How to Self-Edit Your Novel: Characters

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

A reader will forgive many things, flat characters aren't one of them!

You've done the work to create fascinating protagonists and antagonists that make your story sizzle. Now that you're in the editing stages of your novel, it's time to polish them up. This post is about making your already amazing characters even better. Read on for 7 self-edits that can help your characters shine!

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Remember: Good editing is about clearing away anything that might distract from the message.

Oh, and this is the second post in the series. If you're just joining us now, go check out this post on self-editing your first draft! I talk about WHY you should learn to self-edit and share 11 self-edit tips.

I'm not an editor, but I learned a lot while I was preparing my own novel for publication. I have gathered tips from all over the internet, and am now laying out the ones I found helpful here for you.

First off, like before, copy and paste your current manuscript into a new document before doing big changes. Keeping your first and second drafts intact gives you the confidence to make changes without worrying that you are going to wreck everything.

Here we go with 8 tips to help your characters shine!

1. Stick to your Perspective

Being aware of your chosen point of view can sharpen your writing and plot.

When you wrote your first draft, you chose one of three perspectives:

First Person: I went to the park.

Second Person: You went to the park.

Third Person: She went to the park.

As you self-edit, you need to make sure you stuck to your chosen option!

In the first person, you see and feel the story through their perspective alone, unless you very explicitly show that the viewpoint has changed. The Artemis Fowl books often change viewpoints multiple times in one scene, so it can be done, but it is not for amateurs. A reader is inherently lazy, we don't want to work to find out what's going on.