EXCERPT from "Your Very First Editor" by Lee Allen Howard in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction:
If writing a manuscript is like building a house, then revision is renovation -- modifying the existing structure, such as putting up or taking down walls. Revision starts with the rough work of reorganizing the big pieces, and takes you from the first draft to the second. Self-editing takes you from the last draft to the final version you submit to an agent or publisher. This means you should complete your revision before you fine-tune your prose. In other words, don't paint the drywall before you cut it, nail it to the studs, and patch the seams.
Revision is remodeling; self-editing is detailing -- when every sentence and each word count.
Lee Allen Howard has been a professional writer in the software industry since 1985. Besides editing fiction and nonfiction, he does editing and layout for health and fitness professionals. Lee writes horror, erotic horror, dark fantasy, and crime. His publication credits include The Sixth Seed, Severed Relations, the Cemetery Sonata anthology, Out newspaper, the Thou Shalt Not... anthology, and Amber Quill Press. Lee also writes about metaphysical and consciousness issues on his blog at http://buildingthebridge.wordpress.com.