Now if you can't afford the services of a human editor, at least invest in a good editing software program. I use Editor by Serenity Software. It's very reasonably priced. It does several overviews of your writing. Yes it's tiring and time consuming, but I love the act of refocusing my eyes on a passage or sentence or word, and discovering I can make it a little better. Believe me, it's no friend of "to be." I'm no paid spokesman for Serenity, but their product works for me. Of course it can't comment on your pacing and "believability" of your character's voices. Other more expensive story editing software might be the best bet. Investigate those. I plan to and make a future blog post on what I find. Now will share two examples where editing would have made the writing stronger in my opinion. Both examples are opening paragraphs to a writer's novel.
My thoughts are in red.
A good editing software might alert a writer to the above issue in this opening paragraph. When she said “hoisted” up was already assumed. “Pain” was used in the same sentence twice. Perhaps sensation would have been a better choice the second time. “The back of the Suburban held all the treasures…” Just say Suburban. Back of has already been established. There are many dead words in this short opening that weigh the opening passage down.
This passage seemed clunky to me. I think the sentence should have begun with that short piece of dialog. “Everyone seemed so happy” sounds lame and lazy. Perhaps better… “Our joy overtook us as we chatted and sang ___________ by Usher”. Or “Giddy with champagne, we chatted, fell into each other’s arms and sang Usher’s ‘You Remind Me.’ I was off key, but didn’t care...”
I think my suggestion pulls the reader into the story and gives more life to the characters than the generic "everyone seemed so happy..." that the author used.
As i said before, I'm a Writer, not an Editor. Writing has a lot of power. Editing is the additive that boosts the power of writing.