First - Print it out and edit from the paper copy
Editing from the screen has become the method of choice for many writers, and will work if you plan to send it off to a professional editor afterward. If you do not have the time, or money, for a professional editor, you must edit from paper.
The last time I posted about not hiring a professional editor I got quite a few comments from writes saying a book should never be published without proper professional editing. This is wonderful advice if the writer can afford the over $1,000 needed to get a good job.
As I have stated here before one of the problems in editing, and the writing business in general, is finding a good editor. Book doctors and editors need only to advertise and they are in business. Sad, but there are some real scam artists calling themselves editors who may or may not run your works through a quick editing program and pronounce it edited and ready for publication.
Second - Read it aloud
Reading out loud will let you find, bad punctuation, poor word choice, awkward sentences and sometimes tense changes. The good news here is that programs are available that will read your work. They will sound like a computer reader, odd, but maybe not so odd since it is the computer reading.
I like to read it myself and listen to myself, which sounds a bit full of myself, but it works. Wives, husbands or friends reading your words to you works great.
Third – Look for overuses of easy/lazy words. Here’s my list.
That, stuff, things, very, got, all, every, seem, almost, sometimes, big, little, have got, just - and the dreaded, was-is-are-am
It is simple to use the find and replace editing function to pick up these and at least, attempt a fix.
There you have it the only three thing’s I know about editing, not much. Must be why I am looking out my window at a foot of new snow instead of writing today.
Oh- don’t forget to spell and grammar check, often.