ll ask you to read through my terms and conditions.

    To make sure that I direct my edit in the direction most useful to you, I might ask you some more questions about your work. These could include questions about particular aspects of writing that you’d like to improve on, or books that have inspired or influenced your writing.

    3. Takeoff! / The journey

    This is the bit where you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the view while I work on the edit! During longer projects, I’ll check in with you every now and again to let you know how it’s going.

    4. Coming in to land

    Once I’ve completed the edit, I’ll send all the agreed materials to you. For a developmental edit, this will usually be a revision letter and an annotated manuscript. For a manuscript evaluation, this will be a written report.

    You’ll have the opportunity to ask me any questions you have about the edit, and if the project fee included a follow-up conversation or a review of your revised manuscript, we’ll schedule that in. I’ll also ask you for some feedback, so I can continue to improve my services.

    5. Your future world

    From here on out, it’s over to you! My edit will guide you through possible ways you could move forward with your work, but if you need any further support with your writing, you'll know where to find me.

    I was lucky enough to have Jake edit some of my work and their notes have made a world of difference. Their editorial letter is detailed and focused on areas that I thought I might need to work on, as well as notifying me of others I could improve on that I might not have been aware of. However, Jake also pointed out where I did something well, which helped encourage me to make my book the best it can be. — Georgina Donnelly, YA fantasy author


    Full developmental edit

    This is the core of what I do. A full developmental edit is an extensive look at your entire manuscript. I will give you guidance on all aspects of your storytelling and writing craft, from the first page to the last.

    What you get:

  • Detailed in-text guidance throughout your entire manuscript, marked up in Microsoft Word with the Tracked Changes function.
  • An extensive revision letter that sums up the big-scale suggestions.
  • Up to two hours of further guidance by email or phone after receiving my edits.
  • Ideal for authors who:

  • want to make their entire novel as strong, compelling and engaging as possible.
  • want to learn the maximum amount of story and writing craft.
  • intend to self-publish.
  • want to maximise their chances of having their manuscript accepted by agents and publishers.
  • The editing process is unique to every manuscript, so the cost of a full developmental edit can vary. Please contact me for a no-obligation quote specific to your work. As a guideline, you can generally expect the cost to fall within the range of £0.02 – £0.05 per word. This is based on the rates suggested by the Editorial Freelancers Association, and is determined by the extent of guidance that your manuscript requires.

    Receiving Jake’s assistance with a developmental edit of my manuscript was an incredibly beneficial experience. They took into consideration all the different aspects and outcomes each decision in the manuscript led to and offered scenarios that suited both the overall themes of the manuscript and the characters. It was very clear they had a thorough understanding of every part of the manuscript, and suggested a range of ideas when needed from the ‘big picture’ right down to syntax structure. They also took into account how I as the writer would feel about certain changes, which took a lot of pressure out of the experience as I never felt like I was being shunned for not making an obvious choice. — Jennifer Bates, fantasy author

    Partial developmental edit

    If you would like the detailed, in-text guidance of a full developmental edit but are not in the position to have your entire manuscript looked at, you might want to consider a partial edit that focuses on the opening chapters of your book. I will evaluate your manuscript's beginning and give you suggestions for improvement that might also apply to the remainder of your work.

    What you get:

  • Detailed in-text guidance throughout the agreed portion of your manuscript, marked up in Microsoft Word with the Tracked Changes function.
  • A revision letter that sums up the main suggestions.
  • Up to one hour of further guidance by email or phone after receiving my edits.
  • Ideal for authors who:

  • have some revision experience and are confident applying suggestions from the beginning to the rest of the manuscript themselves.
  • plan to submit the opening of their manuscript to agents and publishers and would like it to be as strong as possible.
  • £149 for 5,000 words / £249 for 10,000 words.

    Jake worked quickly and diligently, meeting the deadline as promised. The feedback was clear, concise, and of a professional quality, exceeding my expectations. At my request, Jake focused on character development and page-turn-ability, which was exactly the direction of the feedback I received. In addition to in-line edits, Jake provided a detailed summarisation of the feedback as a whole, something I found immensely useful and usable. Rather than simply stating what aspects of my work would benefit from a second look, Jake also explained the reasons why, providing me with the tools to move forward with my work in a more professional and engaging manner. — Ryan Fitzpatrick, science fiction author

    Manuscript evaluation

    A manuscript evaluation looks at your work with broader brush strokes than a full edit. I will read through your manuscript and send you an editorial report, detailing what works well and what could work even better in your next draft. An evaluation doesn't include any manuscript annotation, but I will use some examples from the text to provide you with guidance that you can apply to the rest of your work.

    What you get:

  • An extensive report that details my editorial suggestions for your manuscript.
  • Up to one hour of further guidance by email or phone after receiving my evaluation.
  • Ideal for authors who:

  • are experienced at revising their own work and are confident applying big-scale changes to their manuscript with minimum guidance.
  • £349 for up to 90,000 words. If your manuscript is longer, please get in touch for a no-obligation quote.

    Jake meticulously combed through my YA novel and gave me excellent feedback on areas where I could use greater detail as well as better character and worldbuilding. The editorial report was delivered in an incredibly timely manner, and with absolute professionalism. All writers have blindspots, and I am so glad that Jake approached my book with kindness. They asked insightful questions which allowed me to retain direction over my book, and I appreciate their attention to detail. If you're looking for an editor or reader, I heartily recommend Jake's services! — Katelyn Ringrose, YA fantasy author

    Ready for lift-off?

    In one small step, take a giant leap for your manuscript. Contact Jake today for a no-obligation chat about how Future Worlds Editing can help you on your creative journey.