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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Hatrack Groups » WotF Critique Group -- 2014 Q01 (Page 1)

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Author Topic: WotF Critique Group -- 2014 Q01
WriterDan
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This is a critique group for writers that will be entering a story into the first quarter of 2014 in the Writers of the Future contest (31st year). Anyone is welcome to join, but please follow the directions below for doing such.

Currently, the group is empty:

If you want to join the group this quarter, please post the current members list in a reply to this post with your name added at the bottom.

Tentative deadlines for this quarter are as follows:

Sept 1st: Start writing
Oct 14th: First drafts out for crits
Nov 7th: Second drafts out for crits
Nov 30th: Mail in final drafts

[Note: The official entry deadline for this quarter is December 31st; however, this group's deadlines are set up so that all entries can be entered well before the deadline and hopefully beat the rush at the end of the quarter.]

When you send out drafts for critique, please do so in a generic format so that everyone will be able to open your file. (eg. rtf, txt, pdf. doc and docx [Microsoft Word] files are usually okay too, but you may get asked to resend in a generic format.) Also, please try keep to proper manuscript format so that we can all learn how these things should be correctly submitted. Last, we swap stories via email with addresses listed in the forum. So, be sure to keep your email address current on your profile here at Hatrack. The entire group of entrants this quarter will be split into smaller subgroups when it comes to critting. The subgroups should be in the realm of 4-7 people. So don't get too worried if the size of the whole group gets pretty big.

Also, a word about story limits. The officially published limitation for a Writers of the Future short-story submission is 17,000 words. There is, however, also a page-space limit that comes into play because of hard-copy publication issues. Thus there is an unpublished and fairly-hard limit of 68 pages of properly-formatted manuscript (check out the Vonda McIntyre link below). So when you're writing your entry, be sure to keep both of these story limits in mind.

Finally (and I know that for some of you this will go without saying), if you sign up to swap stories and/or give critiques please give a full critique of the full story. Don't bail on a story just because it "isn't for you". If there is too much violence/profanity/sex in a story, you have the right to stop reading, make a comment saying so, and return the story to the author unfinished (this is what the Wotf judges will do, after all. Well, minus the comment.). Otherwise, please be respectful of the unspoken agreement that we each make to give a full, valid critique to every member of the group that submits a story. Also, try not to do too much re-writing in your crits. It gets tedious sometimes if there are more than just a few examples, and we're all pretty smart here. [Wink] Thanks.

Sign up now, and let's get busy writing!

Helpful links:

WotF Submission Guidelines
WotF Blog
Kathy Wentworth's comments about judging
Short story advice from David Wolverton
Axeminister's WotF critique helps
Manuscript Preparation by Vonda N. McIntyre

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Dirk Hairychest
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I am so in! The group really upped my game last quarter, storywise. How could I do anything but sign up?

WriterDan
Dirk Hairychest

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LDWriter2
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WriterDan
Dirk Hairychest
LDWriter2

I think I will have more time so maybe I can rewrite the story I wanted to redo for Q4. If not I have two or three others I can use.

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mbwood
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WriterDan
Dirk Hairychest
LDWriter2
mbwood

I've started on my story for Q1, and I hope to have the first draft ready and out by October 14. Anyone else started?

mbwood

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Dirk Hairychest
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Yep! I have started and should be ready by the 14th. Looking forward to it.
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Tim
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I should have a story ready fairly soon.

WriterDan
Dirk Hairychest
LDWriter2
mbwood
Tim

I might be a little late on the 14th deadline, though.

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Utahute72
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Once more into the breach.

WriterDan
Dirk Hairychest
LDWriter2
mbwood
Tim
Utahute72

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History
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I will have a story for Q1 2014, but it is a long one. It will bump the WOTF word limit of 17K. Therefore I am hesitant to add my name to the list unless participants give their permission. I'll try to go shorter for Q2, but I cannot promise.

Respectfully,
History

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RyanB
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History,

I'm not sure how you're measuring your word count, but I thought I would pass along my research. My Q4 was just under 15K words by MS Word's count. However, once I properly formatted the manuscript according to Farland's guidelines (yielding 25 lines per page) I had 69 pages, which is 17,250 "words" using a count of 250 words per page. I cut a several lines to be on the safe side.

It's my understanding this latter count is what matters, thus the 68 page limit referenced in the OP.

I'm fairly new, having submitted just three times, but that's my understanding of how "it works."

P.S. there has been some discussion on how to interpret Farland's guidelines. I wonder if my story would have been under the limit with slightly different formatting but ... manuscript format is way more complicated than it should be.

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History
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Hmm. If MSWord undercounts by over 2K!, I'll be in trouble, which is too bad.

I may right longer stories, but all the included elements have a purpose and serve the story's design. Knowing where to cut and stitch...

...I'm a physician but no surgeon.

I've yet to master the art of excision without leaving a scar.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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RyanB
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Whether MSWord is over or under will depend on a lot of factors. I'm not sure if my story is normal, but I have heard people say that editors/magazine's word counts are "almost always" more than MSWord. So I suspect Manuscript page word counts are generally higher.

I just thought you'd be better off if you got this information now rather than later.

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WriterDan
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@RyanB: to my understanding, both word and page counts are hard limits for the contest. The more dialogue you have in a story though, the more the word count will be off. 250 words per page is pretty much solid prose with no paragraph breaks.

@History: the key to writing shorter stories is use only one character and one idea pair (external & internal). Playing with multiples in those two arenas is always what gets me in length-trouble anyhow. [Smile]

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RyanB
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The way Farland explains it here:

http://www.davidfarland.net/writing_tips/?a=230

With 6.5" inch lines (and the correct font) you have 60 characters per line divided by 6 chars per word = 10 words per line. Proper format yields 25 lines, thus 250 "words per page."

This would be equal to solid prose if your average word was around 4.8 letters.

So it depends on how bombastic you are ... sorry, how many five dollar words you use.

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History
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Dear RyanB,
I think I'll complete the story first (almost done) and worry about the need to shorten it to Mr. Farland's guidelines subsequently.

Writer Dan,
I believe you are correct, yet I write what I must write. Each story determines its own course.

I hope to finish in the next few days. I think it contains a number of elements I believe I do at least fairly well, based on feedback from past stories. I won't impose this long a tale on anyone, but if anyone wishes to swap critiques with me on a one-to-one basis outside this august Group, I invite them to email me.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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I may have to pull out. I don't mind doing the crits but I may not have anything to crit. In other words I haven't decided which story to do yet. The problem is that the last two quarters I forgot you are suppose to start writing the month before. This time around I had it in my mind to decide what to do Oct 1.

I have three maybe four choices. One is a story three fourths finished, one is completely rewriting one I wrote five years ago, one is doing an idea I have had floating around in my head for two quarters, and the last one is expanding on an idea I am planning to do. That last one was going to be a shorter story but I could easily enough add to it, which includes emotional angst they seem to like at WotF and a harder try fail cycle, plus other details David likes.

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Dirk Hairychest
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Hey Dr Bob, I would be happy to read your story no matter how long it is. Mine is going to be pretty short again maybe around 4000-5000 words so it will be a good balance.
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History
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Dirk.
I greatly appreciate your lack of numerical skills (4000-5000 words compared to 17,000 words "will be a good balance"?). [Wink]

Just coming off call and pushing through to the ending of the first draft hopefully by tomorrow. Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Dirk Hairychest
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Well I was a math major, if you can believe it, before I turned to writing. Obviously a fortuitous move for the advancement of mathematics in our nation!
But I meant balance as in average words the group has to read. With our two stories averaged out, we all have to read a word count that is, mathematically speaking, somewhat lower than yours and somewhat higher than mine. (And now you know why I didn't remain a math major! )

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History
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Hi Dirk,

On its way to you with my sincerest thanks.
Send yours along when you are ready.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Dirk Hairychest
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Hey Dr B,
I am very nearly done with my critique if your story. Even though it looks like this quarter is a wash, I will go ahead and send you my draft tomorrow!

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Utahute72
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Yea, what the heck happened this quarter.
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History
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Don't know.

I've cut my fantasy novella down to WOTF size but am thinking of submitting a shorter sf story (yes, I actually wrote one) for Q1 and defer the longer tale until Q2. My Q1 2013 Finalist story was sf, so perhaps it would be lucky.

Bob

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LDWriter2
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I just started typing out my story. I say it that way because I wrote it out on paper some weeks ago at work.

When I will get it done I have only a basic idea. I want to have time for a revision or two. And to have someone to check the grammar, commas and for typos. But it won't be in time for any groups here I'm afraid.

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LDWriter2
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I'm now up to 3,600 words but won't be done until after Dec starts.
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History
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This thread has been quiet with the deadline approaching.

I did choose a shorter story, and an SF one, to submit. I've reread and re-proofread it the last few weeks until my eyes are blurry. I just want to push "send" to be done with it (and I think I will). Ever felt that way?

On to something new.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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LDWriter2
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I finished mine...somewhat longer than expected, I'm going to try to cut it down when I revise it.

After I read the crits for my last two WotF entries and see what I can do about the lousy writing,

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mbwood
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Hello, I just sent my entry in for WotF 2014 Q1. Many thanks for the thoughtful comments by members of this group - very helpful. Now all I can do is cross my fingers and hope.

mbwood

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LDWriter2
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Finally finished mine. Spellchecked and proofreader checked.

Now all I need is someone to double check my grammar and typos etc. If any of the people here that are good at that sort of thing has the time to do a lengthy story in less than a week that is.

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wetwilly
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Ldwriter, I'll take a look.
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LDWriter2
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I sent in mine today. At least it's clean with hardly any--if any--grammar and spelling mistakes thanks to wetwilly.


I tried to work on two or three areas that Frank and Nick points out to be that were bad in my last two entries. The long intro and whiteroom syndrome. And the who cares fro the MC syndrome. There were other issues but I decided to work on those. Actually I didn't do anything on purpose on that last one but I think it's better.

How well I did on any of that we shall see. What? In two to three months? Unless they decide to hurry this quarter along like they did the last one.

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LDWriter2
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Hmmm, catching up on some of Dave's Daily Kicks...some very interesting advice(said in the accent of the short guy in the WW11 German helmet peeking around a tree)

Some questions I asked myself.
Did I do any misdirection? Hmm, a tad maybe??? I mean it might have been just a tad.
Were the characters the way he likes them? Hmmm? Maybe,

I was reminded about originality. Again Hmmm(I do seem say that a lot) Yes, no, maybe, sort of. (Yes, all of the above)

There were more but those are the ones that caught my attention for my Q1 tale.

I know shouldn't do too much over thinking but we can do some. [Wink]

With what I learned with those two crits you guys may recall, I don't feel much faith in my ability to tell how well I did on any of that. I think my writing was significantly better and I feel like it better be after all the work I put in working on improving it. But I have a poor record of thinking and feeling about the level of my writing.

As I also say a lot, though, "We shall see".

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Utahute72
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So how many made it in this quarter. I reviewed one and finally gave up and submitted an older story.
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History
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quote:
Originally posted by Utahute72:
So how many made it in this quarter. I reviewed one and finally gave up and submitted an older story.

Know how that feels. That's what happened to me Q4 2013.
But I got in with something fresh this time, and I've got something for Q2. Nothing yet for Q3 in mind yet.

Happy New Year!

Dr. Bob

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Tim
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I submitted something older as well. It'd been sitting on my "to edit" shelf for sometime, so I cleaned it up and sent it out.

We'll see how it goes, though. I don't think it aligns well with the coordinating judges tastes. But, then again, I've only read 5 or 6 stories from Volume 29 so I could be way off on that.

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LDWriter2
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So who got in? Four of us? Most of us? I suspect it's somewhere in-between. [Smile]


but how about a list?

Louis

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LDWriter2
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In case anyone was wondering like I was if anything the winners and rejections notices might go out late this time.

Dave has been busy with workshops and conventions but also has had or does have the flu for two weeks. Depending on exactly how sick he may not have done any reading during that time.

That might be good to paraphrase what one person said he may not understand where the purple elephants came from in the story.

Oh and I believe there was one other quarter where a lot of things came up yet he still managed to the stories read by his deadline. So ????

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Tim
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A few rejections shot out today or last night.

Hope no one was hit with them.

--Tim

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LDWriter2
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Well, so much for his case of the flu slowing him down. I think this was quicker than usual again.

Of course a total rejection.
I got in the first batch again---wonder if I did something wrong again-on the manuscript not writing that is.

A few quarters ago I probably forgot to number the pages, first time I was in the first batch in years--maybe ever.

I checked my files I have one .doc file with numbered pages, one without. I can't remember why I have two. One has thirty more words, which probably means it's the final copy and the other was one I sent to be edited. So which one did I sent in? It should have been the right one but no way to know for sure.

[ February 26, 2014, 08:45 PM: Message edited by: LDWriter2 ]

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LDWriter2
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One more thing, this rejection didn't hit as hard as last time even though it doesn't feel good, and even though this one is supposed to be even better writing than last time. Of course that writing was on the bad side of mediocre instead of the good side like I thought. (Shoulder shrug)

Maybe I don't feel as bad because there is a chance I broke a rule. I thought about sending it to BCS and see if I can fix what they say is bad and try again next quarter and make sure I do every rule right.

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LDWriter2
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Hmm, no one else here has received a rejection? I know there are a couple at least who sent a story in.


But that could be not unusual. It looks like only five of us over at WotF have received rejections so far. Which mean we will have to wait and watch for you guys.

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Dirk Hairychest
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Hey, I have been away for a bit. I am back and happy to report my very first rejection. Nowhere to go but up!
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RyanB
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quote:
Originally posted by Dirk Hairychest:
Hey, I have been away for a bit. I am back and happy to report my very first rejection. Nowhere to go but up!

I guess I should feel good then. I have THREE rejections, so HAH!

I haven't heard anything from Q1 yet.

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LDWriter2
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This weekend I will be sending my story to F&SF instead of BCS after the rejection from WotF, maybe I can try IGMS too.


But I need to double check the word count at both F&SF and BCS I must be hanging around with Dr Bob too much, my stories have been Looong lately. [Wink]


But as it turns out I'm out of ink so no sending those stories out this week.

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axeminister
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Dirk, no worries. I've read your stuff and it's good. Just a matter of time.

Axe

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LDWriter2
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Well, as I have said before and will probably say again, it looks like even though I am working on it and taking advice I'm going backwards--not improving.

Can't even get to the second level at F&SF any more. This one was like the eighth, maybe more, one in a row with their first level.

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mbwood
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Three weeks ago I got a message from Joni that my story was on 'hold' and she would get back to me next week. I still haven't heard anything from her even after sending gentle queries her way...

I suspect she's preoccupied with the ceremonies.

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JenniferHicks
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@mbwood: Congrats on being in the hold pile. It's not unusual for the actual wait to be much longer than what Joni says. She's a busy woman, especially this week with the workshop and ceremony.

According to what I've read on other forums, there were about 100 stories in the hold pile. DW has now finished with his judging, but Joni hasn't had the time to send out notifications. I expect we'll hear something next week, after the hubbub in L.A. is done.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by mbwood:
Three weeks ago I got a message from Joni that my story was on 'hold' and she would get back to me next week. I still haven't heard anything from her even after sending gentle queries her way...

I suspect she's preoccupied with the ceremonies.

Evidently you are not the only one with that problem. She does seem to be behind, maybe because of their Workshop for winners is going on right now. As Jennifer referenced.
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mbwood
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Jennifer: Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I have my fingers crossed.
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RyanB
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Looks like most of the results are out. (There are still a few people who say they haven't heard.)

HM for me.

How did everyone else do?

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