Over at her writing journal, Holly talks about leaving herself notes in the manuscript. I do this an awful lot, mostly during any revision or rewrite. I'm even getting into the habit of leaving scads of notes during a first draft, now. (Perhaps I am becoming note-obsessive?)
Holly's tactic is to surround the comment with asterisks, for easy searching. I used to do this, but now I've become attached to M$ Word's comment feature, which sticks a brightly-coloured box in the margin. True, given the size I view my manuscript on screen the font in the comment box is sometimes a little on the small side, but that's configurable if it's late and I'm tired and not up to squinting. And I adore to pieces the GoTo Comment feature, which lets me page through one comment at a time.
Holly goes on to say something else which clicked for me:
Last night, after two months of struggling with this stupid novel, I finally wrote, (as a bookmark for where I should start today) **You did well yesterday, young padawan. Keep up the good work, and you'll be querying this cat before the new year!**
I'm not usually so nice to myself in my notes.
Happy notes! Encouraging notes! Why did I not think of this? I have a habit of being rather scathing in my notes, and not leaving a note to myself when I've done something I like. Which means when I sit down to revise, it's to a manuscript full of holes and failings. Why not leave myself some happy-natured notes, pointing out strengths I want to capitalise on in the revision? Instead of virtually beating myself about the head as soon as I sit down to write.
If only I could colour-code the comments by content rather than author, I'd even be able to see happy notes in among1 the scathing ones at a glance. (But this is me wanting software shinies again. Bad writer, no cat-waxing!)
- See what good work you've done, Margo? I was going to write amongst, but I restrained myself 😉 [↩]