I am currently editing my first novel. It is not easy. It is much easier to throw some words together and type them into a computer and daydream about characters and look up small towns in Kansas for settings . . .
Anyway, I have taken several approaches and read several books on the subject, but I have two things that are probably the most helpful.
1. A Plan
That was the first obstacle I faced when I decided to go back and work on this book. I didn't know where to start, so I turned to the internet for advice and found this Editing Recipe. This made sense to me, so I went with it. So far, it seems to be working pretty well.
2. A Critique Group
I happened to find someone on the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's Discussion Board (henceforth known as SCBWI. Catchy, I know!) who was starting a new online group and I was able to join. I had heard people talk about crit groups, and I always pictured intellectual individuals in very cool glasses, sitting in coffee shops pouring over piles of papers. Very glamorous and writery . . . but the reality is--crit groups are work! And the most helpful thing I have found in this whole "writing process." My group is online and we send our submissions back and forth over email. And while they may all wear very cool glasses (I have never seen them face to face), the reality of this crit group is better than my fantasy crit group because of one thing--they are helping make my book better.
Off to edit some more . . . it is my turn to submit.