My father is an author, editor, and ghost writer in the CBA market and he graciously edited my first four chapters when I finished my first manuscript. It was a lot of work for him and since he usually has many deadlines himself, I asked him to stop and get his own work finished. Poor guy, he was really nice in his edits, but he had a lot of things to say. Here is what he said about my paragraphs:
What I’m trying to do here is give your sentences more elegance, more connectivity to each other, and a little more drama. The sentences need a certain balance and rhythm. I can’t clearly describe what I mean, but you will develop an ear for it. Sometimes it helps to say your sentences as you put them down.
Hhhmm, that's a little vague, isn't it? As a new writer, how am I supposed to know what it is supposed to sound like? I'm reading through my work as I edit and for the most part and thoroughly enjoying myself. So what does he mean? Well, he went on and gave me questions to ask myself as I write, or in my case, edit.
Are they as expressive as they could be?
Could the verbs and nouns be more vivid without going over the edge?
On the other hand, have I used meaningless, unnecessary words in order to achieve rhythm and balance?
Does this sentence sound a little trite?
Do the sentences feel balanced?
Does this sentence end too abruptly?
Is it constructed so that the action it describes is sequenced correctly?
Have I repeated words or phrases (other than “and”, “the”, etc.) that I used in sentences close by?
Does the sentence build toward its climax or trail off, diluting the meat of the sentence?
Am I showing or merely telling?
Are all the actions and words consistent with the personality and deeper motivations of the characters?
Are all their actions and words rationally motivated?
There’s a lot to think about in constructing each paragraph and each sentence within it. I'm sure it takes several passes through your work to see all the problems it has, and even then you will probably miss some! But hopefully, this list of questions will help you focus as you edit.