With the first draft of a story complete, the real work begins. It's time to dive into edits, rewrites, deletions, and additions. My stories usually go through at least half a dozen rounds of the process, both via myself and several others. And yet there will always be something that slips through the cracks. We're only human, after all.
A lot of writers hate this part of the process, but I actually like it. I like that the story is already there, complete, in front of me. No more thinking of what the characters will do next. Nope. Now, at this point, I only have to think of how to enhance the story. Adding more details, removing redundant material, and even correcting weird sentence structures are the challenges ahead of me.
I do all of this in the old-fashion manner of putting pen to paper. My entire story is printed out and I sit down with my red ink pen going over sheet after sheet. When one chapter is complete I go to the computer file and input my changes. And then I do it all over again. After the second run through, I send the story off to my editor for her input. After her changes are implemented it's time for beta readers. These are the people who will tell me what they think of the story: how it flows, plot structure, and whether or not it held their attention. The betas will offered up their suggestions and I choose to include them or leave the story as is.
And that's when I finally determine the story has been edited to death and plan for the big release date.
No matter how many times a writer goes over their story there will always be something to change. However, at some point you just have to quit and move on to the next project, or fear editing the story into dust. We don't want to lose the feel of the story by changing everything you started out with. As a writer you have a feel for a story when you're writing it, so don't make it as mundane as a brown paper bag by editing out all the finer qualities.
And here I am, looking forward to the next few weeks of edits and rewrites before the big release day for this new story. And when March 7th comes and goes, the book delivered to the world, I'll hope the story draws in its readers and I'll move on to the next story. Thus is the life of a writer. :)