• Scott Miller

Developmental editing turns good stories into great ones

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

During the developmental editing process, I dive into the world you’ve created, analyzing your characters and the choices they make in situations of conflict. These decisions are at the heart of story, revealing character and producing narrative drive.

I’ve worked on a number of novels, including several of my own. My favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, but I’ve also worked on thrillers, mysteries, romances, and more.

My basic process:

  1. First, I read your story to answer a single question: What’s my gut telling me? Learning to trust your instincts is an important part of storytelling.

  2. Next, I go back over the manuscript, looking for the fundamental building blocks in each beat, scene, sequence, and act. Then I build a spreadsheet that breaks your story down to identify what's working and what's not.

  3. After that, I work with you to take your story to the next level. I'll never say “cut this” or “rewrite that”; instead, I provide clear, actionable guidance, all while preserving your voice and vision for the story.

How I learned about storytelling

Nearly a decade ago, while reading over the finished first draft of my own first novel, I suddenly realized I had no idea what I was doing. My book was a mess, and, despite my years of writing and editing professionally (not to mention reading a lot for personal enjoyment), I had no idea how to fix it.

That's because storytelling is a totally different skill set. It’s art as much as craft, nuts and bolts as much as heart and soul, and it’s hard as hell to master. So I started educating myself on the craft. Attending lectures, listening to podcasts, reading every book I could find—you name it, I tried it.

I learned about Joseph Campbell’s monomyth, Aristotelian structure, and Freytag's Pyramid but also studied more modern methods, from The Story Grid to Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. Gradually, it all started to click. Now I can break down stories into their component parts, diagnose what is and isn’t working, and provide thoughtful analysis on how to move forward.

Your story is a piece of you—it’s your innermost self, laid bare on the page. Writing it down (and handing it over for criticism) is hard, vulnerable work. I know because I’ve done it. And that's why I’m here to help you take your story from good to great.