Substantive Editing

(Editing at the scene, chapter and manuscript level)

– Substantive Editing/Content Editing/Structural Editing

One of the more intensive forms of editing offered by The Next Chapter is the Substantive Edit service, which focuses on fine-tuning (or fixing) big-picture elements like plot holes, unresolved threads, pacing, tension, climaxes, content relevancy and necessity, plausibility vs. suspension of disbelief, character likability and development, GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict), head-hopping, world building, scene setting, romance or mystery satisfaction (if applicable), and more. If you are still in the early stages of cleaning up your recently completed “final draft,” I recommend engaging in this type of editing process as soon as possible so you won’t waste time fine-tuning sections that may not be included in the completed manuscript.

With the Substantive Editing service, the document is evaluated as a whole and any issues with structure, scene order, coherence, pacing, character development and logical consistency are identified and corrected. Sentences may be removed or added. Paragraphs may be rewritten, condensed, or expanded. Blocks of text may be moved from one section to another, which may involve reordering or rewriting segments to improve readability, clarity, or accuracy. As a substantive editor, I can alert you to inconsistent character behavior or speech, help you adjust your language to your desired audience, and make sure your story has believable dialogue and a plausible plotline.

A substantive edit is primarily concluded via editorial letter (also called an editorial report), in which I compile all of my feedback and list any points that require further clarification. There may also be some minor comments alongside highlighted passages within the manuscript itself.

This service is right for a manuscript that has some scene, plot, or character issues, but is in its final stages of development, demonstrated by quality writing and storytelling execution. Most manuscripts need to start with a substantive edit; the vast majority will have areas that are out of sync or could use some improvement. But if a multitude of the issues listed in this section are present in the majority of the manuscript, to where extensive rewrites are needed throughout, you need a developmental edit. Please refer to the section above.