There are so many things that you look for when you edit, starting with plot and character development, and GMC (goal, motivation & conflict). All those big picture items that really need your attention as you write your story and you may need to revisit once ‘the end’ is written. Often the ideas you begin with are not the ones you end up with, so working through those larger issues can play a part in edits. I think of it as the broad strokes of a paintbrush across a canvas as the foundation of the picture is created.
Then we delve into the structure of the book, the chapters, the scenes, the paragraphs, heck even the sentence structure can impact your telling of the story. I have been amazed at how rearranging a paragraph, or splitting a paragraph into two, often emphasizes an important point for the reader. Rearranging scenes that make better sense somewhere else now that the book is done (or sort of done). Realizing that the structure of the chapter needs re-swizzled to make it more powerful. All of these items can be equated to the shading and nuances a smaller brush can lend to a painting.
And once you have completed all of this work on your masterpiece, you’re still not done. Get out that tiny detail brush and start adding the finishing touches: word choice, spelling, grammar, punctuation. All the things that need attention now that you’ve worked on the rest.
Quite a bit to think about, yes? But it can be so rewarding once you have that finished book in your hands. And even more rewarding when your readers have it in theirs!