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Jaelyn Bos

Aviva Zapinsky
Michael Kelbaugh
Kevin Ocampos Barry
Olsi Leka
English 100 H
Piece #3 Group Writing

The Writing Process

A Tall Tale

It was a challenge to make warriors quake. To quantify that most magical, most elusive of
processes, to restrain the phantom: to explain writing. Many turned away in despair as the words
of the assignment receded into silence. They shook their heads, threw up their hands, and
exclaimed that no sane writer would attempt such an impossible task. Writing, they declared, is
too enigmatic, too vague to explain. Trying to expose methods is a fools errand.
But as the others receded with hanging heads, five intrepid writers stepped forth. Armed
with nothing but their courage and their pens, they held up their heads and declared with one
We accept.
Stunned faces craned to see who would attempt such a challenge. They boggled when
they realized that the writers were mere students. The five hardly inspired confidence with their
looks. All slouched under the weight of bulging backpacks. Now they seemed to be looking at
one another with something like surprise on their faces, and one was even heard to whisper:
What did we say that for?

But the quiet question was forgotten as a dark figure strode in from the south. A hush
swept over the crowd. Mothers grabbed their childrens hands and shielded their eyes. Somebody
murmured a poisonous name: Kerrigan.
What is the purpose of this challenge? asked the figure in black. Have these five not
already learned the sacred code of writing? My laws cannot be changed. They arise from the very
nature of writing, and anyone who tries to write without them is no more than a scribbling
You lie! shrieked another voice from the west. There is a code of writing, but it is
mine! Writing must flow freely from the heart, without criticism, if it is to have a hope of
excellence. True writers follow me: General Brande!
However, the warring words seemed to encourage the five. They looked at each other
with newfound confidence, and one spoke:
We have heard your instruction, and we understand it. But we, using our own methods,
will write clearly-
Modestly! added another.
Creatively! chimed a third.
And in a way that shows we care, concluded the first speaker. And we will explain
how we do it. So, with notebooks for shields and pencils for swords, the young writers strode
off to tackle the task.

The five stood silhouetted against the sunset as cool darkness descended upon the land,
dramatic music rising in the background. Enraged, Kerrigan and Brande had determined that our
heroes would not succeed, and so, in agreement for the very first time, they set a time limit: the
dreaded due date. After posing for the paparazzi, flashbulbs blinding them, the five hurried to
begin writing.
They had not been the first to take up the daunting challenge. Others had gone before
them, with the shared aim of producing a work worthy of representing the devilishly nebulous
writing process. But they had proven to be craven frauds who, though able to punctuate a
sentence and capitalize a proper noun, found themselves incapable of probing the depths of their
hearts and minds to thrust out above the murky surface of consciousness the rarer treasures of
original thought. They had, in time, scattered in helpless fear, unsuccessful in their mission and
shamed by their failure.
Our own blameless young men and women reflected upon this grim prospect of defeat.
Their task demanded such an unprecedented foray into the creative realms that their brains,
stunted in their early youth by adhering to Kerrigans monolithic process, could not cope. But
they steadied their hearts and unsheathed their pens, and began.

In order to concentrate on the task at hand, our five locked themselves in a tiny room, lit
by a single, bare bulb dangling on a string. The only ornamentation was a flat table with no leg
room and five rickety folding chairs. Sitting at the table, the five stared blankly at the walls and
at each other, each with no more an idea of how to begin than the next.
Finally, just to feel productive in the race against the ticking clock, they began the way
they would any writing challenge. Some began to furiously and cathartically free-write, filling up
twenty notebooks each in the hours to come. The inkstains splattering their noses and cramps in

their hands were their only rewards. The fellows who prefer to pre-think began thinking so
furiously that they experienced exponential cranial expansion from all the new neuronal
pathways of their expanding imaginary cortex, the most underdeveloped region of the brain. The
last remaining members of the intrepid group began drafting outlines; the lines and lines of
structured papers they created engraving fuzzy lines of blue on their retinas.
After hours with no respite from their furious pre-writing activities, the five had a
mountain of ideas in front of them, with no real plan for how to use any of it. However, they
were not discouraged. Not them. They simply agreed that they must try again. And so, after a
refill of their paper deposits, and a switching of pens, our writers began anew. Silence reigned in
the little room, the jagged breathing of marathon writers the only sound.

And then, each of the writers felt it: the malicious ill will of Kerrigan and Brande,
pressing heavily upon them, causing them to falter. They heard the mocking laughter of their illwishers, rejoicing in their idea-less state. The dramatic scary music resumed. But before
depression and listlessness could set in, one of the members piped up.
Eureka! I have an idea! The others paused, encouraged, as the lightbulb over his head
chased the shadows and the ill intent to the darkest recesses of the room. Exhausted, and travelworn from the journey to the ends of their thoughts without nourishment, the five listened in
awestruck silence as he expounded, and suddenly they all smiled, overcome with peace. They
could do it! They would do it!
And so they began anew, foregoing all sustenance and rest while they pre-wrote, outlined,
and thought. The resulting pile of their effort was taller than Mt. Everest, and yet, they were
getting somewhere!

Finally, the task was at hand. They had their drafts and ideas; they were ready. Each with
their own processes, they wrote.
The ideas poured onto paper: everyone prepares their writing in different ways, with
some pre-writing complete drafts and some incubating their ideas until they write their
completed piece; there are those who write following strict guidelines and those who allow their
creative mind to experiment with different genres and styles. The presented ideas reflected the
varying processes of the five. The magic of their collaboration was that it forced insight of the
various possibilities for writing upon one another, opening their minds and allowing them to
have a finished piece which encompassed the processes of the world.
The main point of their work was this: there is no one writing process. The ways in
which people come by writing is almost never exactly the same. Everyone starts their writing in
a way that works for them. Even the five did not share a single writing process, yet their work
began to converge. All of the topics they presented seemed as though they came from just one.

For each, the way forward was a different path; twisting and turning through the toils of
their creative effort. Building upon the idea set forth by the first member, the five young writers
mapped their way through uncharted territory, pushing through grammatical snares with an ease
only determination could inspire. A light had appeared at the end of the tunnel, and with it came
the promise of comprehension unparalleled: the more they wrote, the more potential they
discovered within their own words!
With a solid foundation laid out before them, the weary but steadfast writers found it was
time to refine their path, cutting down obstacles and removing unnecessary jargon to make way
for the dawn of clarity. After all, these writers knew what must become of their paths: they must
meet in the center, forming one comprehensive map to be followed by future writers everywhere.

And the only way to ensure that was to make sure each path was clear and easy to navigate, with
solidly formed ideas and strongly supported evidence. The task was daunting, but that light
shone on, the promise of something greater to come glittering brightly on the horizon.
Three members approached the task of revision with sharp pencils and sharper minds.
They forged their paths slowly, but carefully, correcting missteps as they went. It was no easy
feat, for these writers had to delve into their deepest thoughts, putting into words something so
personal and unexplainable that it was seemingly impossible for another to tread behind on the
same path. But they were determined, and so they fixed and polished and wrote; the steadily
climbing word count and addition of colorful adjectives clarifying their newly developed ideas.
The two remaining members, however, approached their revision with a different set of
tools. These writers saw their path clearly, but knew that to reach their destination, they must
remove the cluttering rocks and trees. They sailed through the task, letting their creativity bloom.
Only after finishing did they return to prune their creation. This involved removing phrases born
out of creativity and passion, cleaning and trimming.
Despite the different methods of revision, all five members worked tirelessly to transform
their words into a clear path with an established destination. Their goal was to meet in the
middle, creating a seamless topographical landscape that encouraged future writers to not only
follow the paths they had created, but to branch out on their own. This ideal provided the five
members with a renewed source of energy as they wrote and created, crafted and formulated. The
light shining on the horizon cast its glow upon each of the five, and as they moved toward it, the
heat of its glittering promise warmed their tired hands, and made each word come easier than the

The last stage of their journey was perhaps the most difficult. The time had finally come
to revise their final piece together. Whereas they had cooperated peacefully during the preceding
steps of the writing process, now heated disagreements arose over the small but by no means
trivial aspects of the piece.
Countless words were surgically removed and altered. Commas confounded even the
self-proclaimed experts among them. Not a few tears were shed when an entire paragraph that
had impeded the pieces flow was mercilessly gutted. Vicious arguments were settled bitterly by
three-to-two votes every five minutes. Alliances were quickly formed and broken; friendships
were strained. It was a dark time, especially since no one was drinking enough water to stay
hydrated, and because the light bulb had burnt out.
But finally, as a new day dawned, the document was completed -- perfectly crafted,
flawlessly pristine. The five collapsed in exhaustion, their bodies and minds thoroughly spent. At
noon they arose and ate for the first time in many days, then departed to their native lands.
The sun would sink again that night and rise again the next morning. But the rest of the
world would not be quite the same.

The most unpredictable aspect of writing, undoubtedly, is the subsequent public

reception. The reaction to the fives piece, however, was unprecedentedly favorable. The young
writers watched with peaceful and selfless gratification as the world bent gently to its influence.
The five had triumphed against the evil forces of Kerrigan and Brande, and society flourished.
School children taped its pages to their composition textbooks, and committed it to
memory. Men and women risked their lives and fortunes to smuggle it into the dark corners of
the world, behind iron curtains and metal detectors, sparking democratic revolutions across the
globe, and an unparalleled surge in quality writing. (This was, of course, in violation of

international copyright law, but the five did not pursue civil action. There are things in life far
more enduring than material riches. Also, Julian Assange had given the piece a positive review
on WikiLeaks.) It was translated into twenty-eight languages and three dialects, bringing peace
to the Middle East, and to Ireland, which declared a national holiday. Swords were beaten into
plowshares, and the S&P 500 climbed sixty points to close at a monthly high.
The tale of the pieces creation was immortalized as a cross-cultural legend, on the
tongues of the most erudite of scholars and the most innocent of children. The international
stonecutters guild convened at a ski lodge in the Swiss Alps for six months, and carved the
entirety of the manuscript onto the face of a mountain in letters fifteen feet tall, and concluded
with the words THE END, prophetically signifying its longevity -- even unto the end of the
world, and of time itself.
For all things will pass away, but these words may last longer than most, provided they
receive a favorable report.


Olsi did propose an astoundingly imaginative idea for this piece -- so purely magical that it held
us spellbound for a full ten minutes upon first hearing it. However, since Kerrigan instructs us
not to impress our readers, we decided against using it. So it goes.

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