Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 21-27, 2021

It’s almost the end of March (!) and time to get your informal writerly learnings on 🙂

Erika Liodice shares some lessons found in a lost year. Heather Webb: your writing process says you’re a failure. Later in the week, John J. Kelley shows you what happens when everything changes—capturing profound character moments. Then, Desmond Hall shares his Desmond’s Drops for March. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup analyzes the Max vs. Furiosa fight from Mad Max: Fury Road.

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arcs series with part seven: the mage arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

In search of absolute beauty. Like Stories of Old

Janice Hardy points out two words that lead to a stronger novel. Then, she explains how to show (and not tell) without raising your word count. OMG, do I ever need this! Fiction University

Shaelin helps you deal with creative slumps, writer’s block, and low motivation. Favourite quote: “That’s the bitch of capitalism, baby!” Shaelin Writes

Lisa Cooper Ellison wants you to beware of chapter-by-chapter critiques. Then, Susan DeFreitas lists three pitfalls when writing from your own life. Later in the week, Sharon Oard Warner helps you find your way to the end. Jane Friedman

Dr. Erica Brozovsky explores the unexpected origins of the word monster (w/ Dr. Zarka). Otherwords | PBS Storied

Elizabeth Spann Craig helps you handle perfectionism. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Becca Puglisi asks, what is your character’s emotional shielding and why does it matter? Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to write clear physical description.

Savannah Cordova busts some of the biggest myths in the publishing industry. Then, Marina Barakatt recounts how the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl takes over comics: not just dudes in tights. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Simon Stephenson about voice, emotion, and metastory in a “mistopia.” Then, Stephanie Kane wants you to look at the bigger story. Gracie Bialecki shares five ways to have a healthy relationship of your writing group. DIY MFA

The serial killer trope, explained. The Take

Lisa Hall-Wilson shows you two ways to help readers connect emotionally with your characters. Later in the week, Ellen Buikema lists ten ideas for inspiring your writing with music. Writers in the Storm

Cordia Pearson: horses as change agents in fantasy. Dan Koboldt

Chris Winkle explains how to pace your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi shares six principles for becoming a better worldbuilder. Mythcreants

David Shield: this Saskatchewan college is home to some of the rarest books in the world. CBC

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 25-31, 2020

Welcome to the first—and last—tipsday of November! Load up on informal writerly learnings and I’ll see you in December. ‘Cause NaNoWriMo.

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance. Get your flu shot. We are firmly in the second wave and the situation is getting steadily worse. We all have to pull together to survive and protect each other until a vaccine is available.

Kim Bullock explains why writers need rooms of their own. Later in the week, Barbara O’Neal distinguishes between using memory vs. backstory. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: the midpoint as the swivel of your novel’s linked structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy shares six steps to creating a great character. Fiction University

Susan DeFreitas says, don’t hold out for publishing to make you feel seen. Pursue this goal instead. Jane Friedman

The Karen trope, explained. The Take

And then, the witch trope, explained. The Take

Tasha Seegmiller: how do your characters love? Later in the week, Eldred Bird offers some tips for upping your “what if” game. Then, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains why we love (and resent) alpha males. Writers in the Storm

Gilbert Bassey offers four ways to fix a boring story. Writers Helping Writers

Helen J. Darling wants you to reconnect with your values if you’re feeling stuck. Then, Pamela Taylor helps you create authentic details in historical medicine. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Laura Jamison about writing the ensemble cast. Then Sara Farmer interviews Linda Olson. DIY MFA

Shaelin reviews structuring your novel with Dan Harman’s plot embryo. Reedsy

And then, she looks at the traditional three act structure. Reedsy

Jami Gold gives some thought to world building on an epic scale.

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the mixed climaxes of Marvel’s phase three, part 1. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains why some stories fall apart and fail to hook readers (spoilers: it’s story structure).

Summer H. Paulus offers some insight into the origins of Halloween and its traditions. Fantasy Faction

Tricia Ennis reveals the strange, difficult history of queer coding. SyFy

Aja Romano explains how voice actors are fighting to change an industry that renders them invisible. Vox

Disney’s new content warnings on classic animation featuring racist characters. BBC

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 7-13, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Trans non-binary folks are non-binary folks.

These pandemic times are increasingly complex ones. Protests against anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism continue even as the world begins to “reopen.” Black and Indigenous people continue to suffer from and die because of police violence but, as has been pointed out, police violence is only the symptom. Institutionalized racism is the virus that must be eradicated.

Here in Canada, the RCMP has recently done an about face, first denying their endemic racism, and then admitting it and committing to do better. In the meantime, Indigenous and Black lives continue to be threatened.

People across the publishing industry—across all media, in fact—have been fired for their racism. Various governments are seriously considering defunding their police. Monuments to white supremacy are falling.

And TERFs who expose their prejudices are being publicly and thoroughly schooled.

The world is still in chaos. But with the continued protests, change is coming. I continue to hope and to support efforts to achieve reform and justice. I continue to listen and learn, because there’s so much I don’t know, and I want to do better.

Onto the informal writerly learnings!

Why poetry is so important/powerful/relevant right now. “Hollow” – Bristol’s City Poet, Vanessa Kisuule.

Jenny Hansen lists the eight Cs of character development. Writers in the Storm

Nya Wilcox busts six writing excuses and explains how she wrote—and published—a novel at the age of eleven. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman recommends questions to ask your publisher before you sign the contract.

Laura Highcove offers an introduction to writer’s intuition. DIY MFA

The Take explains the superhero genre.

Jami Gold helps you make the right impression with character introductions. Writers Helping Writers

On her own blog, Jami shares four further tips for making the right impression for your characters.

Jenna Moreci offers her first ten tips for evoking emotion through your writing.

Jim Dempsey is writing and hiking. Kathryn Craft shares six ways to add a dash of foreign language. Then, Laurie R. King helps you keep your series fresh. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy reveals the hidden danger backstory poses for writers (and it’s not what you think). Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: listen to your characters, but don’t let them run away with your story.

Hard worldbuilding vs. soft worldbuilding. And yes, Tim does discuss Harry Potter as an example of soft worldbuilding, so be warned if J.K.’s recent TERF-dom is offensive or triggering for you. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle is judging what backstory to keep and what to let go. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists what does and doesn’t make a signature weapon cool. Mythcreants

And that is tipsday for this week. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Be willing to listen, learn, and do better.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 21-27, 2019

July is winding down and we’re heading into the dog days of summer: August. We’ve already had more than our share of hot, humid days—fact, I’m not complaining—and I’m trying to make the most of each one. I hope you’ve been making meaningful progress in your creative projects.

It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Janice Hardy offers a Sunday writing tip: reveal something new in every scene. Then she wonders, are you asking—and answering—the right story questions? Fiction University

Alexa Donne talks about nailing your beginnings (first sentence through first act).

Tracy Hahn-Burkett says, if you want to make a difference, tell a story. Heather Webb offers some notes from a book tour. Keith Cronin shares some serious lessons from a fool on a hill. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland explains how to make your plot a powerful thematic metaphor. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenn Walton says, let your imagination run wild. Gabriela Pereira crawls inside the mind of a worldbuilding junkie with Fonda Lee. DIY MFA

Angela Ackerman visits Writers in the Storm to discuss character building for pantsers.

Jenna Moreci discusses some of the differences between flat and round characters.

Justin Attas wants you to create a credible magic system. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Bell wonders, is your writing plan ready for a crisis? Jami Gold

Chris Winkle explains what storytellers should know about normalization. Choose compassion. Write stories that normalize the positive. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines five stories with premises that don’t suit their settings. Mythcreants

Structuring a chapter. Reedsy

CBC books recommends ten Canadian science fiction and fantasy books you should be reading.

Ada Hoffman is moving towards a neurodiverse future by writing an autistic heroine. Tor.com

Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ve found something for your writerly toolkit.

If you’re looking for some inspiration or research material, be sure to come back on Thursday for some thoughty links.

Until then, be well, my friends 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 2-8, 2019

Here’s a nice bundle of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

Jael McHenry is making room for silence. Nancy Johnson: what white writers should know about telling black stories. Donald Maass explores the myriad ways in which mystery shapes your story (and returns to the pithy one-word titles). Cathy Yardley offers a snapshot of her writing process. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland explains how to write interesting scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Scott Bell wants you to stay thirsty. Writers Helping Writers

Sara Letourneau is identifying themes in poetry. Laura Highcove wants you to reclaim your agency from writer’s block. Then, Charlene Jimenez describes the five people fiction writers need in their lives. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci rails against her ten most hated hero tropes.

Fae Rowan suggests these six f-words to create compelling characters. Writers in the Storm

Tara East guest posts on Joanna Penn’s blog: how overwriters can reduce their word count. The Creative Penn

Emily Wenstrom suggests several different tools to track world building in a fantasy series. Writer’s Digest

Chris Winkle explores five relationship dynamics for stronger romances. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains five ways terrain affects fantasy battles. Mythcreants

Hank Green shares eight things he wished he’d known when he wrote his first book – vlogbrothers

Nathan Bransford thinks this Roald Dahl video is everything. I so love process-y stuff 🙂

And Catherine Ryan Howard shares her process (in parts—more to come): the BIG IDEA.

I hope you enjoyed this curation and found something for your current of next creative project.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose to thoughty!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 22-28, 2018

Give yourself the treat of informal writerly learnings on this last day of July 🙂

Jane Friedman excerpts from Diana Kimpton’s Plots and Plotting on her blog: how to skillfully use subplots in your novel.

K.M. Weiland shares four steps to turn an idea into a story that rocks. Helping Writers Become Authors

Anne Greenwood Brown explains how to write emotional scenes when you’d really rather not. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb encourages you to build a world, hook a reader. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn interviews Samantha Keel about writing effective injuries for your characters. The Creative Penn

Kathryn Craft: our capacity for brilliance. Writers in the Storm

Rachael Stephen: how to punch perfectionism in its dumb face.

 

Leanne Sowul is writing for life. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson explores voice across genre: by any other name. DIY MFA

Laura Stradiotto interviews Gail Anderson-Dargatz: overcoming the fear of writing. I attended her workshop on Saturday—stellar! The Sudbury Star

Jeff Vandermeer shares his views on the art and science of structuring a novel. Electric Lit

Anne Quito: the graceful restoration of a 200-year-old serif typeface reveals the problem with digital fonts. Quartzy

Hope you found something to move your craft forward.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 1-7, 2018

Were you looking for these? Your informal writerly learnings are here!

K.M. Weiland helps you decide between plain prose and beautiful prose. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman returns to Writer Unboxed: a smarter author platform for the digital era of publishing.

Nathan Bransford offers a guide to social media for authors. Later in the week he offers tips on how to regain your concentration.

Emily Wenstrom explains how to use Twitter hashtags for writers. DIY MFA

Porter Anderson delves into author pay and publishing profits. And then, he looks at the success of Canada Reads as PBS announces a similar competition.

Valerie Francis joins Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn to discuss how to write a scene the Story Grid way.

Donald Maass takes a non-linear approach to middle scenes. Writer Unboxed

Sonja Yeorg is resurrecting a shelved manuscript. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt talks art and social change. It’s a ripping awesome post. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is deepening character complexity with the help of psychology. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman examines the destructive power of the lie your character believes. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold offers some suggestions to help you create a compelling, but quiet, black moment.

Heather Webb shares a writer’s lessons in failure. Writers in the Storm

Do the thing? Chuck Wendig offers a helpful (and hilarious) FAQ. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb brings the LOLZ with her post on diagnosing the real writer.

Dheolos and Worldbuilding Magazine are creating a mountain setting. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu explores how the women of The Expanse are changing our worldview.

Dan Koboldt is putting the science in your fiction. Writer’s Digest

And some writerly news from the north:

My friend and vice-president of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild Vera Constantineau is interviewed for The Northern Life about her new short story collection Daisy Chained.

Another friend and SWG member Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli announces pre-orders for her first novel, La Brigantessa, forthcoming from Inanna Publications this September.

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday comes around to herald the weekend 🙂

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The Writing Excuses Retreat, part 2

Copenhagen and day at sea

In this instalment, I’m covering days two and three of the Writing Excuses Retreat (WXR) Baltic cruise.

On day two, I was up fairly early, mostly because I hadn’t yet fully adjusted to the time change. Then again, daylight savings messes me up twice a year and the two times I travelled west, I never adjusted to the time change at all. I just got by on a sleep deficit for the week I was in Vancouver and Calgary, respectively.

It was a good thing, though. Day two was our day in Copenhagen and I had a tour to catch.

We went straight to the Little Mermaid. The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favourite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. This is probably due to the 1975 animated version narrated by Richard Chamberlain. It was faithful to the tale Andersen popularized, including the attempted murder of the Prince and suicide of the heroine.

LittleMermaid

Of course, I know it’s a terribly misogynist tale that entrenches some vile stereotypes of feminine agency, or the lack thereof. But it’s still one of my favourites.

Fountain

We then stopped at the Fountain of Gefion, the goddess who created Denmark. The Swedish king Gylfi promised her all the land she could plough in a night. She turned her four sons into oxen and the land she ploughed was thrown into the sea to become Denmark. Next to the fountain was the oldest Anglican Church in Denmark.

Christianborg

From there, we visited the Christianborg Palace courtyard (our tour did not go inside) and saw the opera house, the canal, and the new incinerator. Our tour guide proudly pointed out that Copenhagen imported garbage to incinerate from all over the EU and that 100% of private residences ran on renewable energy.

canal

Interestingly, the new incinerating facility was built like a mountain and the plan is to have a ski hill on its slope. Denmark is a flat land and citizens have to travel elsewhere to ski.

Next, we toured the royal reception hall. Though once the place of all royal business, the hall is now only used to entertain visiting dignitaries.

Some intriguing facts about Queen Margrethe: she’s an artist. Under a pseudonym, she illustrated an edition of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. She designed one of the carpets in the reception hall. For her 50th birthday in 1990, the queen was presented with 17 surrealist tapestries depicting the history of Denmark.

Tapestry

My picture does not do the tapestries justice. They were breathtaking. My favourite room in the reception hall.

Well, I was rather fond of the library, too.

library

The history of the Danish kings (either Christian or Frederick) reads like Game of Thrones. Our tour guide intimated that George R.R. Martin drew inspiration for some aspects of Westeros from Danish history.

The tour returned to the Fantasia just after noon and I had time to grab lunch before John Berlyne’s presentation on the purpose of an agent.

JohnBerlyne

Then, Aliette de Bodard presented Worldbuilding in the Smallest Parts and it was time for dinner.

That night, I was seated with other attendees, but our table was short one. At the table next to us, one lone participant sat. We asked him over, but he was waiting for his spouse, so two of our table went to join him, instead. And it wasn’t too long before another table of two was asked to join us. Yes, it was musical chairs night, but it was one of the best evening meals I had with the two Sarahs and the two Laurens 🙂

Unfortunately, that was also the night my throat got sore, heralding the cold that was to become known as Cruise Crud. I’m still clearing out the trachea, three weeks later … at the time, I thought it was just the wine and the continual gales of laughter.

That night, we once more passed under the Øresund bridge, but I didn’t get another picture.

On day three, we crossed the Baltic heading toward Stockholm, Sweden.

I just want to digress for a moment. I’d never been on a ship the size of the Fantasia before. Sure, I spent many summers on my uncle’s houseboat. Yes, I’ve been on ferries like the Toronto Island ferry and the Chi-cheemaun. I was fairly confident that I wouldn’t be sea sick, but I had no clue.

The truth is, I barely felt the ship’s movement. When we departed or approached a pier, yes. The ship had to employ engines on the sides of the ship. There’s not enough pier to glide in like a smaller ship might. So the ship moves parallel and sidles up. That’s when you feel the chop.

So I’m happy to say my constitution did not let me down. In that respect, anyway.

I got to sleep in a bit on day three. Not that I actually did, but I didn’t really have anything to get up early for. Every morning, the instructors gathered for office hours, but I didn’t have any specific questions to ply them with … yet.

After the breakfast buffet, I headed down to the breakout session. I was group cake, but I’d signed up for the lightning readings in the afternoon and attended Mary Robinette Kowal’s foreshortened How to Present workshop which was squeezed in at the beginning of the breakout session.

MaryRobinetteKowal

Then, I hung out until my one-on-one with Tempest, which was scheduled in the middle of the breakout session. Day three was my first real opportunity to do any writing and the first day I felt like my body had adjusted to being seven hours in the past 😉 I lugged my laptop around with me so I could use what opportunities I could.

WesleyChu

Back to the buffet for lunch, and then it was time for Wesley Chu’s Deep Dive into Action presentation, which was followed by the lightning readings, at which I believe I acquitted myself well.

Afterward, Margaret commented that she wanted to read the novel when it came out. I think I blushed. The reading was from a short story, but I guess that’s just more confirmation that my story ideas tend toward novel-length projects.

There were a lot of interesting pieces and I’m looking forward to reading some of the resulting projects, whether story or novel, as well 🙂

Day three was the evening of the costume contest. I didn’t have room to pack one, but there were some very clever costumes. Ann Tagonist and Professor Tagonist had the pages of a book incorporated into their costumes. One young man was the Excuses Monster, onto which people were invited to write their writing excuses on Post-its and stick them to his cape.

There were a number of flappers and a number of Regency costumes. Waldo and Carmen Santiago made an appearance, as did Nanny Og.

masquerade

That night, I sat at Mary’s table at supper. It was another night of fascinating conversation at which I got to regale the group about my malignant hyperthermia (Google it).

The Cruise Crud was blossoming, so I once again called it a night after supper.

And that’s where I’m going to pause in my tale.

Next weekend, we enter a new month and it will be time for my Next chapter update.

I’ll pick up with our arrival in Stockholm on the weekend of the 9th.

Until my next blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong, my friends 🙂

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 11-17, 2017

A smaller trove from the Tipsday vault this week.

Jane Friedman coaches you on how to immediately improve your query letter’s effectiveness.

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to write a (nearly) perfect first draft (and why you should try). Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate shows you how to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to improve your characters.

Piper Bayard discusses the art of physical surveillance. Writers in the Storm

Emily Wenstrom answers the question, can Facebook ads really boost your author platform? DIY MFA

Oh yeah. It’s me. Talking about time travel. DIY MFA

And so I had to cram this in here: Natalie Zutter wonders, is time travel is science fiction or fantasy? 🙂 Tor.com

Gabriela Pereira interviews DIY MFA columnist and romance author Robin Lovett for her podcast. Now I have an earworm … Let’s talk about sexy, baby / let’s talk about you and me … 😀

Becca Puglisi demystifies worldbuilding. Writers Helping Writers

Remember that post I shared a couple of weeks ago that Foz Meadows took exception to? Yeah, well Janice Hardy takes on the topic, too: why you shouldn’t write every day. Janice makes some points that I seriously considering. I do work a day job and I regularly face burnout because I write like a maniac when I’m not working. Food for thought. Fiction University

Oren Ashkenazi lists five tropes that make a villain look incompetent (and how to avoid them). Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci: how to choose an editor.

 

Joanna Penn interviews Dan Blank on changes in the publishing industry and launching non-fiction books. The Creative Penn

Claire Light reviews WisCon, the world’s preeminent feminist speculative fiction convention. Literary Hub

Foxy Folklorist, Jeana Jorgensen, explains why the translation of the fairy tale collection you read matters. Patheos

And that, my friends, was you informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Come back for some thoughty on Thursday, and in the meantime, be well.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 21-27, 2017

Another week of informal writerly learnings? Get set to open your goodie bag 🙂

K.M. Weiland debunks five misconceptions about writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate posits that great comedy is meaningful, and shares four tips to help you make it so.

Kathryn Craft reviews the decade in publishing. Writers in the Storm

Kimberly Brock says, you’re writers, not waiters. Writers in the Storm

Jane Friedman advises on how much you should personalize a query letter.

Elizabeth Huergo pays tribute to C.D. Wright: songs and their landscapes. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb teaches a survey course in time management: writing through our busy lives. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank says, if you want to be successful, surround yourself with success. Writer Unboxed

Jamie Raintree: let your writing process be your own (and how to discover it).

Bonnie Randall gets into character minutiae and seemingly irrelevant details. Fiction University

Stacy B. Woodson shares her fantastic experience at Malice Domestic 2017. DIY MFA

Jami Gold challenges us to deal with character stereotypes.

Kristen Lamb reveals how shame is at the heart of good fiction.

Will Hindmarch explains how to give great notes a writer can use. Magic Circles

Nina Munteanu gives you the tools you need to make a believable world.

Writer and geologist Alex Acks examines Arakkis, Tatooine, and the science of desert planets. Worldbuilding advice from Tor.com.

Jo Walton looks at genre fiction’s obsession with Belisarius, with a lovely recommendation for Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantium novels. Tor.com

Darlene Naponse is a Reveal – Indigenous art award Laureate.

Emily Temple curates some pearls of wisdom—on writing and life—from Jamaica Kincaid in honour of her 68th birthday. Literary Hub

These are old human themes: Margaret Atwood on the enduring power of The Handmaid’s Tale. CBC

James Whitbrook watches the new Game of Thrones trailer. i09

I hope you’re having a lovely week.

Be well until next I blog 🙂

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