The First Tip: try reading your piece in monotone, or get a text editor program to read it for you. This strips away false emphasis you add with your voice, and allows you to hear the actual quality of your writing. And if a piece is dry, overexcited, or full of melodrama, there won’t be any excuses during a monotone reading.
The Second Tip: There’s something called “reader expectancy.” If you read a piece too many times, you start to see only what you expect to see, not what is actually there. One way to break this expectancy is to change the font/style of your manuscript. Another way is to use the Find/Replace function in Microsoft Word, and change all your character names. Make them as different as possible – an exotic name, like Mercedes, becomes a simple name, like Jane. This really forces you to see your story with an outsiders eyes. Of course, you can fix the names once you’re done.
The Third tip: In Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, there was a trick one author used to instill energy into lacking scenes. This guy would print them out and tack them to the walls of his study, reworking them over and over until they popped. He saw them every time he went in that room. He probably read them every time he was bored or blocked or even after a good session. Those pieces got more polishing than any other piece of his manuscript.
Enjoy your Saturday, everyone.