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02/04/2014 08:34 pm ET | Updated Apr 06, 2014

Needs a Rewrite: Great Authors' First Draft Revisions

"Moby Dick"
Herman Melville

"Call me the whale guy a hansom cab Steve Ishmael."

"The Old Man and the Sea"
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"
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 spouse nag wife. Or not."

"Trees"
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 bush ficus 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?)

"The Trial"
Franz Kafka

"Someone must have slandered Joey Jay Josef K . for one morning, without having done anything truly embarrassing wrong, he was handcuffed to a radiator arrested for mooning a fishmonger." (Note: This will never sell.)

"Romeo and Juliet"
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 Megan Julia is the yellowish round thing above sun and the stars and several planets and other bright stuff in the sky."

"Notes From Underground"
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"I am a sniffling, sneezing, coughing, wheezing whack job sick man... I am a congested nasty annoying spiteful guy idiot man." (Kind of a downer. Need new angle?)

"Ulysses"
James Joyce

"Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the top of the stairs bottom of the stairs somewhere near the stairs stairhead, bearing a brown paper bag dish in which you put soup bowl of cereal cherries lather on which a reflecting device mirror and a toothbrush sharp thing razor lay crossed."

"Mrs. Dalloway"
Virginia Woolf

"Mrs. Dalloway said she would swipe strip for buy the chafing dish cookies flowers herself.

"The Stranger"
Albert Camus

"Mother ate some bad shrimp croaked bit the dust died after clipping her toenails last Friday whenever today."

"A Tale of Two Cities"
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 decade few weeks age of good thinking smartness wisdom, it was the age of wearing clown shoes foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the weekend 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"
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"
F. Scott Fitzgerald

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