The best advise I've been given as a writer is to put your manuscript away when you finish writing it and go do something else for a month. When you come back to edit and read through what you've written, you will come back to it with fresh eyes.
This advice not only works with writing a book, it also works for everyday situations. I don't know how many times I've struggled to come up with a solution to a problem and have sat there all day mulling over it. But when I've stepped away from the problem and done something completely different, I've been able to come back and look at it with fresh eyes from a different perspective and resolve the issue quite quickly.
This week, I've discovered I have a big problem. I'm needing to increase my word count for my novel by 15,000 words. Now, some of you might think, if I've written an entire novel, another 15,000 words shouldn't be too hard. Those of you who know what it's like to try and write a novel, then have to get rid of 15,000 words because the publisher said it was too long ... well, it's very much like that, except you have to add more words.
Think of it this way. If a chapter in a book is roughly 3000 words, I need to add an extra five chapters to my completed story. Now, five chapters doesn't sound too bad, but where are those chapters going to go? At the start of the novel? If I add another five chapters at the start, it could slow down the beginning of the story. If I add it to the end, it may prolong the climax and end up being anti-climactic instead. If I add them in the middle, then that is potentially an entirely new situation I have to put my main character through, while continually driving the purpose of the story because without purpose ... what's the point? OR, I could lengthen every chapter by adding more tension, more obstacles my characters have to get around, more detail, etc, etc.
It's a fine line between balance and chaos, purpose and deprivation. I may sound a little dramatic, but who wants to read a long-winded, slow moving, old-bag of a book? Not me. So, I am going to try something different. Unfortunately, I don't have time to step away and come back to it in a month with fresh eyes. I have a deadline, of somewhat, and a month would just push everything back further. So, I'm going with a different perspective route.
Stay tuned :)