When I was still writing my first novel, I did a bunch of research to find an editor I felt would be a good fit for my story goals. I came across Stephen Parolini, whose website is http://www.noveldoctor.com/
Reading his blog posts, I felt he would understand what I was trying to do with my story, so contacted him to get his professional opinion on whether my writing had potential or not. He responded that it was impossible to have an opinion on an unfinished novel, as so many people fail to finish, or if they do, their ending collapses. I took his advice to heart, and focused on completing my story.
Fast forward… I’ve finished, then started to query. A couple of months later, with no manuscript requests, I started to think that maybe I need a developmental editor and remembered Steve. I contacted him, he looked over my first few pages, and put me on his queue (which was substantial; beware editors who aren’t busy!). His feedback was incredibly detailed and even when he was picking my story apart, he managed to do so in such a way that I felt inspired, rather than put down.
I feel sure my story is 10x better than it was before I got his input. Plus, his feedback gave me the confidence to consider myself a ‘real’ writer. I can’t recommend Steve enough as a patient guy able to give constructive criticism.