Image by Nathan Dumlao

DEVELOPMENTAL EDITING - EXAMPLE

Refining the Details in Your Tale

Read the following excerpt of writing from a client.

"The clanging of swords could be heard throughout the whole valley of Aestor. Two young men were duelling besides a small household.

Dirt in the air. Both sides had their eyes on the prize and neither one was slowing down. Pari tightened his hilt and stroke first forcing Orion to dodge. "Very quick to act aren't you?" Pari responded with a smug smile and rushed towards Orion, giving him no chance to dodge his attacks. Orion was found trapped inside the flurry of Pari's attacks allowing him only to block. Some of Asher's attacks got through managing to cut a small portion of Orion's clothes. Orion quickly hardened his guard and managed to find an opening slashing Pari's sword away leaving him unarmed."

The writer asked for my editorial opinion. I noted that the pacing was robotic and their writing of an action scene read more like an instruction manual, in addition to some other issues. While discussing their work, the author then asked me to rewrite his work.

Read the following:

"Each combatant moved with speed and with vicious fervor, the strength of their ego locking their bodies into a ferocious dance. To stop dancing meant to lose. To lose meant to forsake their prize: pride. One man's dominance over the other.

Pari's knuckles went white with determination as he shifted laterally, bringing his sword down toward Orion. It was all Pari could do to parry Orion's counter-attack as his rival spun swiftly away from harm, still prepared to continue this deadly number.

"You're quick, aren't you?" Pari said. He watched as Orion sat back on his heels, lips pulled up into a tight smile. There- a mistake! One Pari could exploit. Orion was on his heels.

Pari unleashed a renewed flurry of small jabs that sent Orion stumbling backwards. But Orion's smile had not disappeared. Pari's sword nicked and fluttered out at amazing speed, but all he could mark was the man's tunic. Orion truly was quick.

The next moment was one Pari had not seen approaching. Pari watched as Orion moved toward him, gracefully diving in and out of his impatient jabs. The moment after, Pari was in the dirt, on his back, as Orion's shoulder collapsed into his chest. Pari peered up at his own sword, Orion holding the weapon to his neck. Their dance was over..."

The above paragraphs do not differ in what happens: Pari still fights Orion.

The difference is the execution.

Developmental editing seeks to pull the best language out of your art, while still keeping the spirit of what you wish to convey. 

Using the certifications I've earned through the University of Michigan and the styles of writing it has taught me, in addition to pulling on my experience as writer, it is my desire to help cultivate your fantasies and cherish your "story-child".