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Structural editing is also sometimes called developmental or substantive editing.

You might want structural editing if:

  • You have a project in mind, in progress, or a finished draft.
  • You’re ready to start writing (or rewriting) and want to go into it with a definite plan, so you’re not wasting time and effort.
  • Your manuscript is too long, and you need help reducing its length.

What structural editing includes:

  • Look at your piece as a whole and assess what works, what doesn’t, and why.
    • For fiction, I’ll look at story foundation and conflict, general strengths and weaknesses, and how the story meets genre conventions and reader expectations. I’ll identify what works well, and anything that is boring, confusing, contradictory, unsupported, or unbelievable.
    • For non-fiction, I’ll look at structure, organization of information, logic and flow of arguments and ideas, plainness of language and usability of design, if applicable.
  • Assess the organization, content, meaning, coherence, and flow of the piece.
  • Reorganize, add, or delete content as needed.
  • Refine language to ensure the material is suitable for the intended audience, market, medium, and purpose.
  • Recommend a priority and sequence of next steps to make the best use of your writing time and effort and achieve your vision for the work.

What you will get back from a structural edit:

  • An editorial letter outlining a detailed recommended plan of attack to guide your writing process.
  • A copy of your manuscript marked up with my comments and suggestions.
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