For me, editing is about refining my writing, catching mistakes I made (and missed through multiple edits – hey, it happens) and taking out excess words.
I guess in the initial writing process, all filters are off. I just type, the words flowing, my fingers zapping across the keyboard. I type there instead of their or may instead of man and I've even been known to type the wrong character's name a dozen times or more throughout the rough draft process. I'm supposed to put the filters on during the editing process and catch all my mistakes. There's definitely a reason I do multiple edits – draft after draft after draft after draft ad nauseum – before I even consider the manuscript COMPLETE.
Tonight during the edit process, lo and behold, I found excess words at the end of some sentences. How in the heck did that happen? Okay, so this is only the edit of the first draft, but still . . .
Example: He flexed his fingers slightly before he settled them just above the pristine keys (of the piano) – deleted of the piano. So, you're thinking, well if he takes out of the piano how in the heck am I going to know the what of the pristine keys? Well, dear readers, it's quite simple, since the prior sentence mentions that the character is sitting at the piano; therefore, of the piano becomes redundant, useless, and not worth the time it took me to type them in the first place. Gone, are those three simple words.
Example: He finished the (one) song and effortlessly began the next without a pause, so that only he – at first – knew he was now playing a different song – deleted the word one. Why? Unnecessary word. If the word does not fit, you must omit. Oops, sorry about that! If the sentence can survive without the word, omit the word.
How many excess words are in your completed manuscripts? How many over-explanations exist?