I was recently reading K M Welland’s excellent post, How I self-edit my novels: 15 steps from first draft to publication and was struck by how extensive her process is. I came away from the article feeling better about taking breaks between major edits and with a plan to find a few more groups of beta readers for my current WIP.
All 15 steps are great but I would like to focus on Ms. Welland’s third step – the 50 page edit. She borrows the idea from James Scott Bell’s 20,000 word step back. Basically, the idea is to stop every 50 pages in order to go back and read what you have written. In the everydayness of writing, it’s easy to loose track of details, subplots, and through lines.
In the novel I am drafting right now, I have multiple subplots, several timelines, and a large cast of characters. I am definitely going to need to stop and go back periodically. I’m worried that the story will go off on tangents if I don’t. Do you stop and reread periodically? How do you keep a story on track?