I upgraded to the new Firefox version this week--I was at 3.6 and the new one is 11. Yeah, I don't like upgrades and I pretty much hate this one. As I was screwing around with the tabs and the gray on gray icons that you can barely see, this topic occurred to me.
Mozilla made changes that were totally unnecessary.
If you change something, it should be for the better. It should be an improvement. Do I need to repeat that?
If you're writing along and nothing is happening--that's writing horizontally. You're not getting anywhere.
If you go back to make a change--and I especially mean this for all those professional editors some people think have all the answers--and you're essentially changing 4 quarters for a dollar, that is totally horizontal.
I can't tell you how many television story meetings I've been stuck in where some numbskull insisted on a change that added nothing (and possibly diminished the whole) because they had to prove their value. Making a change because you can is nonsense. Always ask yourself--What Does This Give Me? If the change doesn't give you anything, why are you doing it?
Speaking of writing because I can't solve Mozilla's problems with Firefox, and I can go to Filehippo and get 3.6 later today, if you're relatively new to this writing thing and lack some confidence, think always of the entire book. If you tinker 1 element, make sure you're not creating the (freaking) butterfly effect. What you touch might have implications not only on the surface but subtextually. That's what someone with "fresh eyes" probably won't get. They come in with all sorts of enthusiasm and swagger with the intention of fixing your story but they don't really understand it. They haven't lived with it. They haven't discussed the project with you. They don't know you, they don't care to know you. Are they so brilliant they don't have to bother with any of those time-wasters? They can just go in, tear your work apart while patting themselves on the back and go on to the next victim.
You know you. You know what you're trying to say. Keep that as your touchstone. Know what you want to say and make sure everything in the book leads the reader to understanding what you're trying to say.
Do that and you don't need an editor.
And use that Spell Check and Grammar Check they put into the program with the vague hope someone would use them once in a while.