Charts and Diagrams Drawn by Famous Authors


Being the literary nerds that we are over here, we’re obsessed with everything about our favorite authors, and particularly the little scraps of writerly intention — things that give us a view into an author’s thought process and planning technique, or even just a peek at the way they see and order the world. Plus, we like to see that authors work out their thoughts with forced attempts at organization and scribbled-out ideas just like the rest of us. Writers often use plot charts to organize the threads of complicated stories, but they’ve also been known to crank out diagrams of the travels of other people’s characters, chart-style teaching tools, and even hand-drawn maps. Click through to take a peek at our collection of charts, maps, and diagrams hand-drawn by famous authors, and get a little story-plotting inspiration of your own.

Jack Kerouac. “The Ten-Year Spiritual (or Psychological?) Circle of ‘An American Passed Here.’” Manuscript notes for the novel that would become The Town and the City, ca. 1945. [via]

Vladimir Nabokov’s map of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus’s routes around Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses [via]

Joseph Heller’s charted outline of Catch 22. See a zoom-able version here. [via]

Kurt Vonnegut will draw a chart for you in real time.

J.K. Rowling’s plot chart for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [via]

A hand-drawn map (maps count as charts right now) of the imaginary country of Angria from Branwell and Charlotte Brontë’s notebooks, drawn between 1830 and 1831. Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë all wrote stories about this imaginary world. [via]

Henry Miller’s diagrammed plan for Tropic of Capricorn [via]

The chart that W.H. Auden handed out to his students in his Swarthmore seminar “Romanticism from Rousseau to Hitler.” [via]

The setting for William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha novels — he referred to the place as “my apocryphal county.” [via]

We know Charles Darwin is a naturalist, but he did write a famous and important book, so we’re counting it. Also, his “tree of life” diagram is pretty cool. Even if it’s wrong. [via]