If you are ready for an editor, try a freelance editor. They are less expensive, more geared towards you, and they build long-term relationship. Vet them, research them, follow them, and then reach out. They often post availability for the coming month (or time frame) on their social media platform.
Use social media to follow same-genre authors, agents, editors, etc. They share experiences and tips. You will also know when agents and editors are open to submission, and what they want RIGHT NOW.
Remember you’ll always have another story to tell.
Need to save up for an editor, writing software, or a writing class? It can be hard to spend money on a hobby (especially when possible income can seem so far away). Hopefully, you already have a savings account and have Dave Ramsey’s “Emergency Fund”, however, I call this a “Squirrel Account”. For each word you write, set aside a 1¢ (in a separate account, savings accounts are usually free if you have $100 in it). If a cent is too much (trust me, I get it), then try a half cent or even a quarter cent. Then, when you need something for your writing you have funds available, and your hard work on writing has paid for it.
If you write: 200 words a day, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks, you’d have $48 saved up.
(I also do this with my treadmill miles.)
Character Chart. How do they relate to each other?
You can format in numerous ways, but below is a quick chart as a guide (I sketch it out on paper). Use as you like. I list all characters vertically and horizontally. I use the horizontal names as my anchors and go through the vertical list to describe how each character thinks of them.
Redo/revisit after revisions. Do the dynamics show in the writing?
Early stage tip: When working through plot, pacing, and characters, I use a Noun Chart. I have two sets on a page. This creates a map of the story that is easy to follow. I have used it in later stages after massive rewrites to see if I created plot holes.
I have also used excel to track later stages, but in early stages I like to write it out.
Have multiple characters? Do they each have a voice and stakes (they should)? Flush it out. As you revise a chapter reread it through the lens of each character in the scene. Would they do that? Think that (if their POV)? What’s missing? Did they reveal something they wouldn’t?
(This does not mean jump heads (POV) in the text, but make sure the characters show.)