Easy answer for me: eliminating repetitive words. I call it word infiltration, a virus of words I tend to repeat, and shouldn't.
Let's take the word 'so,'...or should I say, you take that word because I don't want it anymore. This word has quickly become today's 'like,' used by the younger folk to begin every ding-dang sentence. 'So' is a pregnant word, meant to show, especially when vocalized slowly, that a great deal of research, reflection and general hard work went into whatever statement follows 'so.'
Example: So, I wrote my 100K novel in twenty-four hours on an iPhone.
I found 40 extraneous 'so's when I edited Cézanne's Ghost.
I reduced 256 of 'that' to 170.
'Hand' I used 209 times. Now, 134.
'Smile' down to 71 from 87/.
'Head' was 218 in my last novel. Heading down to 141.
I used to have a problem with 'pull'. I was happy to report only 60 this time. Yanked 20 out of the text.
'Just' is under control. Just.
I'm wary of: still, looked, shook.
Tell me, what other words do you winnow out (or replace) in your stories? I may be missing one, or two, or three. And do you hate this editing step, like I do?
Six Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance