The first draft is only the beginning. Your Developmental Editor will help you make your writing truly shine.

Are your ready to
take your book to the
next level?

Are your ready to take your book to the next level?

In the editing phase of the publishing process, developmental editing is the step between the completion of a good first draft—or when an author has a very clear TOC and outline and some chapters written—and copyediting. Most people have experienced copy editing and proofreading. Resolving all sentence structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style guide errors and inconsistencies is essential for all, you wouldn’t want to leave the house wearing two different shoes or with your skirt on backwards, right?) 

Developmental editing is also essential and is an entirely different kind of book analysis. It focuses on the manuscript as a whole—the overall structure, content, and context—to make sure your ideas, concepts, messages, examples, and voice will be easily understood.

You can think of the approach and work involved like the planning and creation of a garden. When you’re building a garden, your goal, of course, is to create the most aesthetically pleasing experience possible for all who walk through. But creating that experience starts with the blueprints of the garden, not the flowers. 

A developmental editor analyzes the blueprints and plans of your book, your garden as it were, and helps you make best decisions so you can create the most cohesive, engaging, well thought out, and robust manuscript that you can. 

Analyzing the Blueprints:
Experience the Power of Developmental Editing

How we analyze a garden:

How we analyze your book:

Are all the beds and elements in all the right places so the theme, color palette, and style choices within the garden feel consistent and cohesive as you walk through?

Is everything presented in a logical order—do the ideas/arguments build upon each other well through to the conclusion? Are all the choices effective? Does everything come together as a cohesive whole?

Are there plants we need more of so they, or their color, will have a stronger presence?

Are there points that need to be developed or more examples given?

Do we need to add in a bridge or walkway or markers/waypoints to seamlessly move the visitor from each area of the garden to another?

Are needed transitions in place?

Do the sculptures and art pieces have artist labels and are they weatherproof?

Do we need citations or a bibliography?

Is there anything missing?

What might make this more engaging?

Does anything appear awkward or not make sense?

Where might the reader feel frustrated or distracted by content or the writing itself?

Analyzing a Garden vs. Analyzing a Book

In my work as a developmental editor, I give you direct and honest feedback about what’s working and what isn’t working in your manuscript and why, as well as suggestions on how to fix what’s not working. This is a very collaborative process: We will converse and discuss. I will ask you all sorts of questions, encourage and push you to express your voice and better explain your points, statements, examples, etc. We’ll try on ideas and changes like you’re trying on new clothes. We’ll also cut, move, and replace text as needed. We’ll pull it all into a cohesive whole, edit your manuscript into the next and final draft.

The end result? An engaging book that keeps your reader’s attention, all while presenting your unique perspective and voice clearly and efficiently. By the end of our time working together, whether you are planning to self-publish or submit your book to a publisher, you will be ready to hire a copy editor and a proofreader—the next and final steps in editing.

“I am having a ball with the editing process! Your comments and observations pushes me to look deeper into the text and what I am trying to convey.”



Christine is able to offer feedback and suggestions in a way that is supportive of the creative process. She is pleasant, easy to work with, and smart—she picks up on meaning quickly, and she has a curious and interested mind. When I reread my manuscript after reading her edits, I could see why areas weren’t clear. Through it all, I always felt that my writing is my own. And I felt free to write—I did not feel that I had to censor/edit myself as I wrote because I knew she’d take care of the details.

"I could trust that my writing would look professional and be clear."

What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

Jean Tindle | Wisdom from the Grandmothers: Tips for Living from the Realms of Love


"One could not find a more generous, gifted, and supportive developmental editor."

Matthew “Mateo” Magee Peruvian Shamanism: The Pachakuti Mesa (revised edition)

What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

Christine’s enthusiasm and expertise in the art of editing brought depth and reinvigoration to my book revision project. She asked deep and rich questions about my work that helped me flesh out points and ideas for greater clarity and strength. Her keen eye, inquisitive curiosity, and skillful dialogue were able to bridge gaps, enhance flow, and polish elements of my work I would certainly have missed. She accomplished these many tasks while allowing me to maintain my own voice throughout the writing.

Lindsay Luker | the mudras book: yoga hand poses and essential oils

"Do not wait another moment.
This is your time to write your book."

Christine is professional, efficient, and extremely knowledgeable in her field. She is open to the writer's thoughts while simultaneously being gently firm about her own. She is thorough in her explanations and makes the complicated parts seem a whole lot easier. On top of all this, she has a way of making the writer feel so proud about each accomplished step throughout the process. I had some close "give up" moments in which she gave me the time and space I needed while still quietly nudging me forward.


What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

I knew I had a great idea, and had written a lot over the years, but I’d never written a nonfiction book like this one before and really needed an editor. After [our] initial consultation, I knew Christine was the right editor for me and the book. I think my book was clearer to her than it was even to me! One of her main suggestions was such a good idea that it essentially helped me crystallize the broader concept of the book into a much more concise and solid idea. The book just came together after that.

"My book is infinitely better than it would've been without Christine’s editing expertise."

What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

Matthew Tolzmann | Birds and Plants of the World (working title)


"Christine is sharp, professional, and a great collaborator. "

What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

Amy Fiend Reeves (a.k.a. JobCoachAmy) | College to Career, Explained: Tools, Skills, and Confidence for Your Job Search

It was a professional experience- having my work treated seriously as a commercial endeavor and having it reviewed with a critical eye from both a content and structure perspective was highly rewarding. It was highly collaborative, and I really enjoyed that because I had worked alone on the book to get it to that point. Having it taken seriously by another human was a big step! She has great insight into what readers want, and how content can be structured to flow so that your content is highly readable and engaging.


Christine reviewed my manuscript for proper structure and grammar, and assessed whether or not my writing flowed, that all my stories would have meaning for the audience I had in mind, and, really, whether I wrote a good story overall. My stories did not always have the details or aspects they needed. Christine coaxed and pulled the stories out of me. She pushed me to write better. She provided strong encouragement to do that work, as well as suggestions for changes to make in the manuscript. 

"These changes allowed me to take the manuscript from mediocre to marvelous."

What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

Bonita Richter | Women Who Make: Inspiring Stories of Women Who Found Fulfilling STEM Careers in Manufacturing Making Things with Meaning


I was impressed with Christine’s qualifications, I appreciated her curiosity about my subject matter, and her insights and comments were very productive. It’s easy for writers to get so caught up in what they want to convey that they have a hard time hearing it any other way. That’s what good editors are there for: to be the objective eyes and ears. Christine was very pleasant to work with, accessible, understanding of my work constraints, and clear about her expectations and feedback. Thanks again, Christine! You killed it. 

"I felt I would have a partner who would be nice but straight with me."

What Authors say about Stardust Editorial

Kathy C. Boufford, Esq. | Divorce Matters: What You Really Need to Know When It's Time to Get a Divorce


I’ve always been a naturally curious person, almost insatiably so. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been diving and dipping into whatever ideas and topics spark my interest, and I’ve been asking the big questions like: Who are we? Why are we here? What is god and the divine? What connects us all? And what are the ways that we, over millennia, have relayed the phenomenon of this human experience to each other?

This curiosity is one of the things that led to my love of books and reading and libraries and bookstores—where else, besides online, can so many ideas and topics be found and explored in one place? But books contain more than ideas and information. They contain human expression—personality, humor, grace, perspective, teachings, wisdom, love, and more. They contain the essence of soul. We can connect and share with each other through the pages in books. And I find that beautiful.

It’s my delight to help coaches, consultants, energy work practitioners, and other nonfiction authors write books that relay their ideas, perspective, messages, and voice clearly and keep their readers engaged from cover to cover.

It was my curiosity and core questions that led me to my career in theater—in truth, my first foray into developmental editing. It’s where I learned the structure, art, and arc of storytelling. You see, when you put on a play, you must take the script apart and examine each piece. You must know how every piece fits together in order to tell a seamless story—one where the audience is willing to enter the world of the play and stay there.

Since the dawn of time we humans have been relaying what we have learned to each other through stories, and stories are what we remember. I bring the art and arc of storytelling to nonfiction books I help writers write.

When I’m not editing books, you can find me…

  • Drinking tea while reading a good book
  • Pondering the wonders and mysteries of the universe via astrophysics and all things spiritual
  • Dipping into the latest thing that’s sparked my interest 
  • Taking part in ceremony and deepening my own practice within and appreciation for indigenous spiritual traditions and wisdom
  • Enjoying theater, the arts, and everything handcrafted and creative
  • Perusing new recipes and looking forward to the next dinner party with friends

Hi, I'm Christine Thom.

Developmental Editing, at its core, is about ensuring your reader can easily and quickly connect with and understand what you want to teach them, what you want them to know; as well as feel a connection with you, the author. 

To achieve that, I put myself fully into your readers’ shoes and directly ask the same questions they would, all so you can strengthen your writing, and therefore, your book.

I also provide the safe space you need to think critically about your manuscript and your writing. Our time together gives you the opportunity to ask questions, make changes to address problematic areas and see if they work or not, work through challenging sections, and more, with someone who will not be judgmental. Writing is a creative act. Like an actor in rehearsal or the artist in the studio, you, the writer, are in the creative process while you are within the developmental phase of editing. I support, push, and guide you throughout.

The end result? A quality book that is worthy of your reader’s attention. 

To me, there’s nothing better than that.