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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Writing Challenges » Pairs... (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Pairs...
skadder
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So this is your basic intro competition. Many of you have done this before, but I will post the rules below:

1. Write a 13 line hooky intro. Explanation here of how to ensure yours is 13 lines. If it is longer it will get cut by KDW.

2. Write to the prompt. We are flexible, but it should be there...somewhere!

3. Post your intro using the format identified in this
thread. Please don't post anything but entries on that thread.

4. All entries posted by midnight of Friday 8th April(GMT). Voting opens on Saturday 9th April.

5. If you wish your entry to anonymous (until the reveal at the end) then email me with your Hatrack name and your story FORMATTED exactly as it needs to be to posted. By that I mean if want italics then use the code, and make sure I can just cut and paste it into a post without any more fiddling...Be aware, if you send it to me and I post it and then you want to change something you won't be able to.

6. Guidance for voting: when voting is open you will be asked to vote for your top 3 stories. Please take into account smoothness of prose, desire to read more, adherence to the prompt.

You are not allowed to vote for your own.

You may post comments about the intros (encouraged) but this isn't obligatory.

If you fail to vote you will be disqualified and your votes will trickle down (if someone voted you first then your 5 points goes to whoever they voted for second).

When voting opens, vote before looking how others have voted. It is fairer and stops you from being influenced one way or the other(i.e. everyone votes for a particular story...)

Don't play if you don't plan to vote...

PROMPT:

THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED.

and/or

ICE AND FIRE

and/or

NIGHT AND DAY


(You only need use a single set of prompts. You don't get more points for using all the prompts...)

DISCUSSION/QUESTIONS ON THIS THREAD ONLY--ENTRIES ONLY ON THE OTHER THREAD

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 31, 2011).]


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alliedfive
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Never mind...

[This message has been edited by alliedfive (edited March 31, 2011).]


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Owasm
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So, let me get this straight. You use pairs? Or do you use the three pairs in the instructions above? Or do you make up a first 13 using pairs. i.e. Would Bat and Ball work as a prompt?

If you used unique pairs, perhaps you might combine the prompt with the title of the first 13.

[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited March 31, 2011).]


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skadder
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The Challenge title is 'PAIRS'. I called it this because the three prompts are opposing pairs. You can't use any old pairs, but only the ones I chose.

PROMPTS:

1. NIGHT AND DAY

2. THE HUNTER AND THE HUNTED

3. FIRE AND ICE.

You can choose any or all of the three prompts but your entry must be based on one of the pairs.

You may use any of the above three pairs anyway you like in your intro but it is a judging criteria (and designed to make it a little harder) so it should be evident.


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skadder
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I rather stupidly worked out the dates for this competition before checking with the other half of my brain that stored my holiday information. I will be in travelling to on Friday 8th and will be in France during the voting week with questionable access to the internet as I am not staying in a hotel.

In light of that I have asked Snapper to manage things in my absence and he's agreed.

He will close the competition at midnight (ish) on Friday 8th April and will issue the voting instructions.

SO SNAPPER WILL TAKE OVER ON FRIDAY. Okay?


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Hmm. I guess it's too late for that to be another April Fool's joke.
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InarticulateBabbler
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I may play. It's been a while.
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skadder
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Cool. Nice to see you again, IB.
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snapper
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@ Kathleen...


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Twiggy
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Reporting in Skadder
- I'll give this one a go.

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skadder
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Carry on, Sergeant Twiglet.
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skadder
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Some great entries so far!
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skadder
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Approximately 48 hours to go to get your entry in! Snapper will close the competition and open it to voting as well as providing some directions with regard the voting (based on the initial challenge).

Hopefully I won't have trouble voting in France, but I may email Snapper my votes prior to going, on the basis that no-one posts an entry in the final eight hours or so.

Voting will close either when all have voted or latest Sunday 17th.

Have fun.


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skadder
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Clearly I am an idiot. I said 48 hours to go when in fact it was 72 hours. Needless to say it is 24 hours (plus a few) until snapper closes the competition and opens the voting.

He will post that it is closed on the entries thread.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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Utahute, all I wanna say is : Lotus Position! + the old man who is definitely not far removed from a typical yogi! = me going o:O

lol


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Twiggy
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Ok, so I cut this fine. In my defense, I have been slaving over a query letter this week and it's the hardest work I've had to do for a few hundred words ever.

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mc1ate1mad1cow
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Oh please let's not stretch this till the 17th!! everyone, kindly make an effort to vote withing 2-3 days, at least.


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skadder
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Voting is open until the 17th, although we encourage people to vote early. Please avoid giving instructions as it can be confusing to people.
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Corin224
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DOH! Went to go do my comments and voting and realized that we hadn't closed for voting yet. I had thought voting ended midnight GMT.

Glad I didn't post it yet, but . . . wondering if I misunderstood the timeline.


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LDWriter2
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Obviously too late now but I was wondering if we could have done two of them? I didn't see anything in the rules even though I read them twice, but that doesn't mean much. I keep missing misspelled words even though there shouldn't be a lot of them but there sometimes are.

Yesterday I got an idea for a second 13 lines. But it was just as I laid down in bed so didn't have the time to type it out and post it.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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Hasn't anyone here heard of Third Person, omniscient narration?

I'm also appalled that someone found one of my sentences to be contradictory and someone else found the sentences to be odd.

Well, there's always the next time.I'll try harder then.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

Hasn't anyone here heard of Third Person, omniscient narration?

Speaking for myself, it has been a while which might be one reason it sounded odd. But at the same time even with omniscient it reads a bit- I hate to use the term- immature, like you need practice or was written for a younger audience.

As if I'm the one that should be saying that, with the way I have been writing lately-talk about needing practice.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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Well, thank you for actually clearly saying that. Otherwise, it's always been 'it was too vague', etc

I have to started to see now, though, why it didn't work in the first place.

P.S.: Some of you are very kind.

[This message has been edited by mc1ate1mad1cow (edited April 10, 2011).]


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snapper
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Now Melaine, please don't take offense in the comments posted. These exersizes are perfect to guage what works and what doesn't.
You won't find many fans of the omniscent 3rd person narrative here. Most of the How to... books discourage it. Many editors of speculative fiction publications pretty much say don't bother when submitting to them. Todays conventional standard is for tight narratives, whether they are 3rd or 1st person. They ask for character driven stories. Accomplishing that from a omniscent distant 3rd person perspective is very, very difficult.

Most of the opinions about your entry dealt with whether your piece drew them in. One reason why Hatrack has a limit of 13 lines is because 13 lines represents the first page of a manuscript (if formatted correctly). It is said most manuscripts are rejected based on the first page, so hooking an editor is top priority. That's why you see comments like I'd keep reading and I'm hooked.

So please don't take our opinions as an inditement of your writing. We're just comparing it to 20 others and judging it on whether it hooks or not.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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That was really very nice of you...but who's melaine? lol


Anyway, I was reading this blog:

http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006_12_24_misssnark_archive.html#116732392671074681


and the blogger(who is a well known lit. agent/editor-idk) clearly states 'the hook' and the 'first page' to be very different.

Now I'm confused. Is the hook some sort of a prologue/synopsis rolled into one? Or is it like how we do it here- the first actual page of a novel?
Thanks.


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Wordcaster
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quote:
Hasn't anyone here heard of Third Person, omniscient narration?

Yes of course -- anyone who has read something older than 50 years old has heard of it (whether they know it or not, but I think most people here are familiar -- it's a good group). I think the main problem is the number of entries. I am tapped out at 15 max. It becomes counterproductive pretty quickly after that.

These contests really are just for fun (unless you're Charlie Sheen). Don't weigh too heavily on specific feedback, because if someone spent 5 minutes on yours, that means they put in over 1.5 hours providing feedback.

I spent my whole morning writing session critiquing these -- and they were halfassed at best.


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Wordcaster
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quote:
Now I'm confused. Is the hook some sort of a prologue/synopsis rolled into one? Or is it like how we do it here- the first actual page of a novel?

Hooks apply to movies, short stories, novels -- really any media for telling a story. For novels, the hook can be longer than a page, but for short stories, this group tries to emphasize the first 13 lines, because it may be the only opportunity the author gets to make a favorable impression with the editor.

Think how long it took to critique just the few 13 lines in this contest. I can't imagine being a slush editor. I would tend to make up my mind pretty quick if it's gonna grab me or not.

[This message has been edited by Wordcaster (edited April 10, 2011).]


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Utahute72
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Let me take a stab at this for Mc1. You will get responses from all kinds of readers here. In my case it's more technical that literary. If you are writing for a literary audience then a highly stylized piece may be important. If you want to get to a general readership you may take a different tack. The advice offered here is free and you get what you pay for. If someone is saying they find the structure "odd", it probably means they have to work harder than they want to to get your meaning.
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mc1ate1mad1cow
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^ well, yes, I can understand how boring it is to have to critique pieces, the concepts of which, you hate or are just not to your taste.

Anyway, can you not open in an omniscient third voice-just to get the reader settled- for only a few lines and then latch onto a character after that?

Also, I know I'll probably get shot for saying this, but: Harry Potter's first chapter was in omniscient third voice. I personally feel it helps to avoid all the cliched expressions with which the protagonists start, from the very first line. But I now see that I need to open my mind a bit.

Edit: my post was meant for wordcaster.

And no, I didn't intend to offend you(utahute) or anyone. This is getting kind of ridiculous and making me look like a bitter person. I'm sorry to bring it up and in fact, thank everyone for their comments.

[This message has been edited by mc1ate1mad1cow (edited April 10, 2011).]


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Tiergan
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I hated Harry Potters first chapter, lol. And have never made it by the first chapter, hence I have never the read the series.

I fear I am an old dog, and you cant teach me new tricks.

As far as third person omni, I dont know, it has hard time drawing me in.

But yes, I heard in novels especially you can take the time for an omni start then draw in to a deeper pov.


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mc1ate1mad1cow
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Well, next time I'll write in limited third voice. I kind of feel like those out-of-touch-with reality types.GOD!
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snapper
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sorry, Ranjit. Got you confused with another new hatracker.

Don't feel you need to alter your style for us. You write the way that feels best for you. I know I've changed my approach since joining my first critique group but that doesn't mean you should.

The real point to these challenges (since we had to use the money we compiled for winning these challenges to bail a member out of jail) is to see how your style and ideas are received. "Winning" only gets you a pat on the back.

So take these challenges as little exersizes to build your muse muscles.


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snapper
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16 voted, five to go.
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Wordcaster
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Omniscient 3rd, limited 3rd, 1st person, past, present... I'm cool with anything if the voice grabs me.


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Twiggy
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Hi,
I have a question. Did everyone think of the Brooker hen in first Kill as a chicken? I used the term to mean an adult female bird.
It's good to know what doesn't come across the way you meant it to, or what doesn't travel well across the pond.

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LDWriter2
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I thought about saying readers aren't suppose to like Third Person, omniscient narration anymore, even though no one has stated how they know this, so editors don't usually go for it these days. Personally I don't care, I've enjoyed many stories with TP omniscient. But it sounds like I'm not be your average reader...I like narrative or Tell stories also.

I've always considered the hook as being the first one to three sentences. I was a little confused about the opening but from what is said here, that seems to be the first 13 lines.

Wordcaster has a point about how much time we have spent on these crits.

From what I understand from listening to pro editors, an experienced slush reader can tell just by the opening-first 13 lines-if the story is worth reading or not. After the first two to three pages for sure.

Actually Mc1 I don't think it made you look bitter, a little frustrated maybe but not bitter.

When I first started writing seriously my default POV was TP Omni, unless I tried to change it, I always write in it, probably because when I was a young whippersnapper that is what I read. My favorite writers wrote in it. . At the moment my default seems to be First Person especially with Urban Fantasy which seems to be one of two default genera at the moment.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

Hi,
I have a question. Did everyone think of the Brooker hen in first Kill as a chicken? I used the term to mean an adult female bird.
It's good to know what doesn't come across the way you meant it to, or what doesn't travel well across the pond.

I didn't think it was a chicken even though most of time we only describe chickens as hens, I know that other female birds are called hens.

I was wondering if you made it up because of the size and intelligence but not a chicken.


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Owasm
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Since the bird was written as huge and no other description was available, I thought of a huge white chicken that could really fly. That's the danger with writing amongst other speculative fiction writers. Anything can go.
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LDWriter2
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When Twiggy mentioned that someone may have thought it was a chicken the thought crossed my mind of the possibility of the MC being a tiny human or a sentient non human small animal. Kinda like the characters in that one series, Red Wall or whatever follows Red. It's been a while since I've seen one of the books.
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LDWriter2
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One more thing Snapper got confused about a name and I have that problem with most of those here. The profile doesn't have a place for real names, on purpose I assume.

Is there somewhere we could have a list of names to go with Users names?

If everyone is willing to list their names of course.


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Wordcaster
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I may be banned from this board for saying this:

Dune was a really good novel; it could have been great if it was written in limited third.

I like lots of books in omni third (i.e. the classics), but limited creates added tension because you don't know what the antagonist is thinking.

@Twiggy
I thought the Brooker hen was a chicken.


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Dark Warrior
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oops, missed this one. Next time...nice job guys
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Ethereon
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I thought it was a type of chicken too.
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Utahute72
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I thought of the giant vulture in "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad". That's a really old movie for those of you who are younger.
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aspirit
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Does anyone mind if I vote for my favorites, even though I didn't participate in the challenge?

Louis, I started compiling my own list soon after I joined these workshop forums. There are several ways to learn a Hatracker's name: in an introductory post (like mc1's/Ranjit's), from a blog or Website (like mine), from an e-mailed critique, or within discussions. However, most of us chose not to use our real names as our user names for a reason. I wouldn't feel comfortable with my name in a published list quite yet.


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snapper
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Since skadder left me in charge I say please do, aspirit. I will count them in the final totals. Thanks for showing interest.
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snapper
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Left to vote...

Josephine Kait
philocinemas
alliedfive

and

aspirit...if she chooses to that is.


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Corin224
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DAMN, but I love this.

I'd forgotten that initial sense of horror when you realize that not everybody out there loves this finely crafted piece of awesomeness that is your writing.

And then, as is my standard rule, I left it alone, steadfastly refused to 'explain' to people what they missed, then went back and looked at it a week later and said to myself:

"Aw, hell . . . . they're right."

*chuckle*

This process is so damn fun, I can't believe I keep getting frustrated and leaving. I definitely don't agree with a lot of the votes, but it's so cool to remember there's other people out there!

You guys rock!

It's been SOOOO long, but it's good to be back.

-Falken224 (posing as Corin)

P.S. Next challenge soon! I'm TOTALLY in!


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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And I love it when something like this works so well.

Thanks to all who make these things happen.


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Wordcaster
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And my mea culpa - sorry for using Rand. Sheesh. I grabbed it from Ayn Rand, but then I thought it was familiar - so I looked up GRRMartin and thought, no I guess it is Bran. Please forgive me a zillion time over.
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