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IWSG – 09/06/17

  • Posted on September 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
This Month’s Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??
My answer:
No. I don’t think I ever have. To be honest, I’ve tried writing just about everything that has come into my head to write, and it’s always the same errors that hold me back. Bad plot structure, poorly designed characters, poorly designed narrative, badly done world building. I’m always held back by my flaws.

My advice to anyone feeling held back by their flaws is this: Confront them head on. Over-design a character, if you’re used to under-designing them. Overthink the world they live in, if you’re used to winging it on world building. Study plot-structures. Study the way you write, and then study ways to make it better. Don’t just give up.

Giving up is, in my opinion, the worst thing you can do.

IWSG – 08/02/17

  • Posted on August 2, 2017 at 6:50 pm

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

This months question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?

To answer this, I think I’m going to split it up into three different sections. My pet peeves are very different, depending on whether I’m reading, writing, or editing. Pet peeves in general are very different, depending on who it is that’s doing the writing, what it is I’m editing, and where I am when I’m reading.

My general pet peeves when I’m reading are:

  • When I can’t get comfy
  • When the author misspells something
  • When something the author says contradicts something I know
  • When there’s a plothole
  • When the book focuses on a character I hate

Pet Peeves for when I’m writing:

  • When a sentence feels wrong but looks right
  • When a scene won’t close itself
  • Writing love scenes

Pet Peeves for editing:

  • Adding description
  • Editing specific POVs

I don’t have as many POVs for Editing, but that’s only because I’m only JUST experiencing the hell that is editing. So please, don’t think I don’t have any others. I just haven’t discovered them yet.

IWSG – 07/04/17

  • Posted on July 4, 2017 at 10:27 pm

 Today’s IWSG post kind of snuck up on me. Normally, I have them planned out in advance, and only just post them the day of the post. But this time, I had a very full day and did not even think to post anything. So now I’m writing this at ten pm in a hotel room, surrounded by people trying to go to sleep. Included in that list is the person sharing a bed with me, who happens to be a three year old little girl. Poor thing sleeps like a drunken octopus at a frat party. Hands everywhere. Feet in faces. It’s tragic.

But my IWSG is about fear today. Because I find that this new manuscript I’ve just started (Oh did I mention I finished a manuscript? Because I did. I’m so proud of that.) has me so afraid of it that it’s hard to even write what happens next. Every time I sit down to write it, something changes, and my original outline becomes nothing more than a guideline. This is terrifying to me.

Not only that, but whenever I sit down to write it, my anxiety kicks up, and I start thinking that maybe I’m not good enough to write it. That maybe I’m just trying to figure out a way to kill time, and this isn’t the right story to be told. I sit down, and I think “I can’t do this.”

But I do. I pound out words every day. Not a lot of words. I’m certainly winning no speed prize for this manuscript. But I am writing every day, thanks to the Camp NaNoWriMo July and thanks to my amazing mentor, Chris Votey, who keeps me going. So here’s my advice to anyone plagued by fear when writing their manuscript:

Be afraid. But don’t let that fear define your creation.

Now, PSA over, let’s talk about a few things.

One! Chris just revealed the cover of his new book and it is FABULOUS! Go take a look at it here!

Two! I’m going to be detailing the editing process as I go through and edit Knight of Kuryle, so keep an eye out for that.

And Three! I have some tentative covers of my own to reveal! The self-made covers for Knight of Kuryle and my current WIP, A Deeper Love, are below. Please tell me what you think, and any way that I can improve them! Thank you in advance, and have a great fourth of july!

IWSG – 06-07-17

  • Posted on June 7, 2017 at 4:22 pm

We're here for you.There’s just something about being surrounded by fellow writers that makes one feel safer writing, isn’t there? That’s what the IWSG is all about. A community of writers meant to join together and share our sorrows, woes and triumphs!


This month’s question: Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

 

To be honest, no I have never said “I quit”. I have had writers block for months at a time. I have had a self-imposed ‘do not write’ rule, but it was always in the effort of becoming a better writer. You see, I find that I get blocks more often than others. Or maybe exactly as often, and others have more self-discipline than I do. I’m not sure. All I know is that more often than not, I stare at a page and try to will myself to write, and find myself crying over it instead.

Writing is hard.

But you already know that. Especially if you’re part of IWSG, or a writer yourself. So no, I have never given up entirely. But I have given up on some projects. There are just some stories that I will never allow to see the light of day. And that is that.

Now, onto more pleasant things!

I’ve started a new project, which is meant to introduce those who follow me, and those who know me, to a new subgenre of Science Fiction, called “Humanity, Fuck Yeah!” or HFY for short. A large dose of it can be found here on this subreddit. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is science fiction that runs on the premise that humans are the most badass things in the galaxy.

Generally this means that humanity is from what is known as a Death World. Earth is Space Australia, where everything tries to kill you, and for most species, everything succeeds. My favorite story in this particular genre is a series that can be found here. It’s a great little scifi with a female main character who ends up being hella badass and disciplined at the same time. I adore it. <3

In fact, I love the series so much that I have started recording all of the stories in that universe and put them up on Youtube! You can find them on my youtube channel! Please take a look, and please forgive me for the amateurish videos. This is my first time using any video editing software ever, so I’m on a steep learning curve!

On another note, this whole thing is practice for when my own books go Audio, and I read them to the world. Plus, it allows me to study more writing in the genre I’m attempting to write right now. So win/win!

04/05/17 – IWSG

  • Posted on April 12, 2017 at 10:04 am

 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

 

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG will be Chris @ Madness of a Modern Writer, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!

The Question for April IWSG is this: 

Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

The answer here is pretty simple, No I’ve never used it to market a book. I have, however, used it to market my blog, which in turn will later market my book. So it’s not quite the same thing, but it is a way to grow my platform. Speaking of, CHECK OUT ALL OF MY A-to-Z POSTS ON THIS PAGE. Most of the links won’t work until the appointed day of posting, so check back regularly, or better yet, sign up to receive updates in your inbox.

Recently I learned about something called CPConnect, which stands for Critique Partner Connect. It’s run by Kim Chance, a wonderful authoress who happens to run a great youtube channel too! Check it out, it has great tutorials and ideas. 

CP Connect is going to be a blogpost where people looking for critique partners can post a comment about their project and meet up with some possible CPs. It’s a great opportunity to not only meet fellow authors, but to possibly make permanent friendships!

Why is a Critique Partner so important? Why is it important to have two or three of them? Well, because everyone should have someone that they can go to and be like, “Yo, is this working?” and have them say, “Nah, man. Try this instead.” When you take into account how valuable having someone else’s opinion on your story is, you really can’t go wrong.

So come on, join me in this new program, and join us at #CPConnect. 

 

 

IWSG – 03/01/17

  • Posted on March 1, 2017 at 12:15 am

There’s a lovely group of people who listen to my woes and comfort me every month, and this month I have the honor of giving back by co-hosting the lovely Insecure Writer’s Support Group. If you don’t know about this group or are relatively new, here’s how it works:

  1. Click on the picture
  2. Sign up
  3. Post a post every first Wednesday about your struggles as a writer, your triumphs as an author, and any encouragement you have to give others. (prompts are provided, most times.)
  4. Go and read about other’s struggles and comment with support!

When I was fourteen years old, I had a dream. To this day the only thing I can remember about the dream was that there was a sorcerer and a swordsman, and the swordsman ran the sorcerer through with his sword. He caught the dying sorcerer, and the sorcerer said to him, “You never could save me.”

That’s how two of the main characters of the Kurylian Saga were born. Others came afterward, but Yumil and Dirk were the ones who stuck around the most. I drew comics of them, I wrote short stories to myself. I even considered making a full-blown manga out of their adventure.

In the end, I settled on a book, and with the encouragement of my then-boyfriend, in 2013, I wrote the first draft of the Kurylian saga. The characters were wonky, the settings were forgettable, and the action was… well… inactive. I met my mentor, Chris Votey, and began work on the second draft. And then the third. And then I put it away for almost a full year, while I was homeless and running around my town trying to get my feet back under me.

Most recently, I’ve been struggling with a feeling of dejection. That the story I was telling was either not good enough, or that I, as a writer, didn’t have the skill to tell it. I absolutely drove myself mad over it to the point where I considered whether or not to scrap the book entirely and just move on.

I tried to do just that. I opened rough draft after rough draft. I tried different genres. I tried everything. But I always came back to Dirk and Yumil. The two of them needed their story told, and my fourteen-year-old-self was still in love with the way their world worked.

So I went to Chris and I asked him for help. As always, he gave me lovely lessons on world building, and how to use what I was learning in college in my writing. Then he set me the challenge of writing short fiction. Just real quick 500-750 word drabbles centered around one of the other characters in the story named Eamon.

Doing this unlocked something in me, and I found myself starting to get excited about the book again.

However, those doubts started niggling again. I couldn’t possibly be writing this right. I was obviously doing something wrong. Why was Eamon acting this way, when I had thought she was a more simple character?!

Chris came to me again and offered me the chance to analyze Dirk and Eamon, to see how they really ticked. I jumped on it, thinking that, as always, Chris must have some kind of reasoning behind it. And to be honest, I’m not the greatest at Character Profiling. Or world building. Or prose. Or, well you get the drift.

The first thing we did was sit down over voice chat, and he started asking me questions. I was instructed to answer the question three times. Once for Dirk, Once for Eamon, and Once for myself. I recognized the questions as being similar to an MBTI test I took and abandoned halfway through a long time ago.

For those who don’t know, MBTI stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a psychological profiling system. It’s become very fashionable lately to know what your MBTI is on Tumblr, so I’ve kind of been rolling my eyes at it as any kind of diagnostic tool. However, Chris is on the verge of something wonderful, so I went along with it.

Going through the questions made me think about things I’d never considered before. Was Eamon organized? Did Dirk like being in the center of crowds? Did either of them enjoy spending time outdoors or indoors more? The questions were thorough and difficult to answer.

Over the course of the questions, however, the two of them started to form more solidly in my head. These were real people I was talking about suddenly. Not characters in my mind, but people I knew more intimately (apparently) than I knew myself!

It got me to thinking, however, about the characters and how they were and what they were doing. I started asking myself questions about my other characters, like Yumil and Jorgan and Anelace. Were any of them wallflowers? Did any of them answer emails promptly? It made me feel more connected to the story, which suddenly made me want to write more on this behemoth that had already taken up four years of my life.

And then, a few days later, Chris said he had the results. And when we went over them, something amazing happened. It was more than just a confirmation of who the characters were. It was like Chris was reading to me a manual on the characters that I had dreamt up, loved, and written for years. They came alive on the paper, and their actions suddenly made SENSE.

Dirk adopted Jorgan because his emotions thrive on love and care, and children are love and care incarnate. Eamon feels pressure to be like her father because it’s difficult for her to be original because of her personality. Everything made sense. I wasn’t crazy. These characters really were like real live people.

More than anything, by getting to know these characters, by learning how they think, how they feel, and what their rich inner lives were like, I knew that I was doing the right thing. That I was the writer to tell their story. After all, if I could make a complex character that fit into a personality profile used by psychiatrists, how could I possibly be doing my story injustice? I hadn’t known that these profiles existed when I made Dirk. So I wasn’t copying.

I had known Chris was doing research on personality typing for character creation, and he had mentioned MBTI types as well as astrology. Now I couldn’t help but wonder if his research for that project was what he used to help me. He confirmed it, of course, when I asked him. I felt so privileged that he would share such a thing with me.

I was so giddy with elation I rushed out of our voice chat, leaving poor Chris behind,  just to write all of this down. So let me tell you, fellow writers. If you are lacking motivation, or if you feel like you aren’t good enough… Sit down with your characters. Get to know them. Learn their inner lives. Do these things, and you’ll find that you ARE a writer, you are a good one, and you can do this.

After all, they chose you to tell their story.

So get out there, and tell it.

By the way, the test Chris recommended I use to find out the other characters MBTI profiles is right HERE, so feel free to use it! I also recommend THIS WEBSITE for getting to know each MBTI type.

As an aside, next month I will be joining the Blogging A to Z Challenge, co-hosted by IWSG’s Alex Cavenaugh! Follow me now for awesome articles every day in april!

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Annotation

  • Posted on February 5, 2017 at 10:58 am
This post was meant to go up on the first Wednesday of the month, for Insecure Writer’s Support group. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is a monthly bloghop where writers can share their fears, doubts and insecurities. The support from this group has been invaluable for my growth as a writer, and I don’t doubt it will be for you too!
You’re welcome to join. All you have to do is click here to sign up, or click the nice little picture below too!
Unfortunately, I had an experience that I needed to share with IWSG before then, and so this one got pushed back a bit. But hey, who says I can’t plug the group twice in one month, hm?

The question for this month was: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?
To answer this question, I have to quantify what I was like as a reader before I wrote.

The honest answer is, voracious. But only of things that pertained to my interests.

Now, however, I’m much less voracious. Reading has been a bit of a challenge for me since my ADHD has recently taken a much worse turn. Reading properly has causes my mind to wander, and my focus to scatter. It makes it painful, especially for someone who used to use the entire library as a proving ground.

Audiobooks have become my bread and butter. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of writing books on audiobook, so I have to force myself into listening to books for their metre, their cadence, the way they put together words, and the way plot converges. I enjoy the books the same way anyone does, I suppose, by reading them this way, but I also find that I don’t learn much unless I put my all into actually studying the book.

Since I became a writer, however, I’ve been considering something that I never really thought about doing before. Marking up books. Annotating them, so that I can see what exactly it is I’m working with, how they’re put together and what I can do to emulate them. I have yet to actually do this, only because I still haven’t gotten over the idea that marking up books is somehow sacrilegious.

For those who don’t know what annotation is, the definition on dictionary.com is a critical or explanatory note or body of notes added to a text. Marking up a text with notes on grammar, cadence, meaning, theme, and plot.  This allows you to study how the text is put together, and how the author made their decisions about word placement and usage. This learning exercise was something I learned in my recent Introduction to Literature class. Although I’m still not that great at it…

Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m picking my books more carefully. I find myself being disappointed in books a lot more often, thinking ‘they could have done this instead’, or ‘this scene doesn’t work the right way’. So honestly, it’s a bit difficult being a reader and a writer at the same time. If only I could turn one off and keep the other.

In the end, the thing I’ve learned the most is to read with intent. Because honestly, when one intends to learn from what one is doing, one will learn, no matter what you read. I challenge you, go out and annotate something! If you’re feeling exceptionally frisky, try annotating My Immortal. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

 

IWSG – 02/01/17 – Jumping the Gun

  • Posted on February 1, 2017 at 10:45 am
It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for Insecure Writer’s Support group! Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, IWSG is a monthly bloghop where writers can share their fears, doubts, and insecurities. The support from this group has been invaluable to my growth as a writer, and I don’t doubt it will be for you too!
You’re welcome to join. All you have to do is click here to sign up, or click the nice little picture below too!
There’s something to be said about watching a live write-in on youtube, only to be introduced to a whole new side of writing life. One you may, or may not, be ready for. Jumping the Gun is one of my favorite pastimes. I often think I’m ready far before I am even close to being so. Of course, no one can tell ME that, not and keep their head.
Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of ‘how to write’ videos on youtube. For those of you who may not know, I’m really ADHD. This means it’s incredibly difficult for me to focus on a book, which means reading is very, very hard. This means, that in order to do better in my craft, I have to rely on audiobooks, or on youtube videos. Podcasts too, although I tend not to listen to them very well.
Anywho, I got into this channel on youtube called WordNerds, where each day they put up a short video on writing, reading, publishing, or anything literary related. Most of them are YA writers, and some of them are published, so their information is incredibly accurate. I really appreciate listening to them. I was watching this live write-in when someone in the comments section mentioned #PitchWars. Not knowing what it was, I asked, and found out it’s a contest every august for those with polished manuscripts.
Then I proceeded to ask a bit about beta readers, which gave me some good information. Mostly on where to find betas (most of the people said on Twitter, or on various writing websites throughout the internet), but it was good information regardless. For more information on how exactly to utilize betas, I watched This Video by the lovely and talented author Jena Moreci, who also has some great writing tutorials.

Then the talk went back to #PitchWars, and more specifically SunVSnow, a pitch war contest whose entry date was THAT VERY NIGHT. It felt like providence! Like fate was telling me to enter this contest, that it was my one and only chance!  So I looked it up and found the website dedicated to the Sun side of the contest. Basically, if you were chosen, your manuscript would be worked with by several mentors. Then, if from there you were selected, your manuscript was read over by several Literary agents, who then picked the ones they wanted to represent!

It sounds like a writer’s dream, doesn’t it?

It certainly sounded like mine. So I forced myself to stay up way past my bedtime, and write out the pitch letter they required, to write up and edit an entirely new opening for my book. I even woke up my writing mentor to help me with it! I had my boyfriend, and my best friend and another good friend all read the letter to make sure that everything was utterly within what was required. I figured if they chose me for the first round, I could pound out the manuscript and that’d be it, right?

Well, I spent the entire day right up until the submission deadline in utter abject horror, anticipating the chance that they might flunk me out just because my manuscript wasn’t polished. Hell, it hadn’t even seen a beta reader yet! And then I saw it. Right there, on the submission page.

‘Polished Manuscripts only.’

My little heart broke. I was absolutely despondent. Okay, well not really, but I certainly wasn’t happy. I didn’t submit it. But I learned a lesson. Always read the terms and conditions first on contests like these. And hey, at least I have eight months to polish my manuscript before #PitchWars!

IWSG – 08/03/16 – The First Story

  • Posted on August 3, 2016 at 8:12 pm

We're here for you.When one thinks of the First Story they wrote, it’s usually something embarrassing, something small and childish. Not for this girl. Nope. My first story that I actually sat down with full intention to publish was an epic. A fantasy novel written in an accounting notebook. The sort with perferated columns. I felt so amazing writing that book, too.

It had started out with a dream, as all my best ideas do. This one I was a child in a jail tower, and I wanted out. That was it, that was the dream. So I set out to write the story of this girl child in a tower, and how she got out. Well, obviously, she had to be a witch. Because magic was the only way a little kid would get out of jail. But how had she gotten IN jail in the first place? It came to me, like thunder. She was being punished by the gods for being TOO AWESOME (and also evil). I.E. She’d been an amazing sorceress, fully grown and awful, and had set the world on the path of war. So the gods struck her down and made her a child again, and had the person she was born to be put into prison.

The roommate of the person she was born to was a witch herself, though, so she taught the girl everything she knew. And then, at like, twelve, she broke out of prison, disguised herself, and arrived at the palace, just in time for the three princes to need wives. She set herself up to the be the wife of the youngest prince, planning to kill off the two pairs of royals before her. Oh, and she had an amazing tiger for a pet. Yep.

This story died pretty quickly after the notebook died during one of the stints of homelessness that happened during my teenagerhood. I never even finished it, although I had plans for her to learn to be good and to fall in love. It just never got anywhere, and looking back now, it was a massive power-fantasy. But hey, aren’t the best books?

Now, the first novel I ever FINISHED writing was a LOT weirder. I was going through my weeaboo phase, and I had an inordinate love for characters who were sexually abused. I don’t know why, but I really, REALLY want to write a character that heals from that sort of trauma over the course of a few books, while also being badass and fighting monsters. Okay? Okay.

Anyway, so this particular book was a love story between two boys, and it’s a bit difficult to describe because it was massively anime-esque. I won’t go into it, because I hope to whip it into shape as a real novel someday, but… It’s going to be a long, long time from now. Suffice to say, the finished document no longer exists, destroyed along with the horrid machine it lived on. But it lives on in my mind.

The only thing I can really say about these experiences is: HAVE MULTIPLE SAVE LOCATIONS.

IWSG 07/07/16 – Effort Perserveres

  • Posted on July 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

We're here for you.  I honestly considered not doing this. I very much thought that I shouldn’t, because I’m not even sure I have the right to call myself a writer at this point. I’m finding it exceptionally hard to focus, to put in the effort. I haven’t put metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper in ages. I still write, sort of. I roleplay with a friend of mine, and the words flow easily in response to her replies. But I don’t really write my books anymore.

I consider myself ‘trying’, if only because I truly do want to write, I just… can’t seem to get around the block, the stumble, the ‘I should, but can’t’. I have time, time I spend on tumblr or youtube instead. I have energy, sometimes. Not often anymore, but sometimes. I blame my circumstances, and say to myself “You’re better than this, push through.” But… Honestly, I wonder if I am.

It’s the same with languages. I’ve always wanted to learn ASL and Japanese and Spanish. But I never seem to be able to put in the actual work. Only 180 words into this very article, and I’m having a hard time wanting to continue writing it at all, much less keep typing. My mind wanders, my eyes grow heavy, and I suddenly feel exhausted beyond measure. The same thing happens with housecleaning, with gardening, with anything I try. I feel lost and broken and lazy and spoiled. I feel selfish, because people are demanding things of me that I can’t provide. I feel, on my Bad Days, that I shouldn’t exist at all, because that would be easier than slogging through all of this.

I haven’t been to see my therapist in three weeks. I don’t have another appointment set up. I bathe maybe once every five days, when I can force myself to get up the energy to do it, because if I don’t, I just… don’t. I’m broken, in that I don’t feel that sense of accomplishment everyone gushes about. It’s not there. I finish things, I do things, I work hard, and I don’t feel that glow everyone describes. I just… feel like I haven’t done enough. It’s heartbreaking, and it makes me not want to try at all.

In the last four days, I have cleaned both the kitchen, bathroom and living rooms of this house, plus done more laundry than I’ve seen done in the entire history of my living in this house, plus at least two loads of dishes a day, plus watering the tomato and rose plants, and cleaning up my own room which was a pigsty. This is a massive amount of work. Trust me. But… I don’t feel accomplished. All I can think about is the fact that I haven’t done ENOUGH. That I keep being asked to do more, more, more, as if I’ve failed somehow.

I can’t explain it, properly. And I can’t tell you how to fix it; because I think, perhaps, there are no ways to fix it.

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