November 4, 2011

Re: editors and editing

One of the best ways to learn is by observing others. And it’s an experience freelance editors often find hard to come by.

That’s one of the reasons the Author-Editor Clinic was founded, after all: to create a space for freelance editors to learn from peers and mentors, as well as by experience, how to improve their developmental editing skills.

For this week, I collected links to online examples of the developmental editor’s craft. Most of these were posted by editors as samples of their work or by agents as education for clients (i.e., writers). They show a range of styles, approaches, personalities, you name it.

I know there are more examples out there—so if you know a site with sample developmental edits or manuscript critiques, please let us know! You can email us at or add the URL to the comments section, and I’ll update this post with the additions.


  1. I was browsing Alan Rinzler's blog today and found a post that speaks to writers about the balance between explaining and trusting the reader. It's sort of a behind-the-scenes look at a developmental editor's thought process. I'd guess the information would be condensed and targeted if translated into an editorial letter, but it's interesting to think about how. There are also a number of comments so you can read how writers react to the advice.

    Here's the post:

  2. Oh, I like Rachelle Gardner's approach! It really meets the needs of both current and prospective clients. It "protects" the writers whose work she's commenting on because it's complied with unrelated critiques, but clearly shows prospective clients what to expect.

    I have a sample critique letter posted on my site but I think I'll move to this approach. I recognize that the revision process is an on-going one. The editorial critique is a snapshot in time of a particular manuscript rather than a final assessment of a writer's ability. But many writers are at their most vulnerable having put the pen down and their mss in the mail. So even though I sanitize my samples, I'm very sensitive to how a writer might feel to see my critique of their work posted so prominently.

  3. It is well said one of the best learning method is to observe others how others are doing.

    Sample Proposals