Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fun Words

Welcome back to Friday Fun Words, where I, the fantastic and wonderful Yvie, make up definitions for word verification words so that we all may increase our vobabulary.

Don't you mean "vocabulary"?

Mommy, that's what I said.

You do know that you don't have much of a vocabulary though, right? It's mostly just barks and yaps and weird little burbles...

...Mommy... What have I said about you staying out of my dlog -blog- blog posts?

Seriously though, I have proof. Watch this:

video



... You win this round Mommy. But don't you forget how important I am, because it's more important than you, that's for sure.





Anyway, onto the words!

Themens - clearly, all the males

Prestso - when you reveal something magical/wonderful, but are met with less than enthusiastic responses.

Flendly - when you're on good terms with one who imparts, temporarily, their belongings upon you.

Bulate - a male, uncastrated cow, who's never on time to the parties

Solempti - when the sun runs out of juice. As slang, can be used to mean when a person has no soul, aka a monster.

Impash - what's left when you barbecue a gremlin. BTW, gremlins don't taste all that great, sort of burlap with a hint of toe.

Smell ya later, ape-friends!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Which I Am Distracted


I'm pretty close to finishing my WIP. Which is awesome. I plan on buying myself a pretty new pen for revisions once it's complete. And even though I'm close, and should be excited and stuff, the ending is just dragging a bit. I never have problems with endings. But this one? Bleh.

Well it's still got some space to shape up, we'll see how it goes.

What I really want to talk about is getting distracted. I'm easily distracted, especially from writing. I'm never going to be one of those writers who LOVES to write, who can't go a day without doing it and all that other stuff. No, I'm one of those writers who find any excuse AT ALL to avoid writing. Spider Solitaire? Just one game...or maybe just until I win a game. Check some blogs? Yeah that won't take long. Oh, I'd better write a blog entry before I get too far behind. Shoot some zombies? Hells yeah I want to shoot some zombies.


I'll shoot zombies with Nick, Ellis Coach and Rochelle any time...

That last one is particularly tricky. There have been a few times where I've turned down the zombie shooting, and then I always regret it. It's not something one can join in the middle of either, since we play online. The few times I've declined, I spend the whole time watching Brother play L4D2, not writing, and wishing I was playing too. At least if i play, well I have some fun.

So I try really hard to get my writing done before anyone else gets home from work. But some days I don't succeed. But then, of course, some days I put in 8K.

So maybe it all balances out? Yeah... let's go with that.



Anyone else find certain things distract them beyond recovery?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In Which I Embarrass Myself A Bit

So during my lunch breaks (you know, when I move from the office to go sit in the living room) I have to find something to watch on TV when I'm eating. Except there's nothing worth watching on at 12 or 1 o'clock during the weekday (and no, Wendy Williams doesn't count).

So I use our lovely DVR to tape shows for me purely to watch during my lunch breaks. Tuesdays are always the best day because Monday evenings are a big DVR night. Intervention? Awesome. Castle? Even more awesome. Because it's about a writer and the writer is Nathan Fillion! If you don't love Nathan Fillion, you are not human.




Adorable!



But lately I've been pushing Castle back a day or two. Why is that you ask? Well I've found a new lunch TV show...


Make It Or Break It




Take it all in. It's as fantastic as it looks.


I mean, what's not to like? For example - On this week's episode, Payson (the blonde in the blue leotard) had to start going to Public Highschool. Last season she broke her back and she's done with gymnastics. FOREVER!


Anyway she goes to gym class and the gym teacher recognizes her (she was headed to the Olympics until her accident). Then typical bitchy popular girl is all "hey everyone watch me do this back handspring I'm a cheerleader blah blah" and she does it and it's crappy.


SO THEN, and you won't believe this, the gym teacher makes Payson tell the popular girl what she did wrong! Awesome.


Later, the popular girl is daring Payson to show them a back handspring (which of course she can't, she's in a back brace) when Payson's gymnast friends (the ones above) show up and put popular girl in her place by doing super back handsprings! YES! Fight bullying with gymnastics!


Seriously I'm not even embarrassed by how much I love this show. It's full of so much melodrama and teen angst, it's impossible not to love it.


Let's see, how can I relate this to writing... hmmm... sleeping with best friend's boyfriend? No... Mom having an affair with gymnastics coach? Definitely not. Ah, here we go.


Nicky, cute boy National Champion is angry because one of the girls is blackmailing him for giving Payson cortisone before she hurt her back.


Anyway, he's actually a nice guy and a good gymnast and he had this to say to Kaylie, the girl National Champion who's kind of in love with her new found fame:


"Imagine if you focused as much on improving yourself as you do selling yourself". Oh ouch.


It's a good point. Yeah this blog post is a stretch in relation to writing, but the reason it is is because I'm still behind from doing all that writing on Sunday. And really, isn't that writing the whole point of being a writer? Though I LOVE this writing and all my blog friends. Which is why I'll always have something, even if it's just a chat about Make It Or Break It (and believe me, there will be more...) or some LOLCats





I gotta go - Lauren is doing a hiphop dance on the balance beam. Classic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Which My Query Is Critiqued

Ugh.

You know how when you work out for the first time in a long time, and the next day you're in a lot of pain? But you know it's good for you - it's a good pain - but that still doesn't change the fact that it hurts when you laugh?

That's how I feel.

I submitted my Query to Evil Editor for it to be critiqued (Face-Lift 723). After two weeks of anticipation (and Twin checking every day) it was finally posted. And of course it was posted when I was having a negative attitude day (don't worry, I fixed that by cramming my gullet full of macaroni and cheese and tackling the dishes)(Also by watching Intervention, because it makes me realize things could always be worse...).

I thought my query was pretty strong, and I guess looking back on many of the other Evil Editor Queries (like Face-Lift 721...) I still feel it was pretty strong.

I just need to tighten up some areas, and loosen others.
After all, I do love an excuse to edit and revise things...

Back into the breach!

Monday, January 25, 2010

In Which I Write Too Much

I think I hurt my brain.

Yesterday, Sunday, I planned on writing a lot. I had a specific plot point I wanted to get to in the WIP and I was going to write until I reached there. It was ordained.

I woke up early, I put on pants so I could go grocery shopping right after I dropped Twin off for work (her own truck is banged up and caught up in claims) and I got home before 10. Just had to shower, throw the laundry in the washer and then I was good to go. Yes I had to do dishes, but those could wait. I didn't think it would take me all that long to reach the certain point in the WIP. I had done a little outline the night before.

WRONG.

I wrote from about 11:00 to 4:30, which was when I had to stop to go fetch Twin. I logged a bit over 8,000 words which seems like a lot, but on one of my more prolific nano days I logged close to 8,500 and that didn't leave me feeling exhausted or burned out. This only equalled out to about 1600 words an hour. Good. But not great. At least, not great for me who can often do 2K in an hour if the words are flowing and I'm not distracted.

I think the reason that yesterday's expedition in writing hurt so bad (I could barely see straight when I stopped. Except for the dirty dishes. I could see those fine...) is because I had set a goal for myself and was struggling to reach it.

not my exact dirty dishes. but close...



I really, really thought I would be able to reach this plot point in a couple hours. I thought by 1, maybe 2 o'clock I would be done and could do the dishes, write some blog posts and watch some TV.

In fact, I only stopped writing for a few things:


1. when I absolutely had to go to the bathroom
2. when I realized I was starving and needed to eat my lunch

There were a few mild distractions. Brother turned on The Truman Show for about 20 minutes. But I had my headset on and turned the TV off as soon as he left. Same for when he turned on Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Neither of those should have been enough to slow me down.

When it became apparent that the writing was taking longer than I liked, and then later, when I started to think that I might not make my deadline, well I focused solely on getting through as much plot as possible.

It hurt. And I suspect some of the writing I did was forced and not very good (it's a first draft, though, so who cares).

Did I reach the point I was aiming for? Nope. Not even close. My estimate was way off (also I added a new character who just showed up. Surprised? Me too.)

So, here's how my day went - 5 hours straight of writing.
What I have to show for it:

Dirty Dishes
Dirty Laundry
A headache
0 blog posts written (1 now that this one is complete)

But at least I'm 8K farther along on the WIP. 93K is pretty awesome. I hope it'll end around 110 t0 120K so I have a lot of space to cut.

Well, at the very least I ended the night with a great Lifetime Movie: The Pregnancy Pact.


Awesome Sauce

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun Words

Here I am, Yvie, and it's Friday again, and you know what that means? That's right! Friday Fun Words! Where I make up definitions for word verification words, in order for you, my readers, to use them in everyday speech.

But, before we get to that, did you know that in some places they eat monkeys? I saw it on a movie once, they ate monkey brains.
Doesn't that make you nervous, ape-friends? That someone could sneak in your ape home, and eat your brains? And none of your monkey screeching or poop throwing would help you at all, I bet.
No? That doesn't bother you?
Well OK then. I was just checking.


It would make me nervous as hell...



On to the words!

Antioto - for those people who hate the star of that classic The Wizard Of Oz. On a side note, the initial casting of the star was a brindle french bulldog named Captain. But instead we got a yappy terrier.

Exila - when Japan's giant lizard is sent to live elsewhere

Moimmic - when you copy yourself

Goningst - when you leave better than anyone else

Ringsica - when your Dring contains poison, or spoiled milk and you still drink it.

Chend - a stopping point for chimps

Proat - a professional grain

Sistor - when your female sibling, is in fact, a robut.

I'll see you next week, ape-friends. On behalf of everyone, please remember to wash your hands after you fling your poo.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Happy Blog Award



Thanks to Karen over at I'm Always Write blog for nominating me for the Happy Blog Award.

Awesome.

So the deal is I list 10 things that make me happy and then pass it on to 10 blogs. However I think I will limit it to 5 blogs because I'm a bit of the same mindset as DL at Cruising Altitude, and ten seems like an awful lot...

Things that make me happy and why, in no particular order:

1. My dogs. Because I love them and they make me laugh


George. AKA Porge



Yvie. AKA Miss B



Tula. AKA Toots





2. My Family. Because I love them and they make me laugh





3. Naruto Shippuden. Because it's a great continuation off the first story line and it makes me want to be a ninja.



4. The weekend. Because, dur, I don't have to work.



5. Shopping. Yay! spending money makes me feel good temporarily!


those bags don't look very full...



6. Food stuff. Because it tastes good.



this is a crappy pic of some of the sushi Twin and I had this last Monday on our day off. mmmmm




6. The MN renfest. Because I get to do #5, #6, bring #1 and #2, all while dressed up.


that's exactly what it looks like. take it all in...



7. Swimming. Because I think it's fun. I wish I lived on a lake or had a pool

little did you know, this is where I actually do my swimming. jealous?



8. Reading. Because it's fun and makes me want to write better.



9. Board games. Because they're fun and I often win

to be fair, I don't know if I've actually won this game yet...



10. Badminton. Again, because it's fun.

myself, Twin and Mom can play for HOURS






And the 5 blogs I will pass this on too (feel free to participate or not)

1. Palindrome at Musings of a Palindrome

2. Teebore at Gentlemen of Leisure

3. Joan Crawford at Things I Yell At You

4. Sandi at It Started With a Ritz Cracker

5. Anne at Piedmont Writer



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Which I Question A Commission

Twin's been harping on me lately about what I should write after I finish the first draft of Foxfire (which should be soon, now. Excitement!).

A few months ago we were on a walk with the dogs and we discussed how the music I listened to when working on Foxfire was the exact same music I used to listen to when I wrote fanfiction in high school (see yesterday)



what kind of fanfiction did I write? here's a hint for you nerdy minded folks




So we started to talk about the fanfiction and how it had been so much fun and that maybe we should re-read some of it again?

Luckily for us, at the end of the fan fiction reign (about four years) we had taken 3 ring binders and saved most of the fanfiction that had been printed (later, upon further inspection, we discovered that most of the stories in the binder were mine, which I have saved on my laptop anyway. But we had a few from other friends as well).

So we re-read the stories.

All.
Of.
Them.

Oh God at first they were HORRIBLE. My writing was so bad and the Mary Sue qualities so terrible it was almost too painful to read. But we pressed on (mostly because we were both in between books at the time)

The writing got much better (though it was a guarantee that at least one character in each story would have a single tear run down their face. (*Sniff* Oh the drama!)) and the Mary Sue tendencies started to take a back seat (but they were never gone...). By the end of our reading stint, well, we were both once again in love with the fanfiction and all it's terrible glory.

Twin pointed out that there were a few stories that I had written that weren't in the books and I found them on my laptop, all unfinished, most of them around 15 pages.
There was one which took place years in the future of the characters. We both read it and both agreed that right when it started to get good, I stopped writing. Who knows why? I was probably distracted by some other story (I'm like that, easily sidetracked by something new, shiny and fresh. Which is why it's important for me that once I start a new piece, I finish it as fast as possible...)

The little half piece was fun, had good characterization (and in these stories there was an absurd amount of characters, around 16-20 depending on which friends at the time wanted to be included) and the plot seemed exciting.

It had been so long since I had looked at these stories or even thought of them that I really had no clue as to what I had planned for this one. What was going to happen? Well, don't ask me...

But Twin did. Twin wanted to know what I had had planned for it all those years ago and so I dug up my old writing journals (Puppy in the Pot I and Puppy in the Pot II (they were the same journal, but one had a blue stripe and one a gray stripe. II was missing until Twin somehow managed to find it a few weeks ago. Which was good because even though it was full of horrible crap that will forever be unusable, it's full of MY crap and it's nice to see how I've grown as a writer)).

I searched through both of them looking for any clues as to the plot for this story. I used to write detailed plot notes for all my fanfiction in those journals, but this piece was towards the end of high school, when I began to become disenfranchised with the whole fanfiction idea and therefore didn't write a lot of notes. I also frequently thought to myself that I wouldn't ever forget the ideas because I have a very good memory (which is true) but clearly 28 year old Sarah has proven 18 year old Sarah a dumbass.

So there was nothing. The story was done where I had left it over ten years earlier: at the end of an action scene, the characters just beginning to come together to discuss what it is they should do (do they give up their normal lives? or do they ignore the threat and continue forward as they are, safe and complacent? ooohh conflict!)

So Twin has requested (Nay, demanded) something she has never done before. She has ordered a commission...
Once I'm done with the first draft of Foxfire, she wants me to finish up the fanfiction piece.

I'm of two minds on the whole idea. I'll need something to write when I'm done with Foxfire. Foxfire will need to be locked away for at least a month before I take it out to look at it again with fresh eyes, but I know I won't want to start another new novel so soon. Nothing's quite ready yet and I don't want to get so excited about a new piece that I stop revising Foxfire. So a stupid little fanfiction piece may actually work well in that sense.

Also I, too, kind of want to know what happens and no one's going to tell me but me. So.

But I really have no excitement for it. And if there's no excitement built up, I don't see it going far. Even if I were to cut more than half of the characters (and I would. Immediately) there's all these children and crap which have to be included because that was the point of the story in the first place. Sigh.

Also I promised both Teebore and Twin that I would finish my previous WIP so they can see what happens. I'd like to think it shouldn't be hard, after all it's already at over 70K and I just have to write a part in the middle and then the end...but that's what I had been saying to myself for awhile before NaNo forced me to take a break from it.

For the commission, I'd almost have to start it over, which might be much easier to do than trying to pick up where I left off a decade ago. And then, if there was anything that I absolutely loved in the first version (and there were a few smile worthy moments) I could just copy and paste them into the new version.

Either way, Twin hasn't forgotten. She brings it up any time I even hint at finishing Foxfire. Sometimes she likes to throw in "you think I've forgotten, but I haven't. I want that commission". So unless I want to live with Twin shooting me disapproving (and dead, dead) eyes, I'll probably have to buck up and just do the damn commission, Mary Sue characters and all.

So anyone else out there ever have to do a commission for a slavemaster loved one? If so, how did it go?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Which I Listen To Music

I did NaNoWriMo this year. It was the first time I've ever participated (after a few years of thinking about it and just not being in the right state of mind). I "won" and it got me refocused, back on track after quite a long time of feeling dissatisfied with my prior WIP.

It had been a long time since I sat myself down and forced myself to write every day. I used to have a desktop computer that is now, no more, and though I had a laptop, I had spent all my formative years as a writer using a desktop and the laptop just wasn't calling to me. But for NaNo I had no choice. Use the laptop, or fail miserably and face the shame that all my pre-NaNo bragging would bring down upom me.




ahh shame, humanity's strongest motivator


Shame was not an option so I set up my laptop in the living room, grabbed a notebook, pen and writing CDs and got to work.

Normally I'm a hard rock girl. I love me some System of a Down, Linkin Park, Disturbed and anything else in that category. I'll occasionally listen to rock when I'm writing, but my music of choice for typing is new age. It's nice, 50% of the time there's no singing and since I generally write fantasy, it's fitting.

So I went to my favorite CD, Fairy of the Woods. It's just piano playing these great, meditative pieces. I love it - great for writing.
But after the first week of NaNo I felt it just wasn't cutting it for me or the story. It didn't make sense, I LOVE that CD. The first song, "Sometimes", is one of my favs. But I kept thinking of another CD.

So I grabbed Tone Poems and stuck it in. Tone Poems is a hammered Dulcimer CD Twin and I bought years ago. I don't remember where, (perhaps the now defunct Media Play?) and maybe Twin will, but it's a great CD. I love the hammered dulcimer. I wish I could play one.

Anyway, it had been a long time since I had used Tone Poems while writing. And as soon as I put it in I was instantly sent back to high school when I used to listen to it while i wrote fanfiction. The feeling was so strong and so associative that I told Twin about it the next day, which got us talking about the fun fanfiction times and would lead us to reread the stories (that will be another post later this week)

So I was momentarily distracted by the (memory) of the good old fanfiction days, but the CD was successful and I got back to writing for NaNo.

I remember a few months ago I read an article (or perhaps a blog post) discussing people who use soundtracks for their stories. (I'd give credit if could remember where I read it. Perhaps Murderati?)


Now, I almost always listen to music when writing. I can write and watch TV or video games at the same time, but I'll be more prolific if I turn of the TV and listen to music. I don't really hear the music, but my head takes it in subconsciously and the music drowns out other noises.

Anyway, in this article they discussed someone who made soundtracks for his projects, pieces of music that represented the feel of the story and that he would then listen to when writing.
At one point he had to go back for some edits on a piece he had put aside and when he just wasn't felling the story, he stuck in the piece's soundtrack and it immediately brought him back to the mindset he had when he had first written the novel. Therefore he was able to finish up the edits.

I think the idea of this kind of associative writing with music is genius. Besides the fanfiction CD I also have another song (Linkin Park's Papercut) that I've completely matched with a story idea in my head. I love Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and listen to it quite frequently and compulsively. When I wrote out this story in my head, I also happened to be listening to Papercut and the rest of Hybrid Theory (this was back in the day when I had a 3 hour commute a day and listened to a lot of CDs in my car and did a lot of story work through in my head at the same time)




I both LOVE and am creeped out by this video





Now, whenever I listen to that CD, and Papercut specifically, I immediately start to think, and get excited, for that specific story. So much so, that I've forbidden myself to listen to Hybrid Theory when I'm working on another project because it will force me to stop thinking about what I'm working on and direct all my creative energies to this story I haven't written yet.

I'm really looking forward to when I can start that project and stick in the Linkin Park to get me excited and ready to go.

I think, in the future, I will try to create a soundtrack for each piece that I listen to when working on it. That way I can hopefully build up some associative memories for it, so if I ever need to go back, or feel myself stalling out on it, I can just stick in the CD and get back in the mindset of the piece.

Have any of you created a specific soundtrack while writing a piece? Did it bring about any associative memories that assisted in your writing?

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Which I Rant A Bit, Or, The Lovely Plot Inconsistencies

First of all, you know what's awesome? Having the day off from work for MLK day. Three day weekend and four day work week can't really be beat.

So as you know I read Interworld. Which was pretty good, for a MG book.
But I was mostly done with it when I came across something that PEEVED ME OFF.
Not enough to dislike the book, though certainly this issue has made me hate other books (it must be because I love Neil so much).
What is this thing you ask?
Well I will tell you.
Inconsistencies.
I hate them.
AND because I own the book, I'm going to point them out to you.
(warning - slight spoiler alert - I will do my best to make the spoilage very limited, and nothing hugely plot related, but you have been warned)

Page 156 - In the book Joe, and the others have to memorize the coordinates to their home base. It's like a scientific formula. In the book, Joe has a slight memory lapse which is quickly rectified. On this page it is written "The formula for getting to Base Town burned clear and bright in my mind. I could get there, oh yeah."
Nothing big right?

Page 170 (yes, less than 20 pages later) - Joe thinks: "I remembered almost everything. But, rummage around in my head as much as I wanted, I couldn't find the key that would let me go back to Base Town."

W.T.F.

Did he just not say, less than 20 pages ago, that he remembered the formula but now, suddenly, he tells us he doesn't actually remember it?

And then, on top of it after a lot of action, on Page 232: he uses the formula to get them to base town.

What the hell?!

First he remembers it, then he says he actually hasn't remembered it, but then, when it's all said and done, he has remembered it and uses it.

BS. I call BS on that!


Continuing on:

Page 183: Some of the people Joe knows were captured in a trap in which he had escaped, and on this page, Joe speaks to one of the bad guys. The bad guy says "We were disappointed not to have picked you up in the snare last month, Joseph Harker."

Page 192 (I KNOW! less than 10 pages!): Joe is pondering his captured friends and thinks: "I didn't know how long it had been for them - days? weeks? months?"

Uhhhhhhh. Actually, it's only been 1 MONTH you wanker! The bad guy told you that a few seconds ago!!

I know some people can say on this last one that, well, maybe the character didn't hear the bad guy and so it's the character's fault for still not knowing how long it's been.

Well that's a big load of BS. It was careless writing that did this.

I couldn't believe that I saw such inconsistencies not once, but twice, in a book. And from Neil of all people!
Let's blame Michael Reaves for this. King of the 80's cartoon or not, I will shove him under a bus to protect Neil.

Anyway, the last time I saw 2 (yes 2!) inconsistencies in a single book I was almost apoplectic with rage.
Why is that you ask?
Well, that's due to a little phenom known as The Lovely Bones.

Now I don't own The Lovely Bones, so I can't quote exact page numbers for you, but I can very vividly remember the inconsistencies in that book. I triple checked them at the time. In Interwold, they were no big deal, just little stupid things that had no real meaning on the plot. Also it's a MG book, and kids are dumb amiright?*

But in Lovely Bones. ..

So in the book Susie is killed by her neighbor who chops her up but accidentally leaves her hat and her elbow behind, which the police find later and use to confirm that she is, indeed, dead.

Anyway, Susie wears a charm bracelet, the one THAT IS ON THE COVER OF THE BOOK, and, if I remember correctly (and I have a good memory...) Susie talks about how her favorite charm is her bicycle one (possibly because her dad gave it to her, but I could be mistaking that for another charm). Therefore, when I'm reading the book, I'm surprised when the killer takes a charm, but it's not the bicycle charm, it's the keystone charm.
(please keep in mind, I could be wrong about the specific charms; it's been awhile since I've read it. Just remember there are 2 charms, Susie's favorite, and the one the killer takes).
So because of this, I've noted, in the back of my head that the killer has taken a charm I didn't expect him to take.




Hello. I'm the charm bracelet Alice Sebold hoped you wouldn't pay too much attention to...




So the police tell her family she's been killed, and return to the family Susie's hat, which her mother had made for her and had little bells on it (also the killer had used this hat to stuff in Susie's mouth when he raped her. Not really important to my point, but you can see the hat was more than just some small, unimportant prop). I thought it was kind of weird that they returned her hat to her family, because I thought the police might need it as evidence in case they catch the bad guy. But it's like 1973 in the book so I brush it off as me watching too much CSI and Discovery Channel ID (which I watch ALL THE TIME. I should have been a suspense writer. Hell, maybe I'm the next Richard Castle and don't even know it?)

Back to the Lovely Bones. The book itself spans quite a few years and at one point, Susie's sister, who never really gives up on her, mentions how she had taken Susie's hat and hidden it in the back of her closet. I remember this specifically because I thought it was touching.

Years go by and the case gets re-opened and the Detective, who's a minor character, thinks to himself how it's lucky they still have Susie's hat in the evidence locker because he may need it again.

And right then I FREAK out because Susie's sister has the hat in the back of her closet! So I page back until I find that part, just to make sure I'm not crazy or dumb. And I'm not.

So right there, I'm irritated. This is supposed to be this fantastic book and blah blah blah and no one but me noticed this issue?

But I keep reading; I usually finish everything I start.

Which is good thing I do, because towards the end of the book Susie's killer is thinking about how he killed Susie and how he still has the charm he took from her, and it's in a shape of a bicycle.

And I SUPER FREAK out! Because I had specifically thought it was weird that he DIDN'T take the bike charm, and now suddenly he has it?

Nuh uh. No dice.

It really peeves me off in The Lovely Bones because I think the book was way too hyped for it's own good and therefore I felt a bit tricked into reading it. And now it's been made into a movie and all that, and no one but me noticed these issues. And the charm is supposed to be representative of Susie (which charm you ask? I don't even know anymore...).

I've actually gotten to the point where I wonder if I got a defective copy of the book...

If anyone has the Lovely Bones, and wants to do a little research, have at it. Or you can lend it to me and I can look.

Sigh.

So now that I'm all worked up I have to try and remember the point I was going to make (you know, besides my stone-cold dislike of The Lovely Bones).

I've heard from a few different sources that after an author becomes a big seller, someone who steadily puts out a book or two a year and has a fan base that will always buy their work, they just don't get the editing that they got in the beginning of their careers. Check out Laurel K Hamilton's latest vampire "masterpiece" if you want to know what I'm talking about. You can find some problems a few pages in. (To be fair, she's one of the sources who has said she doesn't get edited anymore. Unfortunately, she apparently needs it... That and a plot...)

But this was Alice Sebold's first book. Why didn't anyone, her agent, her copy editor, notice these problems?

I guess the point is, you can't rely on other people to make your book right. You have to make your book as best as it can possibly be. Because we can't all be Alice Sebold and write whatever we want from one scene to the next and have it fly off the shelves. We can't even be Michael Reaves, who's lucky enough to have Neil shield him (that would be awesome though, wouldn't it?).

But seriously, don't worry about Interworld. It was fun.



* Sarcasm, of course. I don't actually believe that. I think writing for kids should be held to the exact same standard as writing for adults. I think kids are actually more perceptive than adults give them credit for, and sometimes more perceptive than adults

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Fun Words

Yvie here again. Can you believe it's been a whole week? Me neither, ape-friends. Me neither.

I spent most of mine sleeping, barking, getting tummy rubs, eating, sassing my ape family and generally being worshipped, which is my duty in the household.

What's that you ask? Isn't my duty writing the Friday Fun Words blog entry? Well yes and no. It's A duty, in that it needs to get done, I guess. But I'm only doing this as long as it keeps me entertained. And as soon as I'm not, well I'm out of here faster than poop out of a goose. Which is delicious, you know. Goose poop I mean, not Gooses. Though I'm sure they're delicious too, but they're also big and can swim, which is something I cannot do.



no swimming = wearing a lifejacket




Here we go!

Hotallog - this one is obvious. A piece of wood destined for the fire pit.

Nonie - another obvious one. The description of a person who is a missing a joint in their leg.

Weeny - the state of having to pee - as in "I'm a bit weeny after that 32 oz of Slurm" and also, why aren't you sharing your Slurm with me?

Bercro - a chilly raven

Blamation - the amount of onomatopoeias allotted to each person (but not dogs. We have an unlimited amount. Crack! See what I just did there?)

Dring - a ring that is also a vessel for holding liquid sustenance. Not a lot, clearly. But enough for a little sip anyway.



Miss B, OUT!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Know What's Cooler Than 80's Cartoons? Nothing.

So I was reading Interworld, which is a MG book by Neil Gaiman (I lurve you Neil) and Michael Reaves.

And while we're on it, I read the author bios and after a bit of blah blah blah for Michael Reeves I got to this little part:

"His screenwriting credits include two animated Batman features, an HBO original movie, and a dark version of Captain Planet for the Turner Network."

I'm going to let you read that again. Don't worry, I'll wait.

I know, right? A dark version of Captain Planet? Why the heck haven't I ever heard about this?!

If anyone knows anything about this, I want you to speak up.

I checked him out on IMDB, and while Batman is cool, you know what's even cooler? All the Gargoyle episodes he wrote! (and it's like, all of them...). That's way cooler than "an HBO movie". Also an episode of Peter Pan and the Pirates? Top-notch. And let's not forget the He-Man, Jem (of which I hear they are making into a movie...), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Real Ghost Busters episodes he wrote. This man is like an ode to the 80s.

OK so on IMDB the only thing that really looks like it might be a dark version of Captain Planet is this Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Here's what it says about it:

Earth, the 22nd century. The aftermath of the Metal Wars, which led to the subjugation of humanity by intelligent machines. A small unit of human soldiers, survivors of the Metal Wars, lead an underground resistance against the activities of the evil Lord Dread and his monstrous creations, Bio-Dreads, designed to hunt down human survivors and digitise them.


sounds a bit like judgement day, but it does not look like it...



Hmm. OK. Where's the Wind, Fire, Earth and Water Powers? Oh and Heart I guess. We mustn't forget Heart... (in case you can't tell I'm rolling my eyes).

What does all of this have to do with writing? Well nothing, really. I have another post about Interworld coming up. I was just distracted by this possibility of a dark version of Captain Planet. I'll have to see if I can Netflix it. Because there's only two possibilities here:

It's terrible.
It's more awesome than we can imagine...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reading Too Fast

I got a lot of books for presents for Christmas. Which is good because that's how it should be for everyone, not just writers and readers.
Nothing is better than a stack of brand new, shiny books to read on my nightstand.

Here are the new books, however not on my nightstand


The only problem I find is that I'm a fast reader, especially when I have a pile of new books, each one as exciting to read as the next.

So then I start to panic about reading the books too fast.

If I read them too fast, a few things are bound to happen:


1. I realize the holidays are officially over and I have a few months of doldrums and cold weather to get through before the season changes and I can go outside again without the risk of death by freezing.

2. I find I don't absorb each individual book. Unless it's a spectacular stand-alone book, years later I will look back and won't remember the author or really much about the book (this negative, however, can have a positive as well - because this means if I like the book enough to keep it for rereading purposes, when I do reread it, it will surprise me all over again!)

3. I will have read all of my books and have nothing new to read.

#3 of course, is mostly ridiculous. I have many bookshelves in my house with many unread books from when I spent a few years as a bookseller. Granted, I've noticed over the last few years that the books on the shelves have transitioned from "mostly unread" to "mostly read", but there are still quite a few books I have to read. And every once in awhile I find a book on a shelf that turns into a new favorite. Like Karin Lowachee's Warchild. When I finally got around to reading that last year, I absolutely loved it and was sad to know it had been sitting on my shelves, unread, for years.

Also, I like to shop for new books, either for specifc reads I want to buy, or by just browsing. So the idea that I'll be "out" of books to read is mostly nonsense.

Anyway what I'm getting at is after the holidays, when I have a new stack of books, I try to slow down on my reading. But this also has its own flaws. I'm not a slow reader at heart (unless I'm just not enjoying the book) so going against my nature can be irritating. It also means setting a book down right when it starts to get good. Depending on the book this can lead to a general sense of anxiety.

Also, in the back of my head, I know that slowing down is the wrong thing to do because there will always be more books than I can ever possibly read, so slowing down is not the answer.

But I just can't help it, looking at all those pretty new books!
Sigh.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In Which I Dream Of Dreams

The other night I had two awesome dreams. This isn't unusual for me, I have frequent, vivid dreams and always have. They become even more frequent and vivid, and occasionally lucid the more I write. I like to think it's my muse, getting off her drunken ass to do some work for a change.

(On a complete side note, I was looking for a picture of a drunken muse on google images when I found the above picture - what's shocking about this picture is that this is Twig, a reoccurring character at our local Renfest (of which I am a season ticket holder and a wearer of wenchy fashion) - what are the chances?!)



I usually dream in full-fledged plots, but occasionally just have dreams that jump around and make no sense. I also don't have nightmares too often, and when I do they're always just dreams full of anxiety as opposed to monsters or scary things. I LIKE the monsters and scary things dreams, they're always full of action and suspense.

I also have a reoccurring character in my dreams, one that's a representative of me that can fly and do other cool stuff. She makes an appearance typically in the aforementioned plot dreams.

Anyway, as I was saying, the other night I had two great dreams. The first one had to do with a man who's son had betrayed him in some sort of mafia related way. He assassinated his son by having him shot (think Sonny Corleone from the Godfather shot...)



What I really liked about this dream was the subsequent necromancy, where some other faction raised the son from the dead. In my dream I had become the son and the necromancy involved stitching the man back together (closing up the bullet holes, so to speak) and the stitching was very painful. I could feel every little stitch. In hindsight it seemed like on of those dreams where you're half awake and your arm hurts in your dream because it's twisted under you in real life. But I couldn't figure out why all these different specific areas on my body wold be hurting while I slept (for some reason he needed stitching on the tips of his big toe - wtf?).

The second dream was much different and involved a prince meeting a foreign princess, some cute romance followed by some regicide (hmm, there was a lot of murder in my dreams that night...)

Anyway, the point I'm making with all of this is often I'll have some fantastic dream and I'll think to myself - surely this will make a GREAT story... and then I write it down and typically promptly forget about it.

In the past (high school) I used to try to write stories based off of my dreams. Of course most the stuff I wrote back then was elaborate fan-fiction - where myself and all my friends made up our own characters and stuck them into our favorite show where said characters had adventures and romances. You know, the typical Mary-Sue teen junk.

Those dream-based stories never turned out well. After years of trying I came to the conclusion that writing a story based off a dream is folly (not counting Stephanie Meyer or Aprilynne Pike (dammit)).

I think, (for me anyway) that occasionally I can base a scene in an existing story, off a dream. But a whole story? There's just not enough substance.

But! - surely if I combine TWO dreams (say, the ones I had the other night that included filicide, necromancy and regicide...) that will overcome the lack of substance and give me a base to build off of, right? Right?!

Yes! I can see it working now!
I'm off to write down my new story idea in my notebook!

Monday, January 11, 2010

That's A Bitch Move, Jo March

I was eating lunch the other day and had nothing to watch on my DVR (in case you didn't know, my job lets me work at home, which is just as awesome as you think it is and also full of more sweatpants than you'd guess). Typically I have a swath of TV shows that I tape purely for watching during my lunch break, but Castle is on hiatus as with everything else. Therefore I had to channel surf and I found Little Women. It was half an hour in but I hadn't seen it in a long time so I started watching.

Barring the fact that I forgot Christian Bale was in it




I love you even with your dickery



Along with Gabriel Burns, Susan Sarandon AND Claire Danes, I'd also forgotten how awesome it is. I taped it after my lunch break so I could finish watching it in the evening (which is why I only got 300 words written that night on my WIP. Yes, it was definitely Little Women and not Zombie shooting. Not. At. All)

On a side note Brother apparently says he's never seen Little Women before, evidenced by the fact when he came in he said "What is this crap? It looks stupid." Even though BETH HAD JUST DIED and IT WAS NOT STUPID!

On a side note off the first side note, whenever I think of Little Women I'm reminded of the Friends episode where Monica finds Stephen King's IT in her refrigerator. She discovers that Joey put it in the fridge because it had frightened him, which is apparently his usual solution for books that upset him. So Monica suggests that he reads Little Women instead. He goes through almost the whole book thinking Jo is a man and Laurie is a girl. At the end of the episode Joey is all upset that Beth died and Monica's solution is for him to put Little Women in the fridge.

Back to the first side note - I do think Brother has seen Little Women, he just probably doesn't remember.

Back to the main point of the post. I was thinking about how Jo was writing, more or less, genre fiction and Friedrich is all "oh it's good but I know you can do better" and blah blah blah and I'm all like "Maybe Jo wants to write about zombies and steampunk and maybe you should just shut your mouth Friedrich" but not really because it's Gabriel Byrne and I lurve him.


I love you D'Artagnan - I mean Gabriel.



So then Beth dies and it's sad (AND NOT STUPID) and Jo takes one night (HAH!) to write a new wonderful novel called *Gasp* Little Women (and I freak out because of the paradox of her writing the book that the movie is based on that I'm watching where she's writing a book and...well you get it. Mind Freak!)

And even with all of that other crap going through my head, the one thing I really come away thinking is that Jo is a piece of crap because apparently she can write both fiction AND non fiction.

I took a creative non fiction class in college. I was a senior and the next semester I would take my senior project class which involved Fiction writing and then a semester after that (because I needed 4.5 years to get enough credits to graduate so my last semester was filled with pure fun stuff including beginning fiction writing which I had skipped over originally when I went straight to intermediate fiction writing. Talk about an easy class. Beginning Fiction I mean) I would take an MFA fiction writing class even though I wasn't working on an MFA.

I'm totally losing myself in my own train of thoughts here. Anyway I took a single creative non fiction class. And I was HORRIBLE at it. Not only was I horrible at it, I didn't find it very fun. I didn't have anything worth writing about. And I didn't even want to write about me and my past - booooring - I wanted to write about made up crap.

The weird part is, I knew HOW to write good non fiction - I could recognize it when my classmates did it, and I could appreciate a good memoir. But for the life of me I just couldn't apply that to my own writing. I think a lot of the people in the class thought I was dumbish and couldn't believe my major emphasis was in creative writing (I know this is at least partially true because one of the girls in that class would also be in my senior project class which was fiction based and she flat out told me that my fiction was world's better than my non fiction.) My non-fiction work is the only writing that I've willfully destroyed.

I wonder if other writers have this trouble, or if it's just me? I'm not great at poetry, either, but I can pull some of it off. But not Jo March, ho no. Jo can write anything and everything and get it all published while simultaneously finding herself a man. Apparently she's like the Avatar of writers.



I would give much to be an airbender



So anyway, here's what all this rambling comes to: Little Women, I love you, but Jo March can suck it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

10 Posts!

Can you believe I already have ten (eleven if you count this one) posts? I hope I can keep it up since I'd like to think blogging every day is something I can accomplish (with perhaps weekends off) but I'm just not sure. I guess I'll just keep at it and see what happens.

Also i'm excited about my followers - eleven in less than a week. Awesomeness.

One of my bestest pals in the whole world started a blog.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome started up Musings of a Palindrome where she will discuss things such as books, TV, movies and other awesome things. Check it out.

Palindrome is a member of my writing group along with Teebore over at Gentlemen of Leisure blog. We've been in our writing group (dubbed UMWADS (for United Midwestern Writing And Drinking Society)) for over 5 years now. Fun!

Also, since there have been a few questions (OK it was one question, but still...) here is a pronunciation guide to some of the things on my blog.

Falen - The first half (Fal) should rhyme with 'pal'.

Yvie - her name is pronounced like the letters EV. Though you can always just call her Miss B.

Ahiers - this is my real last name - it's pronounced 'Airs'.

And that's it for today class!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Blog Makeover (So Soon?)

As you can see the blog has gotten a bit of a makeover (a bit...)

I was never fully pleased with the first version. And then when I saw a friend's newly minted blog I was became filled with jealousy at her awesome blogger template. So I went on a quest to find a new one.

And here it is. I would say I'm 98% happy with this one (the 2% is due to a loss of a few behind the scenes stuff that made blogging for me easier, but not the end of the world.)

Let me know what you think.

I saved the first template in case of emergencies.

My Contest Entry

Natalie Whipple had a contest this week which involved writing a scene for a picture she drew. It was fun and I hope there are more contests like that in the future.


Here's the picture she drew:




I really liked my entry and I hoped I would pull in a prize, but I wasn't a judge (though I will be when I have my own contests... (insert forboding music here))

Anyway I've decided to post my contest entry because I enjoyed writing it quite a bit and I hope some of you will enjoy reading it (though a few of you have already seen it and assisted in cutting my words down from 650 to 498)

So without further ado, here it is! (hmm I should probably come up with a title for it...)



Groggy, Elisa rolled over in bed and stared through sleep-heavy eyes at the glowing clock display.

3:13 am? What the hell…? But she heard them again, the quiet, yet insistent, taps from her window which forced her out of bed.

She leaned over to peer at the glass but it was too dark to make anything out and she’d be dammed before she turned the lights on at this hour.

Elisa cursed as she opened the window, jerking it past the middle where it always stuck.

Immediately a light zoomed inside, bright and painful against her eyes.

Elisa gave a shriek and swatted at the light, sure it was a bug, but bugs don’t swat back and this one slapped her across the bridge of her nose.

Even though it was a tiny slap, it still stung painfully.

“Ow! What was that for?” Elisa asked as she rubbed her nose with her palm.

“For swatting at me,” the light answered. It had landed on her shoulder and Elisa offered it a hand to rest upon.

Now that the light had calmed and ceased slapping, Elisa could see it was a fairy, and an angry one too, judging by the red color of her skin.

Great. Just what I need.

“What do you want?” Elisa asked.

“You’re the elf that kissed Brendan, right?” the fairy asked. Her hands rested on her hips and her tiny elbows pointed sharply against her wings which gave an occasional flicker.

Of course, all this went out of Elisa’s head at the thought of Brendan and the kiss. And how he had looked down into her eyes and how he smelled of horses but tasted of the chocolate ice cream they had just shared.

It was probably Elisa’s smile that told the fairy she had found her culprit. The fairy gave a very sharp, very high pitched shriek and flew at Elisa’s face. She grabbed Elisa’s hair and tugged it severely.

“Ow! Why do you care?”

“Because I’m his ex-girlfriend that’s why!”

Elisa stared, shocked. “But you’re a fairy!”

“You’re a quick one.” The fairy tugged her hair again and Elisa winced. “I don’t want you messing around with Brendan, or else.”

Angry, Elisa swatted the fairy away from her face. “Or else what?”

“Or else you’ll get more than just hair tugs and slugs to the nose!” The fairy turned, lifted up her skirts and bared her tiny, naked ass. Elisa couldn’t help but notice how each cheek looked like a pomegranate seed.

“Oh that is it!” Elisa shrieked. And before she knew it she had slammed her hands together, the fairy between them.

Brendan’s ex-girlfriend exploded in a shower of sparkles, light and a curious smell of Fritos.

Elisa thought perhaps she should feel something, shock at least. But instead she returned to bed and burrowed under her blankets.

No one likes fairies anyway, she thought as she drifted back to sleep, sighing at the reminiscent taste of chocolate on soft lips.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Awesome Sauce

I love when worlds collide...


Friday Fun Words




Yvie here. I told Mom I expected to be part of this blog endeavor of hers, especially since she stopped updating my diary. So instead of listening to me harp on her (because even though she says Twin harps on her, the truth is, I'm the Harping Queen in this house) she just folded like her creepy opposable thumbs.





*shudder*


So I was reading computer stuff over mom's shoulder the other day (sigh. Yes I had to use a chair. I'm only like 1 foot tall) when I saw this word I had never seen before.

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" I commanded her.

"Ow. Did you have to bark right in my ear and then bite it?" she asked me.

"Yes. Yes I did Mommy. What is that word right there?" I asked. I pointed with my paw and not some creepy ape hand.

"What, that? That's just a word verification system. It's to prevent Spam."

"Why? Who would want to prevent SPAM? It's damn delicious."

"Not SPAM. Spam. It's a computer term."

"Does it come in a can?"

At this point she stopped answering. She must have been disgusted by her human lack of knowledge. She clearly didn't understand the finer points of SPAM.

"But it wasn't a real word," I continued.

"I know it wasn't. They're almost all fake."

I pondered this idea for awhile. It took a long time because I fell asleep and then chewed on a bone. When I cornered Mom about it again she was in bed.

"I'm going to make them real words," I said as I arranged my bed just how I like it.

"What are you going on about?"

"The spiced pig words. I'm going to make them real words by giving them definitions. Then you are going to put them on your dlog."

"You mean blog?"

"That's what I said. You'll put them on the blog and they will be real words. And the world can thank me for creating brand new words for them to use."

She then tried to go on about how not all humans "speak" English and I agreed with her since everyone knows that the human ape-barking isn't speaking at all. Wood knocking makes more sense.

I then farted and went to sleep.


So that's where we're at. Please use these new words and help make me a world power.



Icanit - This is the term for how people store SPAM once they have it freshly picked from the SPAM fields


Patess - This is woman's name. The female version of Patrick. You do know that there already are female versions of Patrick, right? Patrice, Patricia... Shut UP Mommy. Get out of my post!


Bathshe - a terrible creature that flies in the air, shrieking and screaming whenever a bath is about to be thrust upon some poor, helpless dog.


Moutcher - a mouse mustache


Nonsed - this is what people do when they're so taken aback by the genius of dogs that they have nothing to say. Example - see Mommy above regarding SPAM


Eterpoo - when you eat so much food (such as SPAM) and the subsequent poop is so great you think the pooping will never end


Forsa - What the people have to do to get a dog into a bathtub


Thank you all, ape-friends. I will see you next Friday

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Which I Become A Writer



I'm often amazed at people who state they always wanted to be a writer - like they popped out of the womb with a pencil in hand and a story to tell.

That's not how it happened with me.

I didn't want to be a writer. I remember Twin reading Dear Mr. Henshaw in elementary school (I think she read it multiple times) and I always thought it was kind of dumb. A kid who wants to be a writer and so he becomes pen pals with an author? Boooooring.

No, not for me. I wanted to be a veterinarian.

And when I was even younger I wanted to be a veterinarian and a singer. Of course my parents then teased me, asking me if I would sing to the sick animals which, naturally, drove me crazy.

Now when I think about it, that's actually kind of a clever idea. It would be awesome if there was such a job, where all you had to do was sing to the sick (animals or people) and they would be healed. Though stuff like that has pretty much been done to death

But then I hit high school and the aforementioned fan-fiction. When I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2009 I noticed that on the website and in the book they constantly talk about how, when you've become a winner, it could possibly the most you've ever written! Well, barring the fact that my previous WIP was stalled at over 70K word, I spent high school writing elaborate fan-fiction stories with my friends, the longest one over 40K, though there were at least three others that capped in the 30K range. So you can see I spent much of high school writing a lot of fan-fiction. Word count was not an issue for me.

Fan-fiction was fun. Of course, the majority of it was that it allowed you to fantasize about fun and exciting things with your best friends who were also involved in the fan-fiction. But the writing was fun too. I began my very first writing notebook where I stored ideas for fan-fiction and other stories - my Puppy in the Pot Book.


so named because of this picture on the cover



Also, I began to do very well in English class. I mean, I guess I had always done well in English, I never got bad grades in anything, but in high-school I began to enjoy doing well in English. I still loved science (especially biology), but a few great English teachers began to steer me away.

When Twin and I went to our orientation for the University of MN, one of the first things they ask is what you want to major in, so they know where to send you during the orientation. I was all prepared to say "pre-vet" like Twin, but instead what came out of my mouth was "English".

It was then that it was finalized, well at least the English degree idea. I still didn't have any plans of wanting to be a "real" writer. My original idea was to become a high school English teacher (something I still kind of wish I had followed through on).

But then, around my sophomore or junior year, I realized with an English major I could have an emphasis in creative writing, and well, that was it. My senior project wasn't a big paper on an author, instead it was a lengthy short story. All my electives were fiction classes and solidified my desire to be a writer.

So there you have it. Had you asked me when I was eight if I wanted to be a writer, I would have laughed in your face (Twin would have helped). If asked when I was 18, I might have hesitated and then said no. But here, when I'm approaching 29 (omg 30 is on the horizon...), well I've been saying it for almost a decade. It's kind of a weird little path I wandered.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Alphabet Of Awesomeness

H/T to Teebore over at Gentlemen of Leisure Blog for passing on this great idea.

What idea, you ask? Why the idea of the ABCs OF AWESOME that's what! (and yes, it needs to be all caps...)

I tried to keep mine writing or book related, but you'll see I was only semi-successful (though I can make an argument about a lot of them that they're what I like to write about... )



A is for Assassins


B is for Books



C is for Cartoons



D is for Daydreaming



E is for Editing



F is for Falen! Nah I'm just kidding - can you imagine?! F is for Foodstuff



G is for Games



H is for Horror



I is for illustrations



J is for Journals



K is for Karin Lowachee



L is for Lolcats



M is for Mists of Avalon



N is for Ninjas!



O is for Onomatopoeia



P is for Pens



Q is for Queries



R is for Reading



S is for Sirius Black



T is for Trees



U is for Undead



V is for Vampires



W is for Writing (dur!)



X is for XBox 360



Y is for Yarn (as in telling one)



Z is for Zeppelins



There were some hard letters and letters that had just too many great ones (it nearly broke my heart to leave out apocalypse) but overall I'm mostly pleased with my list.
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