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1. Heroes

Ten reasons why your hero needs flaws.

http://writershelpingwriters.net/2014/12/10-reasons-hero-needs-flaws/

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2. Mexican Studio Anima Releases ‘Wicked Flying Monkeys’ Trailer (Exclusive)

Mexican animation firm Ánima Estudios has released a trailer for its first CGI film "Guardianes de Oz" with an original story and designs by "Book of Life" director Jorge Gutierrez.

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3. Week in Review: January 18-24

The Red Pencil. Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Shane Evans. 2014. Little, Brown. [Source: Library]
The War That Saved My Life. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. 2015. Penguin. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
Operation Bunny. Sally Gardner. Illustrated by David Roberts. 2014. Henry Holt. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
Dory Fantasmagory. Abby Hanlon. 2014. Penguin. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
Horton Hatches An Egg. Dr. Seuss. 1940/1968. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony Inspired by Historical Facts. Nikki Grimes. Illustrated by Michele Wood. 2015. [January 2015] Scholastic. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. Selina Alko. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. 2015. [January 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Windy Hill. Cornelia Meigs. 1921. 210 pages. [Source: Bought]
Trifles. A Play in One Act. Susan Glaspell. 1916. 20 pages. [Source: Read online]
Jezebel's Daughter. Wilkie Collins. 1880. 304 pages. [Source: Bought]
Remember the Lilies. (Women of Courage #3) Liz Tolsma. 2015. [February] Thomas Nelson. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Love Gently Falling. Melody Carlson. 2015. Center Street. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Living As A Christian: Teachings from First Peter. A.W. Tozer. 2010. Regal. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

This week's recommendation(s): It *might* be easier to list what books I'm not particularly recommending. But. That wouldn't be fair. So I'll try to pick and choose my absolute favorites even though I feel like recommending almost all of them!

I'm recommending Dory Fantasmagory because it's hilarious. Dory is priceless. She is. So very, very imaginative. From start to finish, this one just ENTERTAINS. All the little details combine to create this wonderful picture of a 6 year old girl. Operation Bunny is also hilarious.

Red Pencil is easy to recommend because of the richness of the narrative. This is a verse novel. I don't typically "like" verse  novels. But this one worked for me. The narrator is a young girl who wants more than anything to learn how to read and write.

The War That Saved My Life. I'm recommending this one not because I think it is the most flawless children's book I've ever read, but, because I love books set during World War II. I know I'm not alone in that. (I think you either really, really do--or you don't at all.) This one reminded me of Goodnight Mr. Tom.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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4.

 Eureka Springs, AR

Some good advice here.
To write honestly and compassionately about members of your family, you must first reflect on...
writersdigest.com

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5. Mengenal Kawin Culik, Budaya Asli Lombok

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Lombok memiliki kultur budaya yang tidak jauh berbeda dengan budaya yang kita temui di Bali. Sejarah telah menunjukkan bahwa Lombok dan Bali memiliki beberapa kesamaan dan kemiripan.
Salah satu budaya unik yang dimiliki oleh masyarakat Lombok adalah kawin culik. Kawin culik atau biasa dikenal dengan kawin curi yaitu pernikahan yang akan dilangsungkan dengan cara mencuri mempelai wanita terlebih dahulu.

mengenal-kawin-culik-budaya-asli-lombok

Budaya ini sudah mengakar dan masih berlangsung hingga saat ini. Keunikan budaya ini sudah banyak di bukukan dan cukup terkenal.
Adat kawin culik
Tidak hanya itu, jika seseorang yang ingin menikah, namun tidak menculik calon mempelainya maka hal tersebut dianggap tabu dan bahkan tidak diterima oleh beberapa masyarakat Lombok. Para orang tua gadis yang sudah siap menikah biasanya lebih suka apabila anak gadis mereka diculik daripada diminta dengan cara baik-baik seperti proses melamar yang sering kita temukan di beberapa pulau lain di Indonesia.
Upacara adat, sanksi adat, dan berbagai peraturan-peraturan yang tertulis dan tidak tertulis harus ditaati oleh Penculik ataupun yang akan diculik. Setiap perbuatan mengandung juga beberapa konsekuensi sehingga hal tersebut bisa menjadi sebuah tolak ukur keunikan sebuah budaya.
Keberanian atau kejantanan adalah faktor yang paling dibutuhkan untuk menculik atau mencuri seorang gadis yang siap diajak menikah. Dengan menculik, maka calon mempelai laki-laki dianggap sudah siap dan cukup jantan untuk menikah. Itulah sebabnya mengapa orang tua sang gadis lebih suka apabila anaknya diculik sebelum melakukan prosesi pernikahan.
Beberapa konsekuensi yang akan diterima oleh si penculik apabila mereka gagal diantaranya adalah sanksi adat yang berupa denda dan beberapa sanksi lainnya. Tidak hanya itu, proses menculik pun tidak sederhana melainkan memiliki beberapa aturan.
Proses penculikan
Setelah sang gadis dicuri atau diculik, biasanya sang gadis akan dititipkan terlebih dahulu di keluarga terdekat mempelai pria selama satu malam lamanya. Setelah itu, keesokan harinya barulah keluarga sang mempelai pria menghubungi keluarga si gadis untuk mengabarkan bahwa anak gadis mereka telah diculik.
barulah kemudian kedua belah pihak membicarakan berbagai hal seperti upacara pernikahan, seserahan, dan beberapa hal penting yang berkaitan dengan upacara adat nantinya.

Peraturan kawin culik
Dalam penculikan ini, tidak boleh ada unsur paksaan dari sang mempelai pria kepada gadis. Apabila terjadi paksaan atau ancaman maka hal tersebut bisa menimbulkan beberapa masalah dan menyebabkan jatuhnya sanksi.
Oleh sebab itu, bisa dikatakan bahwa kawin culik adalah adat istiadat yang dilakukan oleh calon mempelai pria dan seorang gadis yang berdasarkan rasa suka sama suka.
Proses penculikan sendiri tidak selalu berjalan mulus dan berhasil. Adakalanya penculikan tersebut gagal karena ketahuan atau gagal karena di dahului oleh pesaing. Kegagalan-kegagalan tersebut harus ditanggung oleh si penculik dengan menerima sanksi adat dari ketua adat kampung asal si gadis.

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6. National Readathon Day

I've participated in many readathons since I've started this blog, but jumping in today was a last minute decision. Penguin Random House has started this movement of National Readathon Day and they're encouraging readers all over the world to make time to stop and read for 4 hours today. 12pm-4pm in your own time zone. 


My pile:





Together, we can raise money for the National Book Foundation and remind ourselves that we can make #timetoread. Donate here

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7. Saturday's Best Movie Adaptations- The Help


"Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken."

Review from Amazon.com 

I loved this book, and have written a short story of my own about a similar experience. One of the most important person in my life was an uneducated black woman named Edna. Edna helped shape me into to person I am today. God bless the unknown heroes who have a profound influence on our character.

The Help was written by  Kathryn Stockett. It is her first novel. To learn more about her visit Amazon.com. 

Thank you for stopping by A Nice Place In The Sun.

Have a happy Saturday. :)











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8. The Beat Podcasts: More To Come – Miss Lasko-Gross interview

logo pod more to come 1400 300x300 The Beat Podcasts: More To Come   Miss Lasko Gross interviewBrought to you by Publishers Weekly, it’s More To Come, the weekly podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

 In this week’s podcast Calvin Reid interviews acclaimed comic creator Miss Lasko-Gross about her background in comics, her new graphic novel ‘Henni’ – a story about religious extremism, feminism and funny animals, the growth of a graphic novel and more on PW Comics World’s More To Come.

Download this episode direct here, listen to it in streaming here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the Publishers Weekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

1 Comments on The Beat Podcasts: More To Come – Miss Lasko-Gross interview, last added: 1/24/2015
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9. First Sled

When snowflakes fall, the sleds come out
As children run and jump and shout

With boots and scarves and runny noses
(Also mittens, one supposes)

Frolicking in fresh white snow,
Their rosy cheeks and smiles a’glow.

Can anything make winter’s case
Like joy on any toddler’s face

As, in his new boots, he’s astride
His shiny sled for that first ride?

It’s messy, yes, and cold and wet
But no one watching, I would bet,

Would trade that winter glee he’s got
To live where weather’s always hot.

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10. The Case for Loving (2015)

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage. Selina Alko. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. 2015. [January 2015] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: First comes love. Then comes marriage. Donald, Peggy, and Sidney had two parents who loved them, and who loved each other. In fact, from almost the moment Richard Loving met Mildred Jeter they wanted to get married and have a family. But for them, it wasn't that simple, and here's why: Richard was white: a fair-skinned boy who got quickly sunburned in July. Mildred was what they called "colored" in those days: her skin a creamy caramel. In 1958, they lived in the small town of Central Point, Virginia, where people every shade from the color of chamomile tea to summer midnight made their homes.

A nonfiction picture book about the legal case Loving vs. Virginia which went to the Supreme Court. The book tells the story of how interracial marriage used to be illegal in Virginia and other states. (I'm not sure if the 16 states included Virginia or if there were 16 states in addition to Virginia where interracial marriage was illegal.) Richard Loving wanted to marry the love of his life, Mildred, but was unable to do so in their hometown, in their state. So the couple married in Washington D.C. Unfortunately, as they discovered, the two could not live together as husband and wife in Virginia. They had no choice but to move. Almost a decade later, the two decided something needed to be done, that they needed to be a part of the fight, the change. Interracial marriage should NOT be illegal. The book follows the family's journey during this troubling time.

It is a compelling read. It was informative but still at its heart a story not a lesson. This one will be for older readers (as opposed to other picture books with the usual preschool audience). Definitely recommended.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Giveaway winner!

And the winner of children's author, Michelle Hirstius's giveaway is...drum roll...Kelly Hashway! Look for an email from Michelle on how she can get you your book.

As most of you know, I usually post on Thursdays. However, my family has just gotten some devastating news about my father's health and I need to be there to support them as we struggle through this difficult time. Right now I have no idea how long I'll be gone from updating my blog or what's going to happen so unfortunately I have to put my blogging on hold for now. I'm sorry to do this but my family is everything to me and my focus has to be with them right now.

Please check back from time to time and don't give up on me. I'll be back, it just might be awhile.

I appreciate everyone's patience and hope that you all have a better 2015 than I'm having!

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12. …more character concept work…I like posting the...









…more character concept work…I like posting the rough sketchbook stuff too.









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13. Submarine Blog

http://submarinestories.blogspot.com  Author Mary Nida Smith's blog.

Mary Is the author of Submarine Stories of World War II that been acquired by Skyhorse Publishing Inc., and she is writing another book for them, War Beneath the Waves. Her agent is Jeanie Loiacono of Loiacono Literary Agency, LLC.

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14. Character concepts…H.P. Lovecraft’s Chthulu beast...















Character concepts…H.P. Lovecraft’s Chthulu beast makes an appearance in an animated commercial for fruit/veg juices. I know, bizarre, but the good kind of bizarre, right? Posting the initial sketches for process-fun.















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15. Finish your novel

Have you got a NaNoWriMo project mostly done and need a kick in the pants to complete it? Me, too. Brian A. Klems from the Writer’s Digest blog reposted an article that addresses that. Called “5 Things to Stop Doing (If You Really want to Finish Your Novel),” it hits on some of the things distressing me that may be affecting you.

The first is to quit with the excuses. Too busy, kids too demanding, the house needs cleaning, the muse is away, need to research more, Facebook is too accessible, don’t have ideas, too tired, my writing sucks, all the good stories have already been written, too stressed, not much money in it, I’ll write later, too distracted, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Sure, life gets busy, at times more so than at others. But as Klems says, writing goals “don’t die on their own. We suffocate them.”

Stop trying. Just write. Sometimes we try too hard. The best thing to do is back off and don’t think about it so much.

Shut out the internal editor. Man, that thing can be demanding. I seem more able to keep him quiet during NaNoWriMo. For the other eleven months of the year, I’m stymied by the inner critic. Especially for a first draft, just slap it down and know that the self-editor, like a player on the sidelines saying, “Put me in, coach,” will be back in the game. 

Klems’ next tip is don’t overdose on caffeine. Maybe not a problem in Utah, so we’ll leave it at that. 

Lastly, stop thinking writing should be easier. It is what it is - sometimes a breeze, sometimes a gale. If you expect it to be work, then you’ll be delighted when it is not. 

So, go out and finish that novel.


(This article also posted at http://writetimeluck.blogspot.com)

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16. My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs

My Librarian is a Camel: how books are brought to children around the world By Margriet Ruurs Boyds Mills Press. 2015 ISBN: 9781590780930 Grades K-12 I went into my local public library and borrowed a copy of this book. In My Librarian is a Camel, author Margriet Ruurs contacted librarians around the world and asked them to share their stories about their efforts to connect books with

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17. Seuss on Saturday #4

Horton Hatches An Egg. Dr. Seuss. 1940/1968. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
Sighed Mayzie, a lazy bird hatching an egg:
"I'm tired and I'm bored
And I've kinks in my leg
From sitting, just sitting here day after day.
It's work! How I hate it!
I'd much rather play!
I'd take a vacation, fly off for a rest
If I could find someone to stay on my nest!
If I could find someone, I'd fly away--free..."
Plot/Premise: Mayzie does not want to hatch her own egg. So Horton, the elephant, steps in and does the job for her. It isn't that he loves the work either. But..."an elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!" He said that he'd take care of the egg, and he will. Because he always means what he says and says what he means. He's faithful through and through. What will happen when the egg hatches? Will Horton's steadfastness be rewarded?

My thoughts: I love this one. I do. I have loved this one since childhood. I'm not sure I could choose which Horton book I like best: Horton Hatches an Egg or Horton Hears a Who. Both illustrate great lessons. I don't mind the lessons so much in either one of these!

His previous book, The King's Stilts, was about balancing work and play. And again, we see those themes at work in Horton Hatches An Egg. Mayzie is an incredibly selfish and lazy bird. She tricks the good-hearted Horton into sitting on her nest and hatching her egg. She lies to him as well, promising that she'll only be gone for a short amount of time, she has every intention of coming back soon. Horton is a great contrast. He endures much, suffers much. But he's calm and steadfast. He's diligent and faithful--disciplined.

I love the surprise ending. Do you?

Have you read Horton Hatches An Egg? Did you like it? love it? hate it? Do you prefer it to Horton Hears A Who? Or do you--like me--love both books almost equally? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

If you'd like to join me in reading or rereading Dr. Seuss' picture books (chronologically) I'd love to have you join me! The next book I'll be reviewing is McElligot's Pool. 


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. more characters…there’s something surly about the...













more characters…there’s something surly about the original barmaid…we changed her for more universal appeal (uh, well, ‘client appeal’ which really matters quite a bit) but I’m still posting my favorite.













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19. Mikhail Ryasnyansky (1926-2003)



Mikhail Ryasnyansky (1926-2003) was a painter from Ukraine. He fought in World War II but was discharged in connection with serious injuries and a concussion.

Ryasnyansky's first name is written either Mihail, Mikhail or Michael. 

He studied under Tetyana Yablonska. Later he taught at the Kiev Art Institute. 

His portraits have simple backgrounds and a controlled focus on the face and hands, with other areas handled more softly and broadly. 

His drawings are soulful, with a keen sense of tonal values.

He was an avid outdoor painter, and his on-the-spot landscapes are painted with bold colors and thick paint. 

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20. Giveaway: Special ARC of RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she

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21. Not A Very Productive Day

With all things getting in the way I only managed two rough pages today.  Here you go.



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22. New! More Pirates! More Dinosaurs! KING BRONTY "On board The Scurvy Shark"

King Bronty and Prince Podoee have walked into a trap aboard the Dinosaur Pirate vessel, "The Scurvy Shark"! Enjoy this and look for more in the coming week! Just click the picture-







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23. Novel Craft: Pottery Lessons

Hi folks, I'm writing a series about how certain artistic skills enhance other artistic skills. I am an artistic and crafty person. I buzz around art. I will dip my toe into most forms of expression. There are a few that I've focused on and have found that those experiences have informed my novel craft. This week I'm going to talk about pottery lessons.


Once upon a time back in my college days, I had the time learn how to throw pots. I have found that those long ago pottery lessons have always been with me as a writer.  At first, you need much support to even begin to throw a pot.  Someone else chooses your clay. She walks you through how to prepare it. You are give many hints on how condition the clay to make it suitable for throwing. Beginning writers need this same kind of support. I needed others to help me recognize my viable ideas versus my dead-in-the water ideas. I needed advice on how to approach ideas so that I could even get on the road to producing something that would engage readers. Seek out help in the beginning. 

Throwing a pot is about finding the center of the clay, and getting all the other clay to revolve around that center. At first it feels impossible. The clay bulges in weird ways. It will even go flying off the wheel. My hands and elbows would be scraped.  I practiced again and again.  Experience is everything. Finally the day came. I slapped the clay on the wheel and pressed it with my hands, and the clay instantly centered.  I had to have confidence and a steady hand. The first important step to writing is finding that story center.  Stories revolve around their centers.  It took much practice to throw the clay of an idea onto the wheel of my imagination and then center it with the force of my will.  I always feel that sense of knowing when I center a pot or center of a story. It is unimaginably satisfying. 

One more pottery lesson, once a pot is formed and hardened, it's time to fire it. A glaze is applied to the exterior of the greenware.  This glaze will harden into shiny coating when extreme temperature is applied.  All stories must go through a refiner's fire to come to elegant completion. This is a dangerous time for a pot and a story. I have worked hard to get it to this place, but the refiner's fire can destroy my work.   Pots crack, Glazes wonk. You may end up with something very different from your initial vision. You may end up with a muddy mess that has to be thrown into the scrap pile. Stories are the same. In writing, the fire is revision. Revision may lead to a new novel or it may lead to a worthless disaster. Regardless, it is the only way to success.  You may feel fear during revision time. You are right to be afraid. You will have to apply your hottest thought force to make your finished story emerge, and there is a good chance you will fail. Writing is not for the faint of heart. 

I hope these pottery lessons help you on your journey. One more week of lessons is ahead. Drop back by for it. 

Here is the doodle.



Here is a quote for your pocket: 

Beautiful forms and compositions are not made by chance, nor can they ever, in any material, be made at small expense. A composition for cheapness and not excellence of workmanship is the most frequent and certain cause of the rapid decay and entire destruction of arts and manufactures. Josiah Wedgwood.

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24. New Book! New Samples!


When Crabs Cross the Sand written by Sharon Katz Cooper and illustrated by me is just out from Capstone/picture window books. The color looks amazing! I really like the printing and design on this one.

Glorious samples just in!
The crabs are fascinating to study. There was a great documentary on National Geographic about them.

They do a little dance in the ocean when they release their eggs that is worth watching: http://youtu.be/XFfUr9e5Gos

Crabs have tooooo many legs really; or so I though as I was painting...

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25. Words Fail Me

I groan when they show writers in movies or TV shows worrying about word choice, as if all writing is poring through a thesaurus trying to find just the right word. That almost never comes up for me. I worry a lot more about characters and story than whether I describe a thing as “shiny” or “glossy,” and find these depictions irritating.

But that’s where I’m at right now. Two sisters in my story-in-progress are arguing about something (actually multiple things at once, like arguments often go) and one [verbs] at her sister and [verbs] out of the room. The girl groans and stomps, or she growls and storms, or she exhales in frustration and clomps… but none of these sentences capture her vocalization the way I hear in my head, or the way a small body exits a room in anger. (I cringe at the word “flounce,” though it may be technically accurate, it seems to be in the realm of “spunky” and “sassy” for words that delegitimize the way girls act and feel).

Allegedly any language has the ability to express any idea, despite Sapir, Whorf, and Orwell’s claims to the contrary, but I’m not convinced. The word “march” makes me visualize the rigid gait of a soldier; words like “stomp” and “clomp” suggest a heavy-footed oaf, and “storm” seems fast-moving, not a furious exit with time for smoldering sideways glances.

As for the first verb, I don’t want her to come across as a pig, or a dog, or a dragon, with the huffing and snorting and growling.

If I don’t get a grip on this sentence soon I will expel my breath in an annoyed manner and leave the manuscript in a brusque manner.

 

 


Filed under: Miscellaneous Tagged: alex irvine, words, Writing

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