Whether you’re just starting your first book, or you’re revising your thirty-first, you probably feel those little pangs of doubt.

The intuitive sense that something’s wrong.

The sinking feeling that your story “just doesn’t work.”

Man's head filling with critical thoughtsMost writing gurus will advise you to just push through. To trust your characters to lead you. To just keep your fingers moving.

So you do.

But then you end up hundreds of hours into a story that simply won’t float, and you’re faced with an impossible decision: sink hundreds more hours and thousands of dollars into developmental edits and rewrites, or abandon ship.

But what if your story couldn’t sink?

The Developmental Editor is your story’s lifeguard.

If you’ve never used one before, a developmental editor doesn’t polish or proofread your work like a copyeditor will.

Instead, they make sure it will float.

Pirate ShipThey look at the structure of your story — your beginning hook, middle build, and ending payoff. They make sure you’re drawing your reader in, escalating the stakes and keeping the pages turning, and delivering a satisfying resolution.

They look at your genre conventions and discover where you’re doing great and where you might be taking on water.

They help you make your characters more deep and relatable.

And best of all, they help you find (and fix) plot holes or overcomplicated tangles in your storyline.

Sounds great, right?

It is. They are the lifeguard who can pull your story out of the undertow and set it back afloat. But when your manuscript is 80,000 words, that type of rescue takes a lot of time and a lot of money. And it often results in a lot of rewriting.

What if there was a better, more efficient way?

There is.

Give your story a lifejacket … BEFORE you start writing.

Whether you’re a planner or a pantser, an outline (even a rough one) can help keep your story afloat and aligned with your reader’s expectations.

between the beginning and the end, there is always a middle.At Sterling & Stone, we believe in beats — strong, detailed outlines that provide guideposts to write a great opening hook, build your story through the muddy middle, and create a completely satisfying finish, hitting all the essentials your readers expect, but in new, fresh ways.

And as we looked for ways to optimize our story process, we saw opportunity where we were editing and rewriting whole sections to make our books stronger.

So we turned to our internal editing team for a detailed developmental edit of our story beats BEFORE we started writing our newest projects — a life jacket for our stories.

A StoryJacket.

We saw an immediate improvement in the process.

In fact, Dave 10x'd his writing pace (actual numbers, not hyperbole!) and sustained that pace, finishing his fastest-ever first draft and producing his best work to date.

With early developmental review, we’re all writing faster and cleaner, with fewer emergency story meetings.

Editors are a special breed. They have years of experience untangling knotted storylines, researching genre requirements and identifying character motivation and point-of-view issues.

They can even suggest the best way to sneak poison into a pop star’s smoothie.

Now we fix all of our story problems at the START of our new projects.

Before we invest tens of thousands of words.
Before we invest hundreds of hours of writing.
Before we invest thousands of dollars in editing.

And we can do it for you, too.

Get your story a lifejacket.

We have great editors that we can’t live without. But we also don’t want to hoard their talents.

You deserve to feel safe with your story, too

We’re offering a limited number of StoryJackets — developmental edits for your beats — exclusively for Sterling & Stone community members.

For just the fraction of the cost of a full developmental manuscript edit, one of our editors will review your story’s beats package (outline and character sheets of up to 8,000 words), to help you amplify the strengths of your novel, nail your genre conventions, and resolve the issues that would otherwise keep you awake at night, or bog you down in the muddy middle.

This might not be right for you.

If you are so fearful of feedback that any suggestions will send you straight to the Ben & Jerry’s carton, you might need some one-on-one coaching before you’re ready for this type of review.

If your goal is to create a literary masterpiece, if you believe in suffering for your art, or if you reject the validity of market requirements, this might not be the right type of process for you.

And if you believe your work is already perfect and you’re just looking for an expert to validate you, then we have a special option just for you.

But …

Paper in a typewriterIf you’re ready to work from a solid outline that’s optimized for your genre, you’re ready to write faster and to stop throwing away massive sections of your writing, and you’re ready for a no bullshit, no whining, market-focused review of your outline, with recommendations to make it stand out from the crowd …

You’re ready for this.

To keep our team from jumping overboard, we can only offer a limited number of StoryJackets each month.

So get on the schedule now!

By the way, you never have to take any or all of any editor’s suggestions. But keep in mind that your editor wants your book to succeed as much as you do. Discard suggestions at your own peril!

What you’ll get:

Basic StoryJacket
Get a custom critique and feedback on an outline of up to 8,000 words, including...
1 Week Turnaround
1-hour one-on-one review call
Customized review, including reworked, manuscript-ready outline and character sheets
Detailed editorial notes/suggestions
Average outline length is 3,000 - 4,000 words.
Schedule It!
Extra-Floaty StoryJacket
Get a custom critique and feedback on an outline of up to 8,000 words, including...
1 Week Turnaround
1-hour one-on-one review call
Customized review, including reworked, manuscript-ready outline and character sheets
Detailed editorial notes/suggestions
EXTRA mid-manuscript “Emergency Story Meeting” session
Average outline length is 3,000 - 4,000 words.
Schedule It!
Titanic Flare-Up-The-Ass StoryJacket
A one-size-fits-all, blanket ego-validation service for outlines or manuscripts of any length or quality, including...
Instant Turnaround
1-hour one-on-one "no negativity" ego-stroking call
Boilerplate notes, filled with praise and validation for your outline and character sheets, regardless of their quality
Blanket permission to ignore future constructive feedback

Please note that our editorial schedule books up quickly, so don’t wait until your outline is ready. Book your spot early and use the deadline to your advantage.