1. If you wrote the first draft by hand, type it up and edit as you go. If a sentence doesn't flow easily from your fingertips, you need to reword it.
2. If you typed the first draft, print it out and edit it by hand. I like red pens and colorful sticky notes. I use a different color sticky note for comments on different parts of the story, i.e. purple for plot, pink for character, yellow for setting, orange for conflict, blue for questions I have that need to be research, etc. You can get a pack of colorful sticky notes for pretty cheap at Wal-Mart. Highlighters are good for editing too.
3. Read each sentence out loud. See how it sounds, is it choppy? Is it supposed to be choppy, to make the reader uncomfortable? What words are you overusing to close to each other? I suggest you take this even a step further. Record yourself reading your story, or the piece that you are editing, that way you can hear yourself say it out loud twice (or three times, etc). Hearing it read it to you is different from hearing yourself read what you think it says out loud. The recording lets you follow along with the story more easily and will help you recognize even more spots where your grammar is off or your word choice is awkward.
4. Once you feel like you've edited it to the best f your ability, let someone else read it. I guarantee they will find other things that need to be changed that you missed. If you don't have anyone you would trust to read your work and give credible feedback, find a place to post it online for feedback. I suggest http://www.scribophile.com for more immediate feeback. I also like http://www.fictionpress.com if you don't have time to critique other people's work but still want your work to be read.
Good luck with your editing readers.
Keep on Creating,
K. A. Jairl
My name is Kim and I'm glad you stopped by. This is where I post my triumphs and my downfalls as I fight the good fight of being a writer mom everyday.