When I wrote 'Finding a Heart of Peace,' by Eryn Grace, I had an agent who required me to edit better. I'm glad she did, actually, but at first, I thought she was crazy.
I asked a friend of mine (Lauran) to edit for me. She's not a writer (yet) but has aspirations. As for editing, I consider her to be top-notch. She knows what works and what agents are looking for, as well as the general public. She's done a bit of editing for another friend, who has books with various publishers.
Anyway, Lauran looked over my book. She was worried that I'd be upset with what she had to say, but I told her I needed help. The agent was demanding it. I can't thank Lauran enough for what she did for me. Amazing!
It seems I have a writing 'rut,' like many writers do. I use 'walked,' for example, WAY too often. I start sentences with '-ing' words (present participle) that don't make sense. For example, 'Turning around, she grabbed her purse.' Does that mean she keeps turning and turning? It would read better as 'Once she turned around, she grabbed her purse,' for example. I also used 'she glanced his way.' I don't know where I picked all of this up, but I'm slowing going back through my old books and fixing those things. It doesn't change the plot at all, but just tightens the writing a bit. I'm also trying to change some of the covers, to update them a bit.
So how did she edit my book? In a simple but useful method. First, she went through it from page 1 to the end, finding any plot holes and weird things. Then, she went through the book BACKWARD. No kidding. From end to beginning, she looked at the structure of each sentence. I never thought about it, but it's a great idea. She also found replacement words for simple word structures as she went.
In the end, the book looked like it should've looked, like a book you'd take off the shelves. The wording was amazing. The word 'walked' disappeared in most of the book. And, those pesky '-ing' words that begin a sentence are gone. She also made the passive more active by taking out more present participles. So, for example, she'd make 'We were baking...' to 'We baked...' It's more active.
I have to thank Lauran so much. She opened my eyes to many problems I didn't know I had, and made my books so much better!
Have a great day!