“What is revealed by the early manuscripts of classic novels?” asks Hephzibah Anderson in an article published on BBC Culture, in which first drafts of famous novelists like Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are examined. Woolf’s manuscripts reveal a writer radically rethinking the end of her iconic novel, Mrs. Dalloway, while Proust’s drafts show liberally crossed-out and annotated sections as well as a key rethinking of a central image: the madeleine, which originally began as a slice of toast and a cup of tea. This week try a different strategy for a first draft and write a story out of order. Jot down three crucial scenes from a story you’ve been wanting to begin. Then, at random, pick one and write a draft of that scene. How does this help relieve the pressure of drafting a whole new story from beginning to end?
Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.