Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's Up Wednesday (and Ready Set WRITE! update #4) with GIVEAWAY!

Before I get too into my WUW post, the ladies of RSW would like to celebrate a month of writing by hosting a mid-way giveaway! *throws confetti* And we're giving away a writerly care package filled with a craft book, tea, a mug, a journal and other awesomely wonderful goodies! If you've been participating in RSW, enter on the rafflecopter post below by Tuesday July 23 at 11:59 PM. We'll announce the winner on our WUW posts Wednesday July 24!

*The giveaway is open internationally and is only open to those who have participated in Ready. Set. WRITE!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now for

 
What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk are the hosts, and we'd love for you to join in the fun! Just hit up their blogs and sign up on the linky. J
What I'm Reading: This week I read THE AMERICAN HEIRESS (Daisy Goodwin), this month's book club read. It's an adult historical fiction and the first 150 some pages were slow, but once it picked up, it was a pretty enjoyable and fast read.
While I was reading the book club book, I also read this

 

Earlier this year, I heard so much buzz about its awesomeness so when I saw it at the used book store, I had to snatch it up. It did not disappoint. More on that below. J
How about YOU? What are you reading this week?

What I'm Writing:
This week I wanted to plot out the rest of the fun and games section to the midpoint and  stick with my 5K goal. I filled several pages of my journal with notes on the rest of the section, wrote half those scenes, and finished out with a little over 6K for the week. And on Thursday, while I was waiting two and a half hours for fireworks to start, I wrote out my WiP Love List,  a list that reminds me of all the things I love and want to make sure I focus on in my story. I wrote one for my last story that you can check out here.  Anyway, I may share mine next week.  

Last week, I shared an excerpt and I want to thank you SO MUCH for all your kind words! I love my characters. So happy to see others enjoy them too! I'm not going to share a full-blown excerpt, but I will share my favorite line I wrote this past week:
 
Karma comes in a most awesome shade of purple, don't you think?

My characters are all about some karma.

This week I'm going to set the bar super high and I want to get to my midpoint by next Wednesday. I'm close enough I can see it, but I'm not sure how many words it will take to get there. We'll see!

How about YOU?! What are your goals for the week?!

What Inspires Me Right Now: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. The woman practically preaches crappy first drafts and character. And whenever I'm feeling like crap that I'm writing tons of crap that may or may not be worth keeping, I'm going to reread certain sections of her book. I highlighted the heck out of it so I obviously don't want to share everything (okay, I totally do), but here are a few things that stood out

On SHORT ASSIGNMENTS: writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

On SHITTY FIRST DRAFTS: just get it all down on paper, because there may be something great in those six crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown-up means…
The first draft is the down draft—you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft—you fix it up.
On PERFECTIONISM: …is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft…Perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking the inventiveness and playfulness and life force…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.
On CHARACTER: Get to know your characters as well as you can, let there be something at stake, and then let the chips fall where they may.
On PLOT: Plot grows out of character…Character should not, conversely, serve as pawns for some plot you've dreamed up…Don't worry about plot. Worry about character.
On WRITING: The act of writing turns out to be its own reward
Having written a pound of said crap lately and being that person that sets smallish goals every time I sit down to my laptop, I felt very…validated. This book could not have come into my life at a more important time. If you're a pantser, or a plotting pantser like myself—heck, if you're a writer—you need to read this book.
What Else I've Been Up To:
um… A LOT
Last Wednesday, the husband and I took the kids to see this 



this was my tweet after 

Then Thursday we road-tripped it to Charleston where we saw fireworks, toured Fort Sumter, spent way too much money at the outlets. We ate a lot of awesome food (we ate at a Diner's, Drive-ins, and Dives joint!) and just had a really good time.

From there we journeyed back to the mountains in NC and dropped my daughter off for a week at camp. She went last year, had an amazing time, and hopefully is having a blast. But I miss her. TONS.
And now we're dog-sitting two incredibly adorable and awesome dogs who will hopefully become part of the Miller family in a month. They're part Australian Shepherd, part Boxer. They each have different color eyes—one blue, one brown. I call them my Gracelings. J
Oh, and today's my blogoversary. J So hard to believe my little blog is three years old!

What's up on YOUR Wednesday?  And don't forget—if you've been participating in RSW, be sure to enter the giveaway and spread the word! 

61 comments:

  1. ooooh, I love that karma quote! Nice! And that book sounds amazing, I need to get it, for sure. I love, love, love that you're calling the dogs your Gracelings! :) Good luck getting to your halfway point!!! You can do it!

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    1. Thank you! And Anne Lamott's book IS amazing! I hope you get to read it soon!

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  2. I kicked off the year by reading BIRD BY BIRD and I loved it! I was surprised how practical it was, and I felt a whole lot better knowing even seasoned authors like Anne Lamott write first drafts that suck. Thanks for the reminder, because I need to keep that in mind right about now.

    Visiting Fort Sumter sounds awesome! My son learned about the Civil War this year (even though we're Canadian) so he'd be super jealous.

    Happy anniversary to your blog, and I hope this writing week treats you well!

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    1. I always thought my first drafts had to be somewhat polished (WHY?!?!?!) and then I heard Libba Bray discuss her crappy first drafts and then I was finally okay with writing them.

      Your son would love Fort Sumter. Last year we went to Gettysburg and did a driving tour. If I ever want to write historical fiction set in the Civil War, I've got the research covered!

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  3. Happy blogoversary!

    BIRD BY BIRD is awesome. I haven't cracked open my copy in years, but I should do that soon to see the parts I highlighted way back when - I'm curious if those are still the lines that inspire me the most.

    Ooh...a WIP Love List??? I definitely need to try that next time I'm feeling "eh" about my story.

    Good luck getting to the midpoint!

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    1. I'm sold on the idea of a WiP love list and I can't wait to type mine up (it's scrawled all over a notepad!)

      And yes - Bird by Bird is SO inspiring!

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  4. Happy blogoversary!

    I love BIRD BY BIRD, too. I usually reread it when I'm drafting--I need to read about how my shitty first draft might turn out okay some day. :)

    Looks like a fun road trip!

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    1. Thanks! And from cutting down and fixing up two very long crappy stories previously, I know it can be done. It's some heartfelt work, but DOABLE

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  5. Sounds like a fun, busy and productive week. I love Anne Lamott! I read her memoirs when I was in my late teens, and really grappling with newly discovered social and emotional concerns. She's pretty radical, but I love her, and when she talks about her son or writing, I just nod along because it's perfect. We took our son to see Despicable Me 2, and I agree, AWESOME! Minions rule all!

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    1. omg - I LOVE her stories about her son! And DM2 FTW!!! LOVE me some minions!

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  6. Okay...so many awesome things to respond to today!!
    First, I have my original first edition of BIRD BY BORD, tattered, falling apart and well loved. I read it every year around my birthday, to rejuvenate me. It's my all-time favorite book on writing. It 'gets me'. And it sounds like it gets you too. :)

    Second, I am not going to enter the giveaway because I just started last week and that's not fair to everyone else who's been in since the beginning. But I think it's super sweet and generous y'all are doing it. <3

    CONGRATS, Alison, on a great writing week, even with the travel and busy-ness!!! *throws streamers and confetti!*

    Lastly, Charleston (actually Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island) is where I lived a good chunk of my 20s and I kept a house there (IOP) for years, until recently. But we will be moving back down next year, after my daughter graduates HS '14! At heart I am a lowcountry island girl. Once we're settled back down there, you'll have to come and stay and writing retreat with me on the beach, K? Also, where in NC are you? (I lived in Charlotte for a few years too, which I loved, and my BFF grew up n Asheville so I spent lots of time there too)
    Have a marvelous week...write bravely!
    Love,
    Lola

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    1. Oh, but I'm so glad you joined RSW!!!

      And Charleston is LOVELY - I'm kind of jealous you're moving back, but we'll have to meet up when I go next year! I live in Jacksonville so Charleston is about 4.5 hours and we drive down every year (usually twice a year) for soccer purposes. SO FUN!

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  7. we watched Despicable Me 2 at the drive-ins and I was laughing so hard, great sequel! Charleston looks lovely, I want to visit some day. I need to write out a love list for my WIP as well, I've never done one before but i think it would help to inspire me. Great job with your RSW goal!

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    1. It is a great sequel! And yes - do a love list! I've made up my mind to share!

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  8. Sounds like a great week. I had to laugh at your pound of crap. Does feel like that sometimes. But it's amazing how much better the writing looks when you go back and read it over a few weeks later. There's usually even a line or two that are half-way okay ;)
    Good luck this week!

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    1. Oh, it might be more like a ton of crap. But there are definitely diamonds in there!

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  9. I LOVE that karma line!!! And Charleston is an awesome place, I'm glad you had a fun trip!!!

    Also, it's good to know Despicable Me 2 is excellent! I'll see that this weekend :)

    Good luck with writing!!! You have a pretty awesome plan in place :)

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    1. Thanks! And prepare to laugh at DM2...A LOT! Enjoy!

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  10. Happy blog-aversary! And congrats on making so much progress with your WIP!

    I love BIRD BY BIRD--it's one of my favorite books on writing. I should give it a re-read soon since I'm tackling a first draft that is quite shitty so far. Ha.

    I'm excited for this giveaway!! :)

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    1. Yay! We're excited about it too!

      And the WiP is feeling most crappy right now, but I love my characters and where some things are heading, so it's enough.

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  11. Love that bit about karma from your WiP. Seriously... I cannot wait to read your story! And yay for rocking your word count this week. I finished with a little over 6K as well. Hopefully some of it is useable. :-)

    Happy Blogoversary, friend. I just passed the three year mark too -- hard to believe!

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    1. I'm sure a lot of it will be useable, Katy! And I hope you love my story as much as I do. :)

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  12. Happy blogoversary Alison! :) I love the idea of a WIP Love List for when the process gets discouraging. I might have to write my own now!

    And the advice from Bird by Bird is great, especially the bit about perfectionism. I'm SO nitpicky, and I'm trying to get through this draft without going back and editing much. Just gotta get it all out there!

    Good luck with your goal for the week. We're all rooting for you to hit the midpoint of your story! :)

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    1. A WiP love list can be so inspiring - I printed mine out for my last story and looked at it all the time.

      And yes - perfectionism is an ugly beast. I know that one all too well.

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  13. Oh I loved Despicable Me 2. Agnes is my favorite character. I'll have to find Bird by Bird it looks great. How Anne Lamott talks about first drafts reminds me of what Ernest Hemingway once said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” Ha!
    Love that Karma line. It's true! Good luck getting to the midpoint.
    Have a great weekend!

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  14. Congratulations on 3 years - man, it flies by quick, doesn't it??? Here's to soooooo many more, A.

    And BIRD BY BIRD - I haven't read this one yet, but I've heard constant praise and I know I need to pick it up. Like yesterday. All of the snippets you shared are so inspiring, coming from someone who writes her fair share of crap on a plate. I think this is a definite read.

    Love the idea of sharing your WiP Love List next week - hmmmm, think I might join you on that and share mine too!

    And oh how I'd love a minion or two!!!! I haven't seen the second movie yet, but it's definitely on the list to see. I love everything about that movie series...my ring tone is even, "IT'S SOOOOOO FLUFFFFFFFFFFYYYYYY!".

    Wishing you the best of luck with your adoption of your very own Gracelings. I think that's awesome and I can't wait to see pictures. :) Good luck with all of your writing goals this week, as well - I love the one-liner you shared and I CAN'T wait to read your MS!!!! Me thinks you need to hurry it up. :)

    Have a great rest of your week, Alison!

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    1. oh my - I've had that ring tone for at least two years now!

      And I'm excited to finish so you can read the ms! I'm super excited to read yours!

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  15. I absolutely LOVE your What Inspires Me Now section on first drafts. I must remind myself of some of these sage pearls of wisdom when I am mired in "first draft crap town" (real place)

    And your road trip sounds like a blast!

    And last but not least, Congrats on 3 Years! :)

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    1. Yes - I've officially taken up residence in first draft crap town. :) But it's okay. I just have to keep telling myself this. :)

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  16. Oooooh I loooooooove Charleston! The historic district is so beautiful! Eeeep now I want to go back.

    Purple is a great shade for karma ;) Awesome line!

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    1. Charleston is awesome - so much to do! We go every year (usually twice) and I love it!

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  17. Happy Blogversary! Congratulations on all those words written - fantastic! I hope this week goes as week for you!

    I loved the quotes you picked out of Bird by Bird, it's such a great book I think I need to re- read it soon!

    Sounds like you had a great time on the 4th July.

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    1. I have a feeling I'll be keeping Bird by Bird very close as I write first drafts. And thank you!

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  18. Wow, so much good stuff! Congrats on the blogoversary! And the Graceling dogs souns awesome--where'd they come from?

    Can't wait to read more of your writing--I thought of your snippets while I was reading My Life After Now because they're both awesome depictions of HS theater!

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    1. The Gracelings were originally abandoned and their current owner, a friend of ours, needs to find a good home. Hopefully we'll be able to be that good home!

      And thank you for all the story love! I may be hitting you up for a beta read in the future!

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    2. Aww, that's so awesome of you guys to take those dogs! And yes, I would love to beta for you when the time comes :)

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  19. Happy Blogiversary, Alison! :)

    It seems you took the same attitude toward THE AMERICAN HEIRESS as I did toward THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER: give it a chance despite a rocky start. Some people won't put up with a novel if they don't get into it within the first few chapters. I take the attitude that I want a book to be good, and I want to give a novel every opportunity to be great, even down to the last page! This is why I'll read a novel to the end even if it's slow going, or there are things about the writing that annoy me. I've given out very few 2-star reviews on Goodreads, largely because even books I didn't enjoy had something about them that made it worth reading.

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    1. I agree - there's always something about every book that teaches me something. And I usually try to give a book a chance too. There are very few books I've given up on.

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  20. I'd love to visit South Carolina for some historical research, since one of my long-shelved characters I'm planning to resurrect 20+ years later is from 18th century South Carolina. My parents went on a trip there recently and liked it so much they're seriously planning to move there in the near future.

    That's some great advice from Anne Lamott. It's important to just get the first draft out, and then worry about trimming the fat, fleshing things out, and conducting some extra research for certain aspects or scenes where needed.

    I hope you meet your goal by next week. I'm this close to meeting the goal I set for RSW, which means I'm making excellent time on this WIP and perhaps finishing it all by the end of the year.

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    1. Oh, good luck on finishing the WiP! And that is so cool your parents are moving to Charleston - excellent excuse to visit!

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  21. Sounds like you had an awesome week! I've been wanting to see Despicable Me 2, and am completely jealous. I'm also super excited for you over your 6k. I really like the love list idea and may have to give it a shot. I've been meaning to finish Bird By Bird, but haven't had a chance. Still, you shared some of my favorite lines so far :) Have a great week! Good luck getting to your mid point!

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    1. I loved all of Bird by Bird, but the first half was definitely the most inspiring. And very hilarious.

      And I hope you get to see DM2 soon! SO GOOD!

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  22. Happy Blogiversary! I just got my shiny new copy of Bird by Bird in the mail. I can't wait to dive in.

    I'm so excited about DM2. Now more than ever. Good luck on your goals this week. It sounds like you are making wonderful progress!

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    1. Thanks! And I hope you love Bird by Bird as much as I did!

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  23. I absolutely loved BIRD BY BIRD. You're right; it really validates authors, and makes us feel like we might actually be doing this "the right way" after all, because hey, crappiness is just part of the process.

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    1. I keep trying to remind myself of that. :) Off to write some crap, er...words now!

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  24. AH! My friend gifted me BIRD BY BIRD ages ago, and I still haven't read it despite all the good things I've heard. Bad on me. I must get to it because it sounds fantastic! I can see why you were so inspired!

    Can't wait to see your love list; those are so handy (and fun)!

    Happy blogoversary and hopefully dog adoption! Those pups just sound adorable. I love Australian shepherds and boxers (I used to have a boxer - sweet boy)!

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    1. I hope you break out your copy of Bird by Bird soon! And the puppies are wonderful! I hope they become a part of our family soon!

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  25. Holy cow, you've had a busy week! 6K! Two books! Movies and day trips! AWESOME. I wanted to read The American Heiress too, but I do worry how books for adults take me sooo long to get into these days. The same is happening to me with the adults book I'm reading. I LIKE it but it's kind of missing the urgency of YA books to me.

    Best of luck for another fantastic week!!

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    1. It does seem to take a while to get into some adult books - WHY IS THAT?!?!?!

      Yes - a productive week - but we were traveling a bit - easy to read that way. :)

      Have a great week!

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  26. I'm intrigued by the idea of a WiP Love List and look forward to checking out the one you wrote for the previous story. I own Bird By Bird, too and think you captured the highlights really well.

    I felt the same way about Despicable Me 2! My kiddos enjoyed it, too. :-)

    Happy Blogoversary!!!

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    1. Thank you! And I look forward to reading your love list! Let me know if you post one!

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  27. Happy Blogoversary! I have heard many wonderful things about that Anne Lamott book and your review has just pushed it over the edge. I think that'll be next up on my TBR. I think. Y'know how it is... I may get distracted by some other shiny book. :) Love your karma line, too. Have a great week!

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    1. I always managed to get distracted by shiny new books, but I am SO GLAD I read this one. :) Hope you get to read it soon!

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  28. That's so crazy you were in Charleston! But you got there the day I left--hah! What restaurant did you eat at? There are so many restaurants in Charleston that have been featured on the Food Network; it's crazy.
    Bird by Bird is awesome! All your quotes makes me want to read it again soon. (I originally read it 6 years ago.) It's my favorite craft book.

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    1. We ate at The Tattooed Moose and it was awesome!

      And yes - Bird by Bird is wonderful. It is definitely one of my favorites.

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  29. Happy Blogoversary :-))) I´m so happy you decided to be on the blogosphere at a point in time three years ago and I got to "meet" you that way!!!

    I need to read Bird by Bird and I need to see Despicable me 2 :-) Glad you had such a great week and cheering you on for this week <3

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    1. I am pretty certain you would love Bird by Bird! And thank you, Elodie! I'm so glad we met in the Blogosphere too!

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  30. Congrats on reaching your goal, Allison. :)
    "Karma comes in a most awesome shade of purple, don't you think?" LOVE THIS!! :)
    Love List? Never heard of it before, but now I'm eager to make one for my current WIP. At a point in writing, I need encouragement to remind me why they love the story, especially the dreaded middle. :)

    I'm taking my daughter to watch Despicable Me 2 today afternoon. I look forward to that :D
    Good luck with this week's goals, Alison. Happy Blogoversary.

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    1. Love lists are great reminders, ESPECIALLY when you hit the rough parts! Hope you enjoyed DM2! It was SO FLUFFY!

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