What the Author Actually Meant to Say (Saturday Writing Essential)

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on October 6, 2012 0 Comments

Continuing my intent of trying to get you to write things you’ve never before done, I’m going back to the archives for this week’s challenge. There are enough new members who haven’t done this and I think it’s overdue.

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Would you be moved if you heard someone saying the following?

Eighty-seven years ago a radical group formed a new “hood” trying to say that there was no difference between any of us.

We’re fighting a turf war right now trying to figure out whether those old guys were right or not. We’re on one of the many battlefields marking the area where a bunch of them are buried having died trying to enforce the formation of that “hood.” It’s about all we can do for them anymore.

* * *

In case you don’t recognize this famous piece, here’s the original:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Yep, that’s just one interpretation of the Gettysburg Address.

If you’ve been around SatWE any length of time, you should have figured out where I’m going with this week’s challenge — I want you to rewrite some famous passage.

I’m not limiting you to the written word (prose or poetry); you’re welcome to rewrite a song, an operatic aria, a political document, or even the inscription on some monument.


This Week’s Challenge:

Using prose or poetry, rewrite some famous piece of literature, poetry, opera, or song. Not the whole thing, obviously, just a sampling of a few paragraphs, stanzas, or verses. Make it your work. (Include the original text so readers can compare them.)



Rewrite the first few paragraphs of A Tale of Two Cities. (I’d really like to see one or more submissions based on this.)

Can you think of a song in which you always felt that something was just out of place? Here’s your chance to make it right.

Rewrite William Bradford’s transcription of the Mayflower Compact.

Rewrite two or three sections of the Homestead Act of 1862.

Rewrite some of the lyrics of “When I Was a Lad” from the H.M.S. Pinafore.

More in the same vein? Rewrite some of the lyrics of “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song.

I make no bones about the fact that I don’t consider rap as music mainly because I rarely understand more than a few words of what I hear. If you’re into that style of “music,” you might rewrite a current hit so I can understand what the “artist” is saying.


Watch Out For:

About the only thing is to remember that if you choose to rewrite passages from the Bible, the Koran, or something such as the Emancipation Proclamation, you might find yourself receiving some rather strong and/or argumentative comments.



There were so many of you who said you couldn’t do this one and we had some of the best submissions I’ve seen in a long time. If you want to know how to do any of these things, check out the instructions provided by our premier technical writers.

Flat wheel – Changing a tyre. How Do I Do It? (Saturday Writing Essential) SWE. GWE.  By Vaughan Jones

How Do I Do It? (Saturday Writing Essential), How to Hang a Picture (CW)  by Pam Brittain.

How Do I Do It? (Saturday Writing Essential), Tires (CW)  by Pam Brittain

How to Be A Turd Tech (Saturday Writing Essential 09/29/12)  by G.M. Jackson

In a comment, Barbary Chaapel wrote a perfect step-by-step instruction series.  by Barbary Chaapel

Instructions: How to Start Your Model Chain Saw ~ technical writing for Saturday Writing Essential  by JOHN BECK

Small and Home Business Owner Basic Bookkeeping – D.I.Y. Cash Book and Bank Reconcilliation  by Vaughan Jones

Changes, Changes, and More Changes (Saturday Writing Essential)  by Len Maxwell

(SatWE, Technical Writing) A Procrastination Primer  by Patrick M.


Weekly reminder: Don’t forget to recommend an article that you like (to learn why, read Ann Marcaida’s article Attract More Writers and Artists to Gather!). Also, try to place a comment on at least one article and say more than you liked the piece. Tell the author what worked and what needs work.

The Rules:

  • Put this challenge statement at the beginning or end of your submission so readers will know what you’re supposed to do.

Challenge: Using prose or poetry, rewrite some famous piece of literature, poetry, opera, or song. Not the whole thing, obviously, just a sampling of a few paragraphs, stanzas, or verses. Make it your work. (Include the original text so readers can compare them.)

  • There is a limit of three submissions from each member per day. If you’re extremely prolific, spread out your work and post only three submissions per day.
  • Post to Gather Writing Essential.
  • Tag your submission with SatWE.
  • Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.
  • I ask that you make your submission(s) by next Friday afternoon.

Good Writing!

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