Famous Authors’ Handwritten Outlines for Great Works of Literature


Writing a novel (or a story, for that matter) is confusing work. There are just so many characters running all over the place, dropping hints and having revelations. So it’s no surprise that many authors plan out their works beforehand, in chart or list or scribble form, in order to keep everything straight. After the jump, you’ll find a mini collection of those planning papers, so you can take a peek into the process of some of your favorite authors, from James Salter to J.K. Rowling.

James Salter’s outline for Light Years. [via]

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

Joseph Heller’s chart outline for Catch-22. [via]

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

William Faulkner’s outline for A Fable — written on his office walls. [via]

Sylvia Plath’s outline for The Bell Jar. [via]

Norman Mailer’s character timeline for Harlot’s Ghost. [via]

Part of Jennifer Egan’s plan for her short story “Black Box.” [via]

Gay Talese’s outline for his classic profile “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” (a magazine article, but it’s too interesting and literary to sideline on a technicality). [via]