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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 30838 times)

Offline NightWrite

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2016, 10:02:06 PM »
Looking back on it I didn't explain what Rise High was doing very well or the legality of things. Fleshcrafting and all other forms of necromancy are currently illegal in Rema's culture; fleshcrafting was the name given to those practitioners who focus on cobbling together multiple bodies, or at least part of multiple bodies, into one. The media portrayal line was too vague I realize now as it was meant to indicate the media works to demonize it. The excuses Rema used to get away with the body burning was the same protocol she should have followed with the weeping grin victim. Any body with signs of an infectious disease are to be burned.

Rema is infected as weeping grin is highly contagious, contracted through both breath and fluids. What she didn't know was if she was already infected for the same reason she said one victim leads to a horde. Weeping grin has no signs or symptoms until the terminal phase, but a person can spread it before then.

I do plan on going back to my story, I really enjoyed the concept but I looked back on it the other week and realized I was selling the concept short of its potential. Something which happens with most of my contest stories.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 10:16:38 PM by NightWrite »

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2016, 11:25:50 PM »

I'm popping out of work just to say.  Yes!  I love getting ripped to shreds.  Please do! 
And I'm sort of an anarchist, so feel free to critique any way you feel like it :)

Okay I need to get back to work or i'll get fired.

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2016, 11:59:08 PM »
I'll write more but the people who want critics should also be writing them... Come people, even if a few lines!
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Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2016, 01:10:24 AM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2016, 01:35:16 AM »
corpse could have been more integral to said story.
I am really curious about this. The four corpses were each described in distinct terms (peaceful, ghastly, broken, unrecognizable), in ways that impacted the character and evoked different emotions from the protag, and from some readers (disgust, loss, and sadness). Their discovery changed the mood of the story and the protag. They altered the protag's intentions, who abandoned plans of escape and chose a lop-sided confrontation. The protag used the energy from their cremation as a weapon to avenge them.

So I am at a loss. In what other ways should/could they have been more integral?
The Gem Cutter
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Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2016, 02:25:49 AM »
corpse could have been more integral to said story.
I am really curious about this. The four corpses were each described in distinct terms (peaceful, ghastly, broken, unrecognizable), in ways that impacted the character and evoked different emotions from the protag, and from some readers (disgust, loss, and sadness). Their discovery changed the mood of the story and the protag. They altered the protag's intentions, who abandoned plans of escape and chose a lop-sided confrontation. The protag used the energy from their cremation as a weapon to avenge them.

So I am at a loss. In what other ways should/could they have been more integral?

I think it's a matter of interpretation. Your corpses were catalysts for the aciton of the MC, but they weren't the subject of the story.

Still, I find that I apply this thinking inconsistently. Soulspeaker isn't really about corpses, either. And I voted for both stories.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2016, 03:38:46 AM »
corpse could have been more integral to said story.
I am really curious about this. The four corpses were each described in distinct terms (peaceful, ghastly, broken, unrecognizable), in ways that impacted the character and evoked different emotions from the protag, and from some readers (disgust, loss, and sadness). Their discovery changed the mood of the story and the protag. They altered the protag's intentions, who abandoned plans of escape and chose a lop-sided confrontation. The protag used the energy from their cremation as a weapon to avenge them.

So I am at a loss. In what other ways should/could they have been more integral?

Tbh TGC-- (TBHTGC should be like a new word or something), I didn't think much about corpses when reading through the story, but in retrospect when ppl started talking about the corpse-ness of stories, I thought of yours and was like-- wait, were there even corpses in that one?

I was really blown away by Bridge Battle, it was nail-biting excitement and really really really well done!!!!  But word limits were really your enemy.  If you wanted to emphasize that decision point, you needed to settle in that moment a bit longer, draw the inner transition out, and maybe even refer to it more in the final battle.  But moving forward as a critique, I think we should explore whether you want to do that or not-- at this point the corpse-ness of the piece is irrelevant should you want to use it elsewhere.

My biggest concern with it was that it had a media res opening and a media res ending.  I didn't have a sense of a story arc, it felt like an excerpt (a *fantastic* excerpt, mind you!) of chapter 23 of an existing novel.  There wasn't enough rising and falling action for me to feel it as a short story-- it was all ramped up from the beginning to the end.  It was a delightful read-- but it didn't feel like it could stand on it's own.

That said, this was the one story that I reaaaaaaly wanted to know the author of, b/c it was so exciting-- it made me want to read some of your longer work for sure.

Offline shadowkat678

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2016, 05:13:49 AM »
corpse could have been more integral to said story.
I am really curious about this. The four corpses were each described in distinct terms (peaceful, ghastly, broken, unrecognizable), in ways that impacted the character and evoked different emotions from the protag, and from some readers (disgust, loss, and sadness). Their discovery changed the mood of the story and the protag. They altered the protag's intentions, who abandoned plans of escape and chose a lop-sided confrontation. The protag used the energy from their cremation as a weapon to avenge them.

So I am at a loss. In what other ways should/could they have been more integral?

Tbh TGC-- (TBHTGC should be like a new word or something), I didn't think much about corpses when reading through the story, but in retrospect when ppl started talking about the corpse-ness of stories, I thought of yours and was like-- wait, were there even corpses in that one?

I was really blown away by Bridge Battle, it was nail-biting excitement and really really really well done!!!!  But word limits were really your enemy.  If you wanted to emphasize that decision point, you needed to settle in that moment a bit longer, draw the inner transition out, and maybe even refer to it more in the final battle.  But moving forward as a critique, I think we should explore whether you want to do that or not-- at this point the corpse-ness of the piece is irrelevant should you want to use it elsewhere.

My biggest concern with it was that it had a media res opening and a media res ending.  I didn't have a sense of a story arc, it felt like an excerpt (a *fantastic* excerpt, mind you!) of chapter 23 of an existing novel.  There wasn't enough rising and falling action for me to feel it as a short story-- it was all ramped up from the beginning to the end.  It was a delightful read-- but it didn't feel like it could stand on it's own.

That said, this was the one story that I reaaaaaaly wanted to know the author of, b/c it was so exciting-- it made me want to read some of your longer work for sure.

I agree with that. Though I did vote for it anyway, because it was just so awesome.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2016, 06:19:12 AM »
Thank you for your kind words Bradley, and everyone, I really appreciate them.  ;D

And your observations on losing sight of my corpses does me just as much credit (maybe more) as your praise. I intentionally used my corpses more subtlely than most would. Rather than direct the corpses' impact on the audience, I aimed it at the protag, and gave what I thought was a plausible reason to have a battle and not run, a cliché I despise. 8)

My inspiration was the grievous impact bodies have on the living, the transition of flesh from someone beloved to something that evokes melancholy or makes one vomit in public. My experience with corpses is not as a feature of entertainment. My mental images of bodies and concepts like "grisly" are not so much imaginative as memory, so of course I took a different path. I set about trying to capture all that in a tight space, with action and some dramatic weight, some symbolism, everything I could think of. I think it worked. Hence my disappointment. Which I'll explain for those interested, and to get the venom out of my system.

Spoiler for Hiden:
There are four, perhaps as many as nine corpses in my story, depending on how you count. The four have detail, mood and plot impact, all that. I could have gone further, but I certainly believed the requirement "One or more corpses must play a crucial role" was fully met. They changed the protag's intentions and mindset, and made the protag feel remorse and regret before circling into anger without lapsing into a caricature of it. Their impact led to a change in the landscape, literally.

The notion of voting for/against "corpse level" is frustrating looking back, and disconcerting looking forward, because I seem to view requirements like these unlike everyone else. To my mind, it was like the page count - a pass/fail that is met or not. To me, trying to compare and then voting on the degree of saturation is as absurd as voting one story over another because it had more words (or fewer), "more fully meeting the requirement."  >:(

There is a gray area on the periphery, where the topic is raised and then ignored, an obvious "check the block" approach. I was nowhere near that line. ;)

I am competitive, perhaps more so than most of the others here. That said, in a writing contest, I do not mind losing to more entertaining writers. Far from it - they make me better and teach me with every story I read, analyze, discuss, or critique - and I get to enjoy their talents for free at the same time. That said, I am competitive. And though I do not mind losing a race to faster runners - it is infuriating to hear my sneakers weren't regulation, or some similarly petty thing when I met the requirement.  :-\

People will vote how they're going to vote, and there's no accounting for taste. I followed Nora's point in our voting debate(s) and casted one vote for Hoy Girl, because Jmack's use of language was difficult and superbly done, and although I know he doubted his level of action, I enjoyed the character study of the girl, and it touched me in a quiet way that no one else's story did. With subtlety.

I feel better already.  ::)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 06:21:21 AM by The Gem Cutter »
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2016, 08:09:13 AM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.

Awe I'm blown away that I got a vote from such a talented writer!!!!   Good point on the age-inappropriateness of the dialogue.  Age is a struggle for me, perhaps I need to spend more time in a daycare for research :)  I could have brushed it over with Merrick commenting on it, and the grandmother saying that the Soulspeaker is beyond his years, but it would be nice to learn how to pull off youth a bit better.

Re: the plot-- yeah not sure what to do there, other than revel in my triteness :)  Any suggested alternatives? Every other way out seemed difficult, and I kept wondering "why doesn't he just poison him?" I suppose I could always have had the boy get offed....

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2016, 08:28:59 AM »
Also interested in reviews for DRIN :)

I voted for DRIN-- It wasn't my top pick, but I felt it was a very strong piece.

I loved the atmosphere, consistent tone and rich voice. It felt very rooted in the time and place it was set in, it made it almost feel like magical realism which is hard to pull off well, so kudos. It almost felt like literary fiction! 

* I felt like I needed a more solid motivation for Har to join the Wagonman.  I didn't have a strong sense of Har and his paranoia almost felt like an ill-spirited antagonism.  Some little triggering nugget to make him want to investigate further, or even shifting away from the paranoia and just not wanting to let go of his loved one... As it stands, he was sort of judgy which made him unappealing.

* This is just me, many might disagree, but I hate hate hate *** unless they are integral to the rhythm of the story.  In this case they took me out of the story, so I much prefer a smooth transition.  With something that was more of an staccatoed allegro, a back and forth sort of melody ***'s could have worked, but you had sort of a slowly building adagio going on.

* I feel like the ending would have felt more sinister if we had gotten a little subtle supernatural foreshadowing, as well as foreshadowing that Har might be in danger.  The final song could have hit home harder if it was implied more heavily, somehow that Har was going to join the dead in the closet.  As it stands it didn't quite land and I'm not 100% sure what to make of it (which sometimes the indeterminate ending can be a good thing, but in this case it left me feeling a little off/unresolved-- there needs to be a resolution conveyed at the same time as the question of the possibilities are laid out in that sort of ending, and I didn't feel that resolution.  I think it would be better to play up Har's implied death a bit)

Anyway those are just my arbitrary thoughts.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 08:31:12 AM by Bradley Darewood »

Offline shadowkat678

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2016, 02:32:08 PM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.

Awe I'm blown away that I got a vote from such a talented writer!!!!   Good point on the age-inappropriateness of the dialogue.  Age is a struggle for me, perhaps I need to spend more time in a daycare for research :)  I could have brushed it over with Merrick commenting on it, and the grandmother saying that the Soulspeaker is beyond his years, but it would be nice to learn how to pull off youth a bit better.

Re: the plot-- yeah not sure what to do there, other than revel in my triteness :)  Any suggested alternatives? Every other way out seemed difficult, and I kept wondering "why doesn't he just poison him?" I suppose I could always have had the boy get offed....

Maybe your kid had aspergers. We often get called little professors, and for good reason. I was talking at nine and a half months, and, probably due to the amount of documentaries we watched at my house, using twenty dollar words in every day vocabulary. The first talking thing is pretty uncommon, but using big words and having strangely adult ways of speaking is something you see a lot accross various parts of the spectrum. Even autistics who are nonverbal that I've communicated with online kinda can sometimes have that trend in their typing style. I think it would be cool. It's pretty difficult to find characters I can relate with. I guess it's just not common enough for most people to think about, but it always feels great to see a kid like that for me. Not all kids are made the same, and I thought he was perfect. If, er, a bit scary there at the end. XD
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 02:45:51 PM by shadowkat678 »
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Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2016, 02:44:51 PM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.

Awe I'm blown away that I got a vote from such a talented writer!!!!   Good point on the age-inappropriateness of the dialogue.  Age is a struggle for me, perhaps I need to spend more time in a daycare for research :)  I could have brushed it over with Merrick commenting on it, and the grandmother saying that the Soulspeaker is beyond his years, but it would be nice to learn how to pull off youth a bit better.

Re: the plot-- yeah not sure what to do there, other than revel in my triteness :)  Any suggested alternatives? Every other way out seemed difficult, and I kept wondering "why doesn't he just poison him?" I suppose I could always have had the boy get offed....

Maybe your kid had aspergers. We often get called little professors, and for good reason. I was talking at nine and a half months, and, probably due to the amount of documentaries we watched at my house, using twenty dollar words in every day vocabulary.

I kinda liked what you did, and probably for that reason. Made me feel a bit less...quirky? Would that be the word? It's not impossible to have kids like that. I'm proof...then again, I also didn't get out much either. Doesn't seem like that kid did.either. I don't know. I guess it's just not common enough for most people to think about and relate.

Hi. Maybe not (easily relatable). I tend to see it as a trope in TV and movies: the precocious, genius-kid, usually wise-cracking. Doesn't mean it doesn;t happen; just that it's used a lot. At the end, my issue isn't with the soulspeaker's genius and verbal skills, but with not noting and explaining (or hinting). Bradley's response seems to indicate he wasn't so much making a conscious choice about these things as defaulting into the child's speech. To the degree that's true, I think the call-out may be useful.

Meanwhile, @shadowkat678, your experience sounds really interesting. And huzzah for quirky!
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline shadowkat678

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2016, 03:00:50 PM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.

Awe I'm blown away that I got a vote from such a talented writer!!!!   Good point on the age-inappropriateness of the dialogue.  Age is a struggle for me, perhaps I need to spend more time in a daycare for research :)  I could have brushed it over with Merrick commenting on it, and the grandmother saying that the Soulspeaker is beyond his years, but it would be nice to learn how to pull off youth a bit better.

Re: the plot-- yeah not sure what to do there, other than revel in my triteness :)  Any suggested alternatives? Every other way out seemed difficult, and I kept wondering "why doesn't he just poison him?" I suppose I could always have had the boy get offed....

Maybe your kid had aspergers. We often get called little professors, and for good reason. I was talking at nine and a half months, and, probably due to the amount of documentaries we watched at my house, using twenty dollar words in every day vocabulary.

I kinda liked what you did, and probably for that reason. Made me feel a bit less...quirky? Would that be the word? It's not impossible to have kids like that. I'm proof...then again, I also didn't get out much either. Doesn't seem like that kid did.either. I don't know. I guess it's just not common enough for most people to think about and relate.

Hi. Maybe not (easily relatable). I tend to see it as a trope in TV and movies: the precocious, genius-kid, usually wise-cracking. Doesn't mean it doesn;t happen; just that it's used a lot. At the end, my issue isn't with the soulspeaker's genius and verbal skills, but with not noting and explaining (or hinting). Bradley's response seems to indicate he wasn't so much making a conscious choice about these things as defaulting into the child's speech. To the degree that's true, I think the call-out may be useful.

Meanwhile, @shadowkat678, your experience sounds really interesting. And huzzah for quirky!

I guess that's true. Though, to be fair, they wouldn't know what autism was at that time. And I guess it was interesting. Though it came with a bucketload of problems too.
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Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2016, 03:07:20 PM »
Hi, @Bradley Darewood:

I voted for Soulspeaker. It was one of my favorite stories despite something that really bothered me.

And what was that, pray tell? Well let's call it two things.
> I've never known a 6-year old who could speak like this sophisticated child. Now, there's a pretty logical explanation, which is that the ghosts have been teaching him, or some such. But still. Such unusual brilliance should be noted in some way, at least.
> I'm a little tired of stories that end this way. A wants to kill B. B tricks A into drinking poison. A dies.

But I liked this story!
It was well-written, overall smart, and with a cool premise.

Awe I'm blown away that I got a vote from such a talented writer!!!!   Good point on the age-inappropriateness of the dialogue.  Age is a struggle for me, perhaps I need to spend more time in a daycare for research :)  I could have brushed it over with Merrick commenting on it, and the grandmother saying that the Soulspeaker is beyond his years, but it would be nice to learn how to pull off youth a bit better.

Re: the plot-- yeah not sure what to do there, other than revel in my triteness :)  Any suggested alternatives? Every other way out seemed difficult, and I kept wondering "why doesn't he just poison him?" I suppose I could always have had the boy get offed....

Maybe your kid had aspergers. We often get called little professors, and for good reason. I was talking at nine and a half months, and, probably due to the amount of documentaries we watched at my house, using twenty dollar words in every day vocabulary.

I kinda liked what you did, and probably for that reason. Made me feel a bit less...quirky? Would that be the word? It's not impossible to have kids like that. I'm proof...then again, I also didn't get out much either. Doesn't seem like that kid did.either. I don't know. I guess it's just not common enough for most people to think about and relate.

Hi. Maybe not (easily relatable). I tend to see it as a trope in TV and movies: the precocious, genius-kid, usually wise-cracking. Doesn't mean it doesn;t happen; just that it's used a lot. At the end, my issue isn't with the soulspeaker's genius and verbal skills, but with not noting and explaining (or hinting). Bradley's response seems to indicate he wasn't so much making a conscious choice about these things as defaulting into the child's speech. To the degree that's true, I think the call-out may be useful.

Meanwhile, @shadowkat678, your experience sounds really interesting. And huzzah for quirky!

I guess that's true. Though, to be fair, they wouldn't know what autism was at that time. And I guess it was interesting. Though it came with a bucketload of problems too.

No, they wouldn't have given it a name. But surely they'd have recognized its presence in a child's demeanor.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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