I am always and forever writing notes to myself. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at it. I have nearly illegible handwriting at times, and a tendency to use abbreviations and assume I’ll know what they mean when I run across a piece of paper three months later.
Case in point: I just recently came across a handwritten scene for… Well, that was a good question. The only people in it were identified as G and K. Um… Okay… I was drawing a blank on the G, so I started with the K. K = Katheri? Nope. No G’s in her story. K = Kashrya? No… no G’s there, either. K = Kordelm? Hmmm… maybe. There is a G but the two of them don’t interact much… I slogged through half a page or more of my scribbles before finally figuring out that it was Gregor and Kane from Sanguine.
Even better was the twenty minutes spent staring at the back of an envelope trying to figure out what I had been trying to tell myself. Eventually I figured out that it was a list of fillings for a stromboli I’d ordered.
Then there are the ever-popular “assuming I’ll know what I’m talking about” notes. I came across this one while making an attempt to clean off the stand next to my computer:
“Shan goes looking for father? is taken away by him? Memory loss. Sees Rahm, remembers. How important are ribs, anyhow?” Huh? How important are ribs? Fortunately the next line helped somewhat: “Less important than the arms of the wizard you thought you’d never see again.”
Song and Sword was written over the course of a couple NaNoWriMos. It had an outline: neatly typed, printed, hole-punched, and in a three-ring binder. All was well until one day, several months after making the outline, as I was nearing completion of the first draft, I came upon this:
“The prophecy is fulfilled.”
That was okay. The problem was the note scribbled in the margin next to it: “Write the damned prophecy!”
Trust me: 70,000 plus words into a novel is not where you want to see a note like that.