Gail Anderson-Dargatz  

Developmental Edits


"Gail's developmental edits were superb. Her attention to the manuscript's structure, to themes and emotional resonances, and to the character creation were at once challenging,sophisticated, and encouraging. And she draws on a range of excellent resources. I've not seen anything quite like it in twenty-five years in the industry."

-- Matthew Hooton, author of Typhoon Kingdom.


Need help with that complete draft? Gail's developmental editing service is for writers at all levels of experience: emerging writers, self-published authors or published writers with one or more books published by a traditional publishing house.

A developmental editor digs deep into a manuscript's themes, story goals, conflicts and structure, character arcs, pacing, point of view, and dialogue to help a writer develop their project to the fullest. Gail takes the developmental edit a step further, offering, where appropriate, a teaching edit that includes links and resources that help writers develop skills they can apply to future projects.

Writers can expect five to ten pages of in-depth notes on their project. The developmental editing package includes an initial half-hour Zoom meeting with Gail to discuss the writer's goals for the project, and a follow-up email exchange after Gail has sent the writer her notes.

This is not a line-by-line or copy edit service. A developmental edit will not guarantee publication.

Check out what writers have to say about working with Gail, below, or listen to this Resilient Writers podcast for a taste of Gail's approach to writing, mentoring and editing.

How it works:

The writer submits their manuscript by email on the first day of the scheduled month. Before Gail reads the manuscript, she will meet with the writer for a half-hour Zoom session to discuss the writer's goals for the project. Gail will then begin her edit. A developmental edit is highly time-consuming work, but Gail commits to compiling five to ten pages of detailed notes by the end of the same month. At that point, Gail will email her notes to the author. Writers then have the opportunity to email Gail up to ten questions within one week of receiving the notes. Gail will promptly email back her considered responses.

Manuscripts are submitted as a single Word document, in 12-point, Times New Roman, double-spaced.


Writers may book a developmental edit at any time, but please contact Gail's office in advance to make sure she has room in her schedule.


The cost is four cents a word, plus GST/HST for your province.

For example, a 40,000-word manuscript would cost $1600, plus GST/HST. An 80,000-word manuscript would cost $3200 plus GST/HST.

A $250 (plus GST/HST) non-refundable deposit is due on registration to hold your seat for your scheduled month. If you move your edit to another month, you'll be asked to pay the deposit a second time, so please make sure you can commit to your chosen submission date. The full fee must be paid before Gail begins work on your project.

Please contact Gail's office before making your deposit, to make sure she has room for your manuscript in her editing schedule.

Grants for writers can often be used for professional development, including this developmental edit. Check out the Canada Council for the Arts and provincial arts councils to see if this funding is a possibility for you.

More Praise:

 "Perhaps there's no greater proof of a manuscript editor's work than when the writer they mentor gets a publishing contract, but what I found most valuable was applying Gail's insightful comments when I began to plot a new book."

-- Maia Caron, author of Song of Batoche

"Gail is nothing short of an editing genius. She has the rare ability to give feedback laced with compassion, appreciation and respect... that will inspire you to go back to the page and transform your narrative, words and characters in truly remarkable ways."

-- Maggi Feehan, author of The Serpent's Veil

Not ready for a developmental edit? Check out our alpha and beta reading service, or book a meet and greet session with Gail to discuss which services are right for you.

Would you like critique on a single short story? Consider a blue pencil session with Gail. Or, for a manuscript under 5,000 words, check out our clean sweep service.

For more information, email Gail's office at


Work with Gail

Gail works with writers at all levels, from newbies to pros. Choose the course that best suits your project.

The Clean Sweep

Writing is messy. Clean it up! Get a detailed edit of your story, pitch package, grant application or any short project under 5,000 words.

Alpha and Beta Reading Service

Alpha and beta readers give feedback on a manuscript from a reader’s perspective. Move your project forward with this affordable service.

Writing Retreat

This week-long writing retreat in the Shuswap region of British Columbia is timed to coincide with the sockeye run on the Adams River, a natural wonder.

Workshops for Groups

Reading and writing workshops for organizations, sculpted to suit your needs.

Meet and Greet

Meet Gail for a 20-minute Zoom session to find out which one of Gail's services is right for you.

Blue Pencil Sessions

Not your average blue pencil session, this consultation with Gail is a full workshop. Book at any time.

Fiction Mentorships

Gail's flagship course. In this one-on-one, private, four-month online mentorship, Gail will guide you as you put together your fiction project.

Developmental Edits

For writers with a complete draft. Gail digs deep into your manuscript's big picture story elements -- themes, story goals, conflicts and structure, character arcs, pacing, point of view, and dialogue -- to help you develop your project to the fullest.

About Gail

Gail's novels have been national and international bestsellers and two have been short-listed for the Giller Prize, among other awards. She works with writers from around the world on her online teaching forums.