How Do You Edit?

Since my mind is pretty much set on one dial - edit - I'm not capable of posting about anything else. Because it's such a monumental project, so overwhelming. To make it manageable, I go through the manuscript three times. I use three stages.

1. Plot

This is the biggest part, and I'm not one of those people who puts the hard part off. I like it out of the way as soon as possible. So I go through the entire thing, looking for those plot holes that we all have, or things I forgot. For instance, I recently found in one scene that my character was changing out of her clothes. There was a knock at the door when she had no pants on, and for some reason I completely forgot about this and she opened the door. And she had an entire conversation with someone seemingly oblivious or uncaring that she, uh, had no pants on. So the first stage is to look for things like this.

2. Description

In my first drafts I have a tendency to be direct. Someone will state something, and I don't have any tags or facial expressions or voice tones. So the second stage is to change this. Add detail and description to the story. Describe rooms, surroundings, physical characteristics.

3. Technical

This is my favorite part of the whole process because, well, it's the last one! Plus it's the easiest. Just getting rid of those pesky commas that appeared somehow, without our knowing. Working on weird sentence structure, repetition, ridding ourselves of those horrible adjectives. Breaking up or combining paragraphs. The technical stuff.

So those are my three stages. How do you edit?