Every novel has its process. Some writers draw maps of their fictional worlds, while others produce intricate outlines and others still travel to real-life locations for their made-up settings — anything for a taste of inspiration, of clarity. If they’re fortunate, the novel gets published, the work endures and generations of readers admire their legacy. That’s the dream, right?
For a sweet glimpse of those earnest authors hard at work on the road to something great, we’ve gathered a few artifacts from their humble beginnings, from their idle moments and musings. We hope that these will be just as inspirational to you as they were to them.
1. One of Emily Dickinson's “Envelope Poems”
2. Jorge Luis Borges’s sketch “The Hydra of Dictators,” which depicts a frightening beast with the heads of of Juan Manuel de Rosas, Juan Peron, Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx
3. Henry Miller’s outline for Tropic of Cancer
4. James Joyce’s family passport
5. Joseph Heller’s outline for Catch 22 (Click here for full-size version)
6. William Faulkner’s map of Yoknapatawpha, the fictional setting of many of his novels
Are there any pieces of author memorabilia you’d add to the exhibit? Let us know in the comments below!
Freddie Moore is a Brooklyn-based writer. Her full name is Winifred, and her writing has appeared in The Paris Review Daily and The Huffington Post. As a former cheesemonger, she’s a big-time foodie who knows her cheese. Follow her on Twitter: @moorefreddie
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