BE A LUDDITE WHEN YOU EDIT
Before we get to a list of practical steps you can take to improve and evaluate your own work, I want you to promise that you will never, under any circumstances, rewrite your completed novel on the computer screen. I want you to promise that you will print out the manuscript, or print out what you have so far, and sit down with it and a pen or pencil to edit it. The computer is a wonderful thing for word processing. Although most writers I represent don't compose their work on computers, many people do, and they're grateful for the ease with which they can type, correct, and save their work.
But like the practitioners of any craft, most writers savor the tools of writing and have a deep interest in paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, typestyles or fonts, and ink. There is a famous photograph of John O'Hara at his writing desk, which prominently displays not only a manual typewriter but an enormous pot of rubber cement. In those typewriter days, writers had to physically wrestle with each page―feeding it into the typewriter, pounding on the keys, pulling the typed page out of the typewriter, adding a fresh sheet, and so on until they were ready to take the pages in hand and rework them. They attacked the raw material with pen or pencil, crossing out sentences and writing new ones, even cutting sentences or entire passages from one part and pasting them into another section. I've heard of writers who pinned the entire manuscript up on the wall as they worked and others who spread the whole thing out on the floor. Technology has helped writers enormously, but it hasn't figured out how to spread the pages of a novel out on the dining room table so you can see each of them whole. While you will of course edit, correct, and reword passages and move others around as you compose on the computer, the real work of rewriting requires something more.
"Your First Novel" by Ann Rittenberg