When in the self-editing stages should I edit my characters? I have researched a bit on this but I haven't found any time to do that. I have mostly found how to do that, rather than when to in the editing process. I am in between deciding whether to edit characters before my structural edit, or after my structural edit and before my line-edit. Any advice?

  • 3
    Different folks have different ideas about what the various steps of editing even are. What are you specifically referring to when you say character editing? Tracking the arc of each character through the story? Adjusting the story so each character's purpose and, well, CHARACTER are clear? Some of this is throughout the draft, some in the storyline edit after. Again, there are a lot of opinions.
    – DWKraus
    Sep 14, 2020 at 5:05
  • @DWKraus I'm referring to making changes to the characters themselves. Like who they are and stuff like that, I'm doing character arcs as I go along. Sep 14, 2020 at 5:43
  • Personally, this would be part of doing the first draft for me, but there may be a right answer out there. Good luck.
    – DWKraus
    Sep 14, 2020 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


Editing character could be considered a part of the structural edit. Not before the structural edit, or after it, but during it.
According to this link a structural edit focuses on literary devices such as:

Character Development/Characterisation: Are the characters authentic? Do they have realistic motivations and relationships with one another?

Which would seem to suggest, as I said, that editing your characters is **part** of the structural edit.
However, in your case, (correct me if I'm wrong on this) your editing seems to be a bit more fundamental. Maybe you want to flesh out your characters' likes and dislikes, tweak their personality, or changing their history to better fit the story. In a way that might not even relate to their character arc.
Enter **Developmental Editing** While I've seen structural and developmental editing grouped together at times, [this site][2] breaks them into two separate stages. And, it puts developmental editing **before** the structural editing. According to the site:

Developmental editing checks concept, plot coherence, and character development/arc.

Going with that, if the character editing you're looking for has to do with further developing your characters, the time to do this might be before structural editing.
I'd suggest you think what makes most sense to edit first. If editing your characters will likely cause major (or minor) structural changes, then edit your characters first. If, however, your structural edit might decide what you need to edit about your characters, do that first.
In any case, editing your characters will likely lead to another structural edit if you want to fully flesh out the connection between your characters and the story. So, if you're not sure where to start, I suggest you start with editing your characters.
Good luck!

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    Thank you so much, but I think you might have not put in a second link. Is it the same as the first or a different link? Sep 15, 2020 at 18:09
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    Hey, sorry about the second link. I think I formatted the answer all correctly but the formatting isn't showing up in one paragraph. Here's the link since I'm not sure what I need to change: jerichowriters.com/hub/types-of-editing
    – user613
    Sep 16, 2020 at 7:27
  • 1
    Great, thank you! Sep 16, 2020 at 18:43

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