Are you handwriting a novel – take courage from seeing this handwritten manuscript draft by Mary Shelley of her masterpiece: “Frankenstein”. There appear to be cross outs and changes of thought on every page.
(book opening begins at 5 mins 30 seconds into the video)
This video is uploaded by the wonderfully named “Long walk, short drink” channel, belonging to David Ullman #DaveDigs – in this episode, he unboxes an anniversary (200 years) printed book (limited edition of 1,000) of the handwritten notes of the writer of Frankenstein. The action starts at 5 mins 30 seconds in – items before that may be of interest to fans of Frankenstein myth.
The publishing house concerned, SP Books (Editions des Saints Peres), have also done a similar printing of authors’ handwritten manuscripts of popular literature:
- J M Barrie “Peter Pan”
- Albert Einstein “The General theory of Relativity”
- Lewis Carroll “Alive’s Adventures Underground”
- F Scott Fitzgerald “The Great Gatsby”
- Virginia Woolf “Mrs Dalloway (The Hours”
- Paul Auster “The New York Trilogy”
- Charlotte Bronte “Jane Eyre”
- Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
- Jean Cocteau “La Belle et la Bete” – the original handwritten screenplay with drawings – sold out (unsurprisingly)
With freehand drawings and clear indications of how the story was formed into a script, this is both beautiful and useful – useful as an insight into the mind of a film-maker making a masterpiece.
Gift for would be writer:
What a fantastic present for a writer who is beginning and troubled by the amount of drafting required, and complete changes of direction and crossings out, along the way! The manuscripts show that this is exactly how many books, now regarded as literature classics were written – with difficulty.
Of course, just because you cross out paragraphs on every page and rewrite is no guarantee that what you write will become a classic novel – but it’s a mark of a writer at work.