There is always the question when you sit down to start a book: how much big-picture planning is needed, and fruitful, versus letting the thing reveal itself. Should you make an outline, or will an outline box you in? Should you rent a cabin in the woods, get a typewriter whiskey cocaine etc., or is that as bad an idea as it is in horror movies? For most of us, while some sort of outline is helpful, we also want to write in a spirit of discovery, letting the things we learn along way contribute to the whole, the skeleton growing with the skin. A good developmental editor helps you manage this conversation between the daily work and the stepping back. Alone, writing a novel can feel like wrestling an alligator; with another brain on the case it's closer to dream interpretation.
1. You make an appointment with me. If you are new, email a brief description of your project, writing background, and availability.
2. Three or more days before we meet, you email your document.
3. We meet (Zoom or in person). I describe the plot, themes, throughlines that appear to be emerging/developing. Clients say these meetings are like visiting a medium or a dream interpreter -- it feels that way for me, too. We brainstorm and arm wrestle and plan out however many next scenes you need to keep going until we meet again.
4. Ideally, for a 1st draft of a novel or memoir, we meet every three to four weeks.
5. That's it. Developmental work should be loose and messy. Our stories, it does seem, come to us in dreams. It takes crazy blind faith and rowdy debate to get reel them in, transfer them to the page.