So, evidently my little canned ham got tired of posting randomly, so comments are back. Someone asked me about the editing process, and I figured, being in it, I'd at least share how I go about it. This is basically how I do it:
1. Complete a whole draft 1 manuscript. (Do not edit. You can make some notes, but do not edit.)
2. Give it a week or two (at least). Sit on it.
3. Pull it out and read over it. Make notes.
4. I've started saving an original "notes copy" before making changes. So, I'll have a file for each draft (Bogswallow, Draft 1). I will save "Bogswallow Draft 2 Notes - 092809 in a file labeled "Bogswallow Draft 2." This is so regardless of what happens, I can always go back to my original notes and the last copy before I started changing things.
5. Make a list of the order in which you want to start editing. Example: I usually start with the changes that will most drastically affect the entire manuscript. Did I change a plot point? Am I rearranging scenes and plot points? Etc.
Editing Draft 1
1. Don't do everything at once. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation (from here out referred to as GSP) can wait. I suggest starting with the big picture and working your way down. Save mechanics and minor adjustments (eye color, wrong direction of the sun) for the end.***
***For the purposes of this, I'll make up a list and put them in the order I'd likely do them. Let's say I have to:
--Move a plot point up
--Make sure all scenes before and are edited according to the moved plot point
--Add in an 'enhancer' (symbol, theme, whatever) that didn't manifest itself until late into the story
--Adjust two scenes that changed because of a plot point I changed
--Adjust surrounding scenes accordingly
--Fix a character's hair and eye color and make sure it's the same in every place
2. Determine a time frame. This keeps you motivated and on task. (Example: This week I want pages 1-50 edited.) I try to shoot for 50 pages a day.*** It'll vary. But editing page counts have the same usefulness as writing word counts. Gives you a goal to shoot for. Be reasonable about it.
****But on Tuesday I may realize that I need to change an entire sequence at once, and redo that. So Tuesday when I want page 25 done, I may be hopping between pages 17 and 20. That's okay. Finish that issue, then continue on. (This happened to me today - I realized I had a huge time frame and geographic location issue and spent several hours fixing it.)
3. Think of in in phases. Phase 1 is strictly about that first item on your list. In other words, each point on my list up top indicates one phase of editing this thing.
4. Change the date after each phase is complete (at the very least). That way you can always revert back to an old version. So, I'd have "Bogswallow Draft 2 - 092809." At the end of phase one let's say I saved it as "Bogswallow Draft 2 - 02909."
5. Complete all phases.
6. Sit on it, one to two weeks. At this stage, you may give it to two or three people to critique (really critique). Deadlines are your friends. You can find these people while you're working on Draft 2.
Editing Draft 2
1. Review all notes from peers and make your own notes. Start with the Comments feature, if you use Track Changes (and you'll want to, btw).
2. Consider all feedback and make adjustments accordingly. You don't have to (and likely can't) do everything suggested; but make sure the major elements are addressed, and make sure that if something has really bothered someone, you look into it seriously.
3. Repeat steps for Editing Draft 1.
4. Sit on it.
And so on it goes. I think after Draft 2 or 3 you might want a good, solid 'sit on it' (a month), but that'll vary. Give your brain a chance to breathe. The biggest thing to remember with writing is that it's always a draft. The other big thing is knowing when you're done. I'm usually done when: a) I am satisfied with a draft, and b) all major issues appear to have been tackled. There's always something you could do different. Always. But be satisfied.