verb (used with object)
1. to supervise or direct the preparation of (a newspaper, magazine, book, etc.); serve as editor of; direct the editorial policies of.
2. to collect, prepare, and arrange (materials) for publication.
3. to revise or correct, as a manuscript.
4. to expunge; eliminate (often followed by out ): The author has edited out all references to his own family.
5. to add (usually followed by in ).
Of course the definition above except for #1 all pertain to writing. But #1 deals with what an outside editor other than the author.
Isn't it strange as writers we read the same thing over and over again. Revising, rewriting, editing multiple times and still can't get it right in our mind? We will cross out entire sections and chapters with big Xs. We will ball it up into little wads of paper and throw it in trashcan after slaving for hours, weeks, and months because mentally it isn't right.
We moaned and groan during the process of editing, making sure every word is exactly what we mean. Every sentence is formed correctly with the right punctuation. Every Paragraph and dialog segment is perfect. Every page (roughly 250 words) ends with a reason for the reader to turn the page to read more. This is exactly what every how-to writing book says to do it and they can't all be wrong can they?
Does that mean you should submit something unedited? NO! Don't even try it. You won't be laughed out of the office but your manuscript will be thrown in the nearest waste can.
Then finally, it will go out to my beta readers for yet another extra set of eyes. This one is for overall content and impressions.
If it ain't perfect, its pretty darn close. I'll do yet another total read through. For the last time. By this time months have passed since I wrote the first "The End," so I can read it with fresh eyes. I kiss my baby goodbye and it is off to the publishers.
With a sigh of relief, I start writing the next one.