I've just about finished my fifth edit before sending the first chapter of my WIP to an agent. I use MSWord and the footnote feature allows me to keep track of plot elements that I worked in; things to come, references and hints about characters/situations, etc. They are visible at the bottom of each page unless they are removed or hidden.
I would think that removing these before printing is the smart bet. But, am I wrong? Most of these notes clarify the characters secrets, motivations, and plot twists (usually in 15 words or less) as they are revealed in later chapters.
What are you thoughts on this?
I think this qualifies as WTF.
Let's review the purpose of an agent reading a first chapter: can you write well; is the premise of the book interesting; and is the voice compelling? (and you need all three, not just one or two)
Inserting footnotes that are the equivalent of "Felix Buttonweazer's motivation for sneering at Miss Snark is revealed in chapter three" is idiotic UNLESS it's an actual part of the book. Why? Cause an agent WILL assume it's part of the book! We don't read your novels with Cliffs Notes in any form. That comes much letter when you are part of the canon, not fodder for the clue cannon.
Don't do this.