top of page

Developmental text work

I spend an average of 38 hours per project, revise a text over five rounds at separate times and days, on paper and on screen, and comment extensively, with questions and points for authors to consider as they continue to revise. It's an intense process for me and for authors who have to work through my proposed revisions. Every project is different, but I follow the same process in each one to ensure that the text that you receive back is one that is much better written than the one that you sent me.

Developmental Plus sample 3_edited.jpg

A sample of what an edited text will look like when I return it to you

How your manuscript or proposal will be edited

With care. I invest the time, energy, and effort into making your words communicate what you want them to. On a recent Saturday morning I was looking at revisions to my revisions: a client had read though my changes and wanted me to review his changes to my revisions. I spent a good twenty minutes on just two sentences. Something wasn't right and I wanted to make it right. I spent another twenty minutes on re-revising a tweetable headline that the journal required.


I know how hard it is to trust someone to revise the work you have carefully prepared and spent a long time developing. Not only do I work with researchers in academia every day, I am married to one, so I know what goes on behind the scenes to get a journal article published. When you hire me to edit your text, I'm invested.

Below is a description of the process I follow on all projects. It's one I've developed to see the text with fresh eyes on each round, to catch as many mistakes and awkward writing as I can (in Round 5 of a recent project, I caught "produce," which should have been "product"). I aim to be as thorough as possible.

Round 1

I print it out and read it immediately, at this stage correcting only minor grammatical or punctuation mistakes. My goal in this round is to get familiar with the text and to understand the main ideas. I mark passages and make notes in the margins about things that are unclear or confusing to me. Then I take a break to absorb the ideas and let them filter through. Because I know that text work takes so much time, and to avoid rushing at the end, I complete Round 1 within hours of receiving a project.

Round 2

I read the paper version again. This round is much more intense and takes much more time (usually a full day or more), with my red pen scribbling, rewriting, crossing out, and moving text around.

Round 3

I revise the Word version. I use the edited paper version to make changes to the Word version. In this round I test the changes I made to the paper version and play around with different wording, continuing to revise on-screen as I work.

Round 4

I print out the latest version, re-read, and continue revising. After a good break, I read the most-recent version to check my own work, see if I missed anything, and look at the entire text again with fresh eyes.

Round 5

Final checks. In the last rounds, I make the final changes to the Word version based on the print version and read through the entire text two more times on screen before sending it back to the client.

Before-and-after samples

It's difficult to describe what a developmental edit will look like for your text, because every project is different and needs unique changes to bring out the best in the writing, but below are some before-and-after samples. The "before" version is the text that the client sent me and the "after" version is the text I sent back. I hope these samples give you a flavor of the type of editing I do. To get a better assessment of what I think your text needs, along with a quote, simply sign up for a 45-minute get-to-know-each-other consultation and we can talk through it.



"...Since the environment is constantly nudging the decision-making process, even without any intervention from a choice architect, it is important to analyze the current make-up of the choice architecture in grocery stores irrespective of any intentional influence, which would identify its influence on customer decision-making..."

"...Analyzing the current make-up of the choice architecture in grocery stores is therefore an important first step to [pinpointing/discovering] [?] whether this architecture influences customer decision making - intentionally or not - and to identifying whether grocery stores take advantage of their influence..."



"To appreciate the intimate connection of words and emotions, and their implications on organizational behavior dynamics, our study employs a discursive lens to demonstrate how strategy work is fundamentally a process of crafted and emerging drama involving emotions, instead of a rational, and structured undertaking it is traditionally portrayed."

Rather than the rational and structured undertaking that it is commonly understood to be, strategy work is a process of crafted and emerging drama [driven/fueled] [?] by emotions. Intimately connected to these emotions are the words used to transmit them, which have implications for organizational behavior dynamics.

What my clients have to say

They can say it better than I can

Editing Client

University of Mannheim

"Hi Marc, I received a message that the paper about [...] is now conditionally (some small changes) accepted to the A* Journal outlet. So, thank you so much for your great job. Without your support and patience, this would have been impossible! You are awesome...."

Editing Client

University of Göttingen

"Marc, thank you very much for your work, I saw that substantial effort has gone into the manuscript and I think the quality and readability has improved a lot! Also the paragraphs where you had questions made clear that we are not getting our point across, and, thanks to you pinpointing at those parts, we now also improved them. Overall, all remarks were very clear and are now integrated..."

Editing Client

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

“Dear Marc, Thank you so much for your incredible work. I am very grateful for the detailed editing you did. It was all pretty straight forward, so I don't have any open questions and I do agree with all your comments. This has also been a great learning process!"

A little more about me

I've helped dozens of researchers just like you

Read more about my experience and the work I do to help researchers publish and secure funding.

Marc Abernathy.jpg
bottom of page