Anyhoodle, I happened upon a great editing technique that I wanted to share with any other would-be writers out there (and don't hate or gloat if you already thought of this idea ten years ago, mmmkay?): have someone read your piece aloud to you.
While I've always read my own writing out loud when editing (honestly, it's the best way to recognize typos and awkward sentences), I'd never listened to my work being read by somebody else.
Recently, I had Christian read my story out loud. The narrator is a young boy, so I asked him to read it. I wanted to see if it sounded authentic and sincere. It was the strangest happening--hearing the words in a young boy's voice brought new life and character to the story for me. Parts and places that I was wrestling with sounded completely different in his voice and I gained new insight as to what to tinker with and what to let be.
And then, last week when Erik and Becky were in town, they were asking about the book and I bashfully agreed to share it with them. At first, I was going to read it to them, but a fleeting idea brought on by vulnerability/embarrassment caused me to hand it over to another reader. Erik read it out loud to all of us as we drove to the beach. Again, it was a strange and fascinating experience. Now the story, read in a man's voice, sounded like a reflective memoir. Again, I was drawn to new places to polish and other places that I was determined to alter to leave as is. It really gave me a chance to see it with new eyes and gave me a surge of energy and ideas.
So, there you have it--a stumbled upon idea that really helped me. I hope it helps you too!