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Needs a Rewrite: Great Authors' First Draft Revisions
by John Blumenthal

“Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

“Call me  the whale guy  Steve  Ishmael.”


“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

He was an old man who  smelled like garlic  played the harmonica  fished alone in a  bathtub dinner jacket skiff in the Gulfstream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a nap bath dump fish.” (Note to self: My agent will hate this. The hell with him. He’s a wimp)


“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a monkish loser  snotty simpering bore like Mr. Darcy  single man in possession of nice piece of change  big you know what   good fortune, must be in want of a  smart accountant wifeOr not.”


“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see/ A sandwich  rhyming bunch of words poem as uninspiring big  lovely as a woman’s breasts  large plant pea  flea tree.” (Note to self: Do I really want to write about a tree? Why not a duck? What rhymes with duck?)


“Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare

“But soft what really bright thing light through pretty far away place yonder glass thing that you look through window which needs putty shatters busts breaks? It is the east and   Hortense Julia is the yellowish round thing above sun and the stars and several planets and other bright stuff in the sky.


“Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would  steal  swipe  strip for buy the chafing dish sled cookies flowers herself.”


“The Stranger” by Albert Camus

“Mother bit the dust bought the farm died after clipping her toenails last Friday today.”


“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

It was a pretty good day the best of times it was  actually not such a good day the worst of times, it was the age of good thinking  smartness  wisdom, it was the age of wearing clown shoes  foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of Incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of what happens when you turn off the lights  darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the time when it snows winter, of whining a lot  despair. “(Note to self: Is this too many seasons?)


“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath

“It was a clear, sultry summer, the summer they plugged in  fried electrocuted the toaster oven  washer dryer Rosenbergs and I didn’t know what I was doing in my kitchen my tutu  Cleveland New York.”


“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In my younger and more vulnerable years my dry cleaner father gave me some crackers oatmeal dumb platitudes advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since  Zelda stopped drinking my hamster died.”