Alright, so you did it. You got to the part where you write, "The End." What now? On to the editing process. I can hear you groan through the computer screen. I know this doesn't apply to you, right? Your manuscript is perfect. So go ahead and get a cocktail while I talk to everyone else.
So to everyone who's left, what are your first defenses when it comes to editing? If your editing process is anything like mine, the manuscript will look worse than Rocky in the ring when you're finished. You'll hear Eye of The Tiger playing somewhere in the background. So you need someone to help you put back together the pieces. Here's some resources I've found useful to help out with the editing process to patch up the manuscript for the next big fight... draft 3.
Writer's Groups: An assembled group of writers is great for polishing your work. They point out issues having to do with craft, themes and character development.
Beta Readers: Once you've pulled it apart and sewn it back together, it's time to check and see if all the pieces fit. Listservs are a good way to find a reader. The messages go out to many writers. Going to conferences and striking up a conversation with fellow writers is another great way to find a beta reader. (You didn't think those conferences were just for talking to agents did you?) Fellow bloggers are also great kindred spirits in editing.
Books: The first and last defense against the editing scourge. I've found some great systematic tips in books. A great one in particular is Cheryl Klein's book, SECOND SIGHT.
What do you use for your editing?