Developmental editors focus on the big picture. For fiction, this type of edit examines elements such as characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, theme, pacing, conflict, tension, narrative voice, and point of view and whether or not these create a cohesive and meaningful story. A developmental editor strives to pinpoint narrative pitfalls while preserving the author’s voice and vision. A developmental edit takes place after an author has completed a manuscript but is still working through revisions. A developmental edit may involve the author rewriting or deleting sections or even writing new material, which is why a “big picture” edit precedes any copyediting.
Both developmental editing and copyediting are completed within the manuscript using the “Track Changes” and “Comments” features in Microsoft Word.