Author Topic: Developmental Editing from Professional Editors  (Read 76 times)

Offline InkwaterJoe

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Developmental Editing from Professional Editors
« on: March 12, 2018, 04:11:02 PM »
Inkwater Press Opens Full-Manuscript Developmental Editing Service.

Inkwater Press, an independent publishing house in Portland, Oregon, has been publishing fine fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books since 2007. Since then, award-winning books like Journey: The Amazing Story of OR-7, the Oregon Wolf that Made History and Coping with Ash have been shelved in stores and libraries across the world.

Authors are now invited to submit their full manuscripts to Inkwater Press’s professional editors in exchange for a detailed and honest critique. Going beyond their usual focus on prepublication copy- and line-editing, they’ve decided that it’s time to work with authors at all stages of the writing process. Whether you’ve just completed your first draft or your third, Inkwater’s professionals are here to guide you before you hit the send button to your dream literary agent.


Holly Tri holds a BAS in Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Her editing experience spans various genres, from poetry and fiction to memoir and children’s books, as well as promotional and educational materials. She is a published fiction writer with a passion for ancient and medieval history.

Holly Tri has edited over 100 books and boasts nearly a decade of experience. She’s polished the award-winning Journey and best seller From Chicago to Vietnam. When asked which aspects of manuscripts fit her best, she responded:

I enjoy all the topics I get to learn about when editing both fiction and non-, from 1950s hotrods to historical events, from facts about CCR to the history of kayaks. And so much more. I don’t really have a favorite genre. I like a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Holly, what is the most common issue with a new writer’s manuscript?

With regards to developmental editing, I’d say consistency. Everything from timelines to names to spellings to facts to characterization to how numbers are written. Read and reread the manuscript. Map out the timeline (e.g., if it takes ten days to hike a trail, a character can’t start on Tuesday and finish on Sunday—that’s only six days). Consider every character’s story (e.g., your protagonist can’t be born in 1912 and die in 1980 at 85 years old, and if she’s an auto mechanic, she’s going to know how a car works throughout the entire book and probably not mind getting dirty). Check spellings of names, events, and places throughout. Choose a date style and stick with it throughout. From beginning to end, the story, fact or fiction, should make sense. Authors have a definite advantage over their editors: they’re the experts of their stories.

Andrew Durkin is a composer and writer from Portland, Oregon. Not only does he hold a PhD in English from USC, he is the author of Decomposition: A Music Manifesto which was published by Pantheon. Los Angeles Magazine included Decomposition in its list of the “Best Little Music Books of 2014.”

With over 50 Inkwater books under his editing belt, Andrew Durkin is especially proud to have polished the award-winning titles Coping with Ash (Michael Scott Curnes) and The Monk Woman’s Daughter (Susan Storer Clark. When asked which aspects of manuscripts fit him best, he responded:

As a reader: with fiction, I’m partial to fantasy, science fiction, and horror, especially middle-grade and YA. I like a lot of action and compelling characters with unusual stories. With non-fiction, I like anything thought-provoking, in subjects ranging from philosophy to aesthetics to politics. I’m a sucker for a beautifully made argument. I also like so-called “creative non-fiction.”

As an editor: I try to overlook my personal biases, and generally enjoy any manuscript involving an author who takes the editorial process seriously, and who understands that getting the book right will require some work.

4. What is the most common issue with a writer’s early manuscript in regards to developmental editing?

The biggest challenge, regardless of genre, seems to be helping authors get out of their own heads, so they can see their manuscript “fresh,” as a reader might. I have found that most writing problems, in whatever genre, are a function of authorial blindness. Many times I will receive a manuscript in which the author still seems to be in the process of telling themselves the story. Things they think are obvious are not; things they think need to be explained are already clear. The good news is that even the best authors have to overcome this problem!

Beyond that, it’s a matter of cohesiveness. Writing a book is an enormous undertaking—and once you can start to see your draft from the outside, it’s a matter of the seemingly endless task of connecting all the right dots.

Go to to apply for your free sample edit today. Make sure you mention “Developmental Edit” in the comment box and wait for the professional help you’ve been waiting for.