Check out this website: http://www.deepgenre.com/wordpress/ Deep Genre. Specifically check out the article http://www.deepgenre.com/wordpress/craft/line-editing/ Line Editing. It gives you how to line edit your work in ten easy steps or how your editor will edit your work.
What I find interesting in this article is the following:
1. Eliminate unnecessary modifiers. What it basically says is for you to get rid of your modifiers that end in -ly. A modifier should point clearly to the related word(s) it modifies. paraphrase p 37 E3-b Misplaced phrases and clauses found in A Writers Reference Diana Hacker, 2nd Ed. If you look through your writing you may find them in there. But that isn’t always the problems. My problem areas are about to be listed.
3. Eliminate repeated words and phrases. I do this often without realizing it as I start and stop my writing. Also I repeat ideas and have to reinvent or completely rewrite what it says.
9. Try changing tenses. I have the biggest problem with this because I automatically change my tense as I write. I write how I talk. However, when you write- its not always the same as the spoken word. Clear rules may be there that may not apply in the spoken form. So you have to be careful. This gets me all the time.
2. Eliminate clichés. I have problems with this too. My writing sometimes starts popping up with them but I am getting better but not where I would like to be.
This is where I think I am beginning to get better.
8. When in doubt, try the Delete key. I am learning to delete whole passages and pages from my work in progress. Why? The editor. I hated doing it. But to be honest- it truly sounded much better without it. And although I hated it- and I did- I could make up a whole new story with what I had taken out. Haven’t done that yet, but will. I have some other things I would like to attempt first.
10. Rewrite, rephrase, reconfigure. As you write you will do this automatically. Even as you wait on the train platform or are on a telephone call. You will rewrite, rephrase and reconfigure how that goes. Hopefully it will not be that hard for you or that long a time period between write and rewrite.
What I excel at.
6. Look up any word you’re not positive you know. I keep a dictionary handy with me at almost all times but I used to have it with me all times. Blame learning how to cook little meals for myself. I would look up terms in the supermarket as well as keep the recipe book open as I bought what I needed for the actual recipe I would cook that night for me.
7. Use that thesaurus. Its like my dictionary. An appendage. But I use this more than the dictionary. But getting better at the dictionary. Eventually that be there.