Developmental Editing

Write better stories in less time.

The Developmental Editing service is designed to teach you how stories work, both globally and at the scene level.

It’s not for everyone, but it might be for you if:

  • you are a serious writer
  • you have a great idea for a novel but don’t know where to begin
  • you are struggling to finish your current work-in-progress
  • you have completed a manuscript but aren’t sure whether it works
  • you want to write a novel that works, as quickly as possible

Six months sounds like a long time but believe me, it flies by. One-on-one sessions are intense so be prepared to spend at least 8-10 hours studying and/or writing each week, and bring your A-Game to each session.

In the Developmental Editing program, the focus is on story structure (globally and at the scene level) and character development, not on line-writing. It’s a highly personalized experience with a learning plan developed just for you, based on your needs and your novel.

We begin by learning how stories work as a whole (plot and character) which means we initially spend a lot of time studying stories that other people have produced. This is a vital part of the process and cannot be ignored. In the interest of time, we tend to focus on films but not to worry, stories have the same structure regardless of medium; novels, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, feature films, long form television, and plays all work the same way. 

The other stories that we study are called masterworks — in other words, they’re great examples of the principle we want to learn more about. While I’ll suggest films for weekly study, you should also have a list of books that are masterworks for the novel you’re writing. (If you want my help finding masterworks for your work-in-progress, you’ll need the Masterworks option below.)

Once you’ve seen how other writers have structured their stories, we take those lessons learned and apply them to your novel. I’ve developed an Annotated 3-Act Story Planner that I will share with you and that you can use to shape your story. The 3 Acts are of course, the beginning, middle and end of your story. To learn more, listen to Seasons 3 and 4 of the Story Nerd Podcast

Then we move on to scenes. Scenes are the basic building blocks of story, so if your scenes don’t work, your story won’t work. I’ll take you through everything you need to know to write rock-solid scenes that reveal character and keep your story moving forward. I’ve developed a Scene Planner that I use in my own writing (and it has saved me weeks, if not months, of unnecessary writing). I’ll share the Scene Planner with you, show you how it works and help you apply it to the scenes in your novel. 

I draw from a wide variety of storytelling theories and methods in my sessions, including (but not limited to) Robert McKee, Shawn Coyne, Lisa Cron, Tiffany Yates Martin, Sol Stein, John Yorke, Aaron Sorkin, and Alec Sokolow.

By the end of the six-month Developmental Editing sessions you’ll have a solid global structure in place for your novel, and you’ll be able to write scenes that work. This means you’ll be well-equipped to finish your manuscript on your own. Some writers can finish a draft during our time together, but most do not and that’s okay. The goal is to learn what the storytelling tools are and how they work.

If, after 26 weeks, you wish to extend your editing sessions you can provided I have room in my schedule.

My Developmental Editing slots fill up very quickly and I often have a waiting list. So, if you want to write a better novel in less time, click the CONTACT button above to get in touch.

Choose your editing service

All fees are in USD and each monthly fee is payable in full before the coaching calls begin.
Developmental Editing packages are sold in six-month blocks (26 weeks).