Recently, I finished editing the first draft of "Continuing Forever II". The editing/revising process (and the writing process too) has been going much smoother for book #2 than it did for Book #1, so I thought I'd share a few things I figured out/learned this time around. (Please note that I'm not claiming to be a professional, only as someone with a bit of experience.)
1: Take a break. (A long one.)
A lot of people think that you should hold off the editing process until at least a month after completing your rough draft. I didn't do that when I was editing Continuing Forever, but this time I took a four month break (maybe longer than was necessary), and it has made a huge difference. For starters, as soon as you finish the rough draft, you're usually kind of tired of your novel, right? Taking a break gives you a "vacation" from having to constantly be reading your own words. You can read through it as a reader, and not as someone who just put a lot of time and energy into writing sentences and paragraphs they now hate.
2: This is a good time for character development.
While writing the rough draft of "CF II", I didn't focus too much on ironing out the details of my characters' personalities. They were more or less consistently themselves, but I added most of the endearing quirks, personal idioms, and personality flaws/characteristics during the editing process. This worked really well (for me, anyways) because I was then able to go back and develop the characters without worrying about well-thought-out characters and an intricate plot.
3: Paper is better.
While editing Continuing Forever, I was reading the document and making edits at the same time. This was nice because I could read and edit at the same time, but it was tedious and involved a lot of scrolling through pages upon pages... not to mention, staring at the screen for too long. So this time around, I printed the rough draft and read through the hard version, making edits/suggestions/notes with highlighters/pens/sticky notes. After that, I opened up the document and added the edits I had come up with while reading the paper version. This took longer, of course, but I feel like the entire edit was more thorough, and I enjoy reading from paper vs. a screen any day.
4: Plenty of time is necessary.
Even though taking a break is definitely beneficial, it's also important to give yourself enough time to edit and get second opinions well before your target publication date. This might seem a bit obvious, but if you're a procrastinator (*cough* like myself) then sometimes the publication date can creep up on you. Really fast. For me, I decided that three months was a reasonable amount of time for me to read-through and edit "CF II". And it was (even though I did the majority of the editing during the last week but that's irrelevant). I've given myself about two and a half months between the close of the editing process and the publication date for all of the other preparation (mainly beta readers and feedback). That is looking like it will be enough time (for me) but we'll see how it goes... heh. Basically, make a deadline that is way before your actual deadline, and stick with it. It's safer that way.
5: You can change anything during this phase because no one except yourself has read it.