Developmental Outlines for Story and Revision Planning

A simple, streamlined way to plan new stories and revise existing ones

The Editorial Department’s developmental outline package is a simple, comprehensive tool for mapping new stories and revising works-in-progress. Fast and easy to work with, it streamlines the writing and revision process, allowing you and your editor to uncover and address issues of character, plot, structure, pacing, and more—or to brainstorm new approaches that elevate an already good story to the next level. This is all accomplished in a relatively short document that dispenses with the limitations and aggravations of traditional outlines.

Our unique, author-friendly approach of revising via outline was developed by John Robert Marlow, an editor, screenwriter, and published author who brings a wealth of book experience and Hollywood know-how to his work with The Editorial Department’s clients.

The developmental outline process begins by distilling your existing manuscript (or story idea) into a simple bullet-point list of every significant event (or proposed event) in your story. This document provides you and your editor with a solid foundation for discussion, brainstorming, planning, and decision making.

Working the outline by phone—bouncing ideas back and forth in real time—offers distinct creative and time advantages over conventional written notes. You can expect immediate, actionable feedback on proposed changes, ideas and suggestions you may not have thought of, guidance on relevant points of story craft, and whatever else may be needed to get your story into the best possible shape—before you start writing or revising the actual manuscript.

This approach—experimenting with story ideas before writing them in full—will help you avoid countless hours spent in creative blind alleys, writing material that you later discover has no place in the story.

The ultimate goal of the developmental outline package is to help your story realize its fullest dramatic and commercial potential. It’s ideal for planning and revising novels, narrative nonfiction, and screenplays, and also for planning adaptations (book-to-screenplay or screenplay-to-book).

For more in-depth information on this service—including sample outline excerpts of The Matrix and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—visit or contact Ross Browne in the Tucson office.

The developmental outline package rate is $75 per hour, with reduced-rate pricing available in most situations.

Please visit our online welcome center or call us at (520) 546-9992.