I took an editing workshop at the beginning of this year that tought me a few things about editing. It made it much eaier for me to edit as I actually had an organized plan of attack. No, editing is always hard but with an organized approach it can be less stressful, I promise!
Here is what I learned in the workshop.
Step 1: Print a copy of your MS in some other font than you normally type with. If you type double spaced, make it single spaced before your print. (or vise versa). I usually print it out as a booklet format, as it feels almost like a real paperback. Make sure you have a pen and note paper handy too.
Step 2: Read through your MS and take small notes! Don't make any major changes! Simpley make notes for each scene or chapter as you need to.
Step 3: Now, not everyone can do this step, but I found it extremely helpful. This is also good for those that don't outline before hand, it's sort of like a post outline to help you keep on track as you edit. Go through each scene and figure out the Goal, Motivation, and Conflict of your character. Write down a one liner about each scene -- EACH scene that means all of them! When you're done you'll have a nice little outline to work with! (And guess what, you can use this later to help you write a synopsis too!)
Step 4: Now is the time to begin making changes. Look over your notes and add or take out as needed.
Step 5: Check the beginnings and endings of your scenes and chapters and make sure everything ends in a suspenseful way or begins with some sort of action. The outline will help you with the beginnings and endings to determine the best place to end or begin a chapter.
Step 6: Look at your characters - dialogue, development, etc. Make sure they aren't flat. Add or take out as needed to really make your characters come to life.
Step 7: Okay, now that you feel you have a solid plot, character development is good, and you have great beginnings and endings, go through your MS one last time to get those pesky spelling errors and grammar.
Step 8: Get someone to crit it for you. I have a few crit partners that I absolutely love and I recommend this to anyone. I know crit groups aren't for everyone, but having a specific partner or two is fabulous!
Step 9: Make any changes you need to based on the crits you get.
Step 10: Write that query and synopsis and SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT!!!
So, how about you? How do you edit your work? Do you have a set out plan or do you just go at it?