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  1. #1
    Sex God Simon25's Avatar
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    Writing Tips & Story Help

    Question for all the authors out there, what do you do when you just want to get through a boring part of a story that is kind of important to the overall plot and growth/ development of the main characters? I feel like I am trudging through mud, I don’t have writers block but more like “writer does not want to write anymore but skip ahead to the better stuff”. Any ideas would be most welcomed!!

  2. #2
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    Re: Story Help

    Nothing to do except make it as painless as you can for your readers. If the readers are into your story, they will read it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Story Help

    Yeah, if you dont like the part that you are writing or think it's boring, chances are that the readers will too. Try to find a way to get to the meat of the story/ have something interesting going on as you tell this much needed background info. Readers are very fickle, if they feel like their time is being wasted on a segment of a story and feel no reason to continue, you probably already lost that reader (not to mention all the people they tell about the book). Why not try getting help from an editor or someone in publishing. Have them read what you have written and take some suggestions from (accomplished) writers to see what you need to change.

  4. #4

    Re: Story Help

    Great question! We should have more discussions like this. I'll answer and I hope lots of other writers will, too. But it also would be intersting to hear from readers. What responses do they agree with and disagree with and why?

    My answer:

    Skip the details. There must be something in all that mud you're trudging through that you think is important. Get right to it. Skip the dialogue. Skip the normal description. Skip whatever it takes.

    I just took about two pages of a long, boring section and rewrote it to say something like . . .

    We talked for almost two hours. I can hardly remember anything we said now except that when we were done I finally understood his point. He . . .

    And then I made the central point in just a couple of lines of text instead of two pages.

    If it's gotten boring for you, it is going to be boring for the reader. Skim, summarize, get to the point and move on.

  5. #5
    JUB Addict hardreader's Avatar
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    Re: Story Help

    I just noticed that Billy must have left my computer signed on to JUB with his sign-on. The previous message is from me -- hardreader -- not billycancum. Thanks, Billy.
    "Reading should be easy. Only the reader should be hard." -- hardreader

  6. #6
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    Re: Story Help

    Reduce the backstory mud to its briefest possible length. Or, drop hints of the backstory into the thread of the ongoing story without digressing into mud.

    I like to avoid description as plot, because I find it incredibly boring to read, so if I get the chance, I describe briefly as the story develops. Example:

    Charles and I met on the Long Island train platform, (where) headed to the city for a long weekend. (When) His handsome face and smiling green eyes caught my attention.(Who) We talked all the way to the city, watching the fall foliage(Season) flash by the car's windows.

    In this way you can develop the story and move it along quickly using tidbits of description rather than paragraphs of tedious detail that most readers avoid anyway.

  7. #7
    Slut JoshuaGlynn's Avatar
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    Re: Story Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon25 View Post
    I feel like I am trudging through mud, I don’t have writers block but more like “writer does not want to write anymore but skip ahead to the better stuff”. Any ideas would be most welcomed!!
    Well then.... skip to the good stuff.... come back to the mud later it might feel better then.

    There is no rule in writing that says you have to write in the order you present.... in fact alot of authors write their stories in parts.... writing the end first, then some in the middle, go to the beginning.... kinda like they do when filming a movie.... just go back and fill in the glue later


    There is no real one way to do it, as long as the finished story or chapter is complete when you post it, your readers will never know the difference.

    Joshua

  8. #8
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    Re: Story Help

    I suppose it all depends upon if it's a story with porn or porn with a story. If it's a story with porn, people don't mind the details if it advances the story. In fact, I have created a story which began as porn but expanded into much more. Now, people are so into the story that they skip over the porn to get to the interesting bits.

    It's something you must consider, I suppose. Think to yourself, "Why are people reading my story?" Then give them what they want.

  9. #9

    Re: Story Help

    I agree with what Neil and LaloGs both had to say.
    But then again...what I usually end up doing is just walking away from it for a day or so and try again.
    During that time I'll go over it in my head to try and figure out what I can either add or delete but that it still keeps the interest up.
    Hope that helps you.

  10. #10
    Sex God blake16's Avatar
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    Re: Story Help

    Just...make everyone in the boring part naked.

  11. #11
    ********* JUB Moderator Autolycus's Avatar
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    Re: Story Help

    I don't get what a 'boring part' of a story could be. Provided the narrative is relevant to the plot, how can it be boring?

    As has been said above, if the writer finds his story boring, then it is not worth writing let alone sharing.

    In the main the stories here are short ones and they require a totally different approach to lengthy stories that are tantamount to novels - I do not need to mention which of our contributors produce such excellent works.

    Short stories need to be succinct and to the point if they are to be worth an effort on the part of the reader.

    As I have said to a number of writers on many occasions, read your text and ensure that it is interesting and correct before you post it. Remember you have only a limited period [about 10 minutes] in which to make editorial changes, although I am ready to help at any time.

    It is appreciated that writing skills can vary and help is available to those who may need it.



  12. #12
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    Re: Story Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolycus View Post
    I don't get what a 'boring part' of a story could be. Provided the narrative is relevant to the plot, how can it be boring?
    Personally, I think it's more a matter of 'where it is placed' rather than it being boring. If you stick it in a stupid place, then readers will tend to skip over it.

    For instance: You're reading a story which is at a point where you are enjoying a wonderful and highly-erotic love-making scene. It edges both you and the characters involved closer and closer to climax, only to be interrupted by something like:

    "Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you. Billy called."

    No matter how important Billy's phone call might be to the story, the readers will probably never know as they'll be frantically scrolling down the page until they get to the good bits again to they can finish what they started.

  13. #13
    ********* JUB Moderator Autolycus's Avatar
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    Re: Story Help

    Quote Originally Posted by gsdx View Post

    For instance: You're reading a story which is at a point where you are enjoying a wonderful and highly-erotic love-making scene. It edges both you and the characters involved closer and closer to climax, only to be interrupted by something like:

    "Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you. Billy called."
    In my view any writer doing that to the reader is not worth his/her salt - why build to a climax and then just throw it away? It is only appropriate to cut short a scene if it is for dramatic effect and to encourage the reader to an even higher level within the narrative.



  14. #14
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    Re: Story Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Autolycus View Post
    In my view any writer doing that to the reader is not worth his/her salt
    I agree whole-heartedly, but I have seen it happen time and time again. When that happens, I usually just back out of the story and never go back in.

    Unless the interruption is pertinent and vital to the story, it shouldn't happen, and character or story development usually isn't one of those times. Otherwise, wait until they're finished and enjoying their metaphorical cigarette before you expand the story.

  15. #15
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    Re: Story Help

    I was wondering if I should write a story. Since there're lots of stories about sex, I wanna write a romantic one with less sex scene and more about characters' thinking, fun, flirting... But I'm afraid that not many people would like to read it. So i wanna ask you guys should I start something like that? If I post this in the wrong thread, let me know the right one. Thanks

    "Flame to dust... Lovers to friends...
    Why do all good things come to an end?"

  16. #16
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    Writing Tips

    The idea for this thread came from a PM another member sent me. If he was interested in getting some tips, I thought, maybe others would like the discussion. If the topic proves sufficiently popular, perhaps Autolycus will see fit to make it a sticky thread. The goal is to help boost the overall quality of the writing of all the authors on this forum using constructive, practical suggestions.

    Here are some common techniques you can use to improve your writing.

    • First, you've got to use good grammar and a clear writing style. That allows the reader to concentrate on building a mental image rather than wasting their mind on trying to figure out what you're trying to say. Make the effort to use proper punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Mistakes happen and a few are expected, but if you don't even try to follow the rules, you can't expect to be taken seriously and your sloppy style will only distract the reader.

    • Try to use senses. Smell, for example, is very effective at hooking the reader. The phrase "The dark, moldy cellar" is much less effective than "The dark cellar reeked of mold." Instead of "The loud music hurt his ears" try "His ears ached as the music's beat hammered at them."

    • You've got to do your damnedest to eliminate passive tense. It takes some practice to get the hang of, and sometimes there's no comfortable way to get around it, but whenever you see any conjugation of the verb "to be" consider it a red flag. For example, revise "The storm cloud was bearing down on the village" to "The storm cloud bore down on the village." Revise "It was beaten to a pulp by Julio" to "Julio beat it to a pulp." That trick has the side benefit of making your verbiage tighter and more compact, which improves readability.

    • The final trick is more stylistic and is dependent on your vocabulary. Try to use words and phrases that the reader can visualize. For example, instead of "Mike punched Joe's face," use "Mike clobbered Joe's face." Change "Jill drank the Kool-Aid" to "Jill gulped the Kool-Aid." Instead of "The sky turned orange as the sun set" use something like "The setting sun lit the sky in burning shades of orange."

    • Of course, using all these tricks takes a lot of thought and care. That means that to use them consistently, you've got to be passionate enough about the quality of your imagery to expend the effort. The tricks can be taught; this passion is the ingredient that really helps the writer take his work to the next level.


    Do you want more tips? Are you an author with useful techniques you would like to share? Beyond these technical suggestions, we can delve into plot development, character development, dialogue, etc.

  17. #17
    Harding
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Very good! Keep those tips coming!

    I have one. It irritates me greatly that many writers start their stories all in a similar fashion. Example:

    It was the summer holiday, and I had a job at the local town pool as a guard. I guess I should describe myself first, that's only fair: my name's Graig, I'm 18 years old and have blonde hair and blue eyes. I work out a lot, so my body is nicely muscled. Thanks to the summer job being an outdoors one, I have a nice tan. I get a lot of attention from the girls (they especially like to peek at my shorts, which are always tight around my hips and my big fat cock and balls). But I have no interest in the ladies. You guessed it: I'm gay.

    Everytime a story starts like that, I quit reading. There's no creativity in it, no challenge. The reader is left with nothing to fantasize about: the whole character has just been spelled out from A to Z. And by spelling out the character, the story itself becomes predictable: nine out of ten times the main character struggles with being gay, falls in love with a (straight) friend (or enemy), and in the end it's all sunshine and kisses.

    Personally, when the character is also the narrator, I simply let them start describing the environment, the situation they are in. I reveal very little about their appearance (unless it's part of the plot), leaving it up to the reader to imagine the characters.

    A quick example:

    The door opens out onto the roof and a strong wind comes rolling into the stairwell. She pushes the door open further, using all her strength and I set my hand next to hers so she can let go and step out on the roof.

    The view is gorgeous. The sky is dark grey with white streaks to it and rain can start falling any minute; but we are not concerned by this minor detail. Below us, the river flows slowly by in the direction of the sea. Cargo boats move over the water, carrying sand and grain and metal. We stand side by side, watching the traffic on both water and the bridge, much further away from us.

    She looks at me from the side, her hair behind her head in a ponytail. Her fingers touch my face for a moment; it still hurts, but the dark bruise already is lessening. Soon there will only be a scar left. A seagull flies past, and we follow it with our eyes. It soars high over the building then tumbles back down toward the the water. It’s playing on the strong winds, not bothered by us, his silent audience, or the first drops of water hitting the earth.

    Minutes later we step back into the stairwell. She hugs me, then lets go and starts walking downstairs. She never liked elevators. I watch her walk down. When she’s on the lower floor she turns around and looks up.

    ‘Are you not coming?’ she asks.

    ‘In a minute,’ I say, ‘I want to stay up here a little longer.’


    That's how it works best for me. Let the reader decide what the characteristics of the characters will be. Add dialogue, but not a big bulk of it at once. Have your characters interact with each other and their environment.

    I did a search for my own stories, and if you follow this link you will find more. It's not that they are all of the same standard, but they might be helpful - or even inspirational - for aspiring writers.

    http://www.justusboys.com/forum/sear...archid=6246029

  18. #18

    Re: Writing Tips

    I like the tips, and hope some consideration is given to making this a "sticky" thread. I agree with Tantiboh that proper grammar is a necessity.

    Grammar rules exist so that there is a uniform way to understand the language. With them, it is so much easier to lose oneself in a story. Additionally, punctuation (or lack thereof), can change the meaning of the entire sentence.

    For example, read the following two sentences:

    A woman without her man is nothing.
    A woman: without her, man is nothing.

    Both sentences use the same words in the same order, but mean very different things.

    Anyway, this is my 2 cents' worth. I will say that even when there are mistakes, I still enjoy reading the stories, and would encourage everyone to give writing a try.

  19. #19
    MikeyLove
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    Re: Writing Tips

    I was a B+ in English in High School, and now I have forgotten most of what I learned.

  20. #20
    ********* JUB Moderator Autolycus's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips

    I love it!

    I say that wrting hints and tips for developing a good style are invaluable.

    Here are some of the things I have to 'edit' on a regular basis:

    Hear - not- here and vis-versa

    Bare with me - means divest yourself - it's bear with me if you want someone's support.

    You're =You are not your!

    There they're sitting on their chairs [spot the correct usage of these words - they all sound the same]

    It's dangerous when the lion escapes from its cage. It's being the abbreviation of it is

    But then he was taller than me. These two words are frequently confused as people do not enunciate them properly when speaking. Speak clearly and you will write accordingly!

    There are over four million words in the English language so there' a great deal to remember - we can only scrape the surface in a life time. Why if we have four million do so many sound the same, I ask?

    Through - threw
    Write - right
    Sight - site
    Read-reed-read
    Two-too-to
    So-sew
    You-yew
    Hugh-hew
    goal = a score in football; whereas gaol can also be pronounced as jail if you are sent to prison in England.

    The bow of a ship is made from the bough of a tree from where Robin Hood shot his bow

    Until the Victorians decided to give English a set form for spelling and grammar you could write it as you pleased - they sure made life difficult and opened the door to folks who just love to find fault with others.

    Thank God that this site does not yet have sound or we should all start going on about pronunciation!

    All that being said, English is my favourite [favorite] subject as it is so much fun!

    Happy writing"



  21. #21
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    Re: Writing Tips

    When your words speak for themselves, stop typing.

    In other words, when what you have written says everything you wanted to stay, there is no need to add more just to make the story longer.

    Proofread

    I have tried to read a great number of stories online where it is obvious that the submitted stories were first-draught originals. For me, they are virtually impossible to read. . . and I don't.

    Don't make your readers pick up a dictionary

    It's nice to use a thesaurus once in awhile so that repetitive words don't become repetitive. However, try to stay away from words that nobody is likely to have ever heard of before, no matter how fancy it sounds and how smart it makes you look. If people have to translate everything you write into words they can read, they won't.

    Colloquialisms are fine as long as people will be able to figure out what you mean to say.

    For instance, in Watching Brad, I've used British English, Afrikaans, French, and 'Newfie', but, if it isn't obvious what is being said, yet it's still necessary to the story, I will either explain it in text or via a character.

    For instance, if Jan de Villiers says, "Ek het jou soveel verlang."

    I might have Ted say, "I missed you, too, Dad."

    Else I might have Brad ask, "What did he say?" to which Ted might respond, "He said, 'I missed you so much'."

    On the other hand, Ted might look at the clean livingroom and say, "Wow, Mom. You'd think the twins hadn't even been here all weekend." His mother might respond, "Oh, I just started dusting and bish bash bosh, the whole room was clean before I knew it."

    No need to translate 'bish bash bosh'. It's meaning is self-apparent.

    Character

    This isn't something easily learnt and I'm not even sure it can be taught. If you want to make your story enjoyable, your characters must be unique. Even identical twins aren't identical. Each character should have a unique way of moving and talking and, if you are writing your story in the first-person perspective, a unique style of writing.

    In many of my stories, I've been told that people know who is speaking simply by the way they speak. The way I do this is by imagining the entire thing in my mind as if I were watching a movie. I see them and I hear them, and then I write down what I see and hear.

    If all your characters and stories are the same, your readers will not only become confused, they will also become bored. Keep each one original.

    You can't please everyone

    So don't even try.

    Lie/Lay & You and Me/You and I

    To expand a bit on Autolycus' post, this isn't meant to criticise but to help people understand these words and phrases and which one to use and when. I don't mean to try to make you use them properly. I simply hope to help you understand which one to use and when to use it if you wish to learn to do so.

    Lie and Lay
    These two are often confused with each other, and it becomes even more confusing when you consider 'lie' as in 'falsify' and 'lie' as in 'recline'. Unfortunately, English has scrambled these and their confusing tenses until you give up and use the one which sounds best.

    Here's a simple breakdown:
    'Lie' - falsify (present tense - "Don't lie to me.")
    'Lied' - (past tense - "You lied to me!")

    'Lie' - recline (present tense - "I'm going to lie down.")
    'Lay' - (past tense - "He lay beside me all night long."

    'Lay' - to put into place (present tense - "I walk into the room. I lay the towels on the table there. I walk out again.")
    'Laid' - (past tense - "I laid the towels on the table.")

    You and Me/You and I

    What's an easy way to know which one to use and when?

    If you read Watching Brad, you know Ted is a bit of a stickler when it comes to this, and he seems to go to great lengths to correct people who use the incorrect phraseology and to educate them in the proper usage.

    Really, it's quite simple: Remove the other person from the equation and you will soon know which one is correct:

    Incorrect - "You and me went to the store." Remove 'you' from the sentence and you are left with "Me went to the store." Doesn't sound right, does it?

    Correct - "You and I went to the store." With 'you' out of the picture, "I went to the store."

    Incorrect - "Just between Fred and I. . ." Remove 'Fred' and you get "Just between I. . ." Nope. Doesn't work.

    Correct - "Just between Fred and me. . ." NOTE: In this case, when you remove 'Fred', you end up with "Just between me. . ." That sounds stupid, but it's certainly better than "Just between I. . ."

    Incorrect - "He gave it to Tony and I." Remove 'Tony' and you get, "He gave it to I."

    Correct - "He gave it to Tony and me." Now remove Tony and you get, "He gave it to me." Sounds perfect, eh?

    Try it when you write. You'll quickly catch on.

  22. #22
    imaguy
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Seriously you did a great work writing those tips tantiboh.They are a wonderful effort. Keep it up

  23. #23
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Character Development

    Thanks to those who have commented. We’ve got a great start on some technical tips, particularly grammatical.

    Let’s talk about character development. Harding already broached this, so I wanted to add my two cents.

    This is a tough topic because character development is deeply tied to the writer’s individual style and its effectiveness is subjective. All I can do is tell you what works for me, and admittedly, this is an area in which I struggle. My perspective is not the only one and my suggestions may not work for you, so take them for what they’re worth.

    Much of my advice depends on whether you are writing porn with some story, or a story with some porn. Porn with some story is easy; throw some dirty words in there and you’ve got a quickie that’ll get some people excited (as long as you follow some of my initial tips). Story with some porn is much more difficult, and for the purpose of these comments, that’s what I’ll be discussing.

    Along with Harding, I hate the dry exposition at the beginning of many stories. As he has suggested, a better idea is to launch right into the story. Leave detailed physical characteristics out of the description, unless there is a specific reason you want the reader to envision that particular trait. Otherwise, paint in broad strokes. This allows the reader to fill in the details with what -he- views as ideal. If the character is young, you might need to indicate that, since that will affect how the character interacts with the world. But don’t talk about the character’s amazing muscles (maybe the reader likes them slim) or the character’s stunning blue eyes (maybe the reader likes them brown) or the character’s humungous, veiny, thick, gorgeous, pre-cum-dripping , always-hard wondercock (maybe the reader likes them average – yes, there are some of us out there). Unless, of course, the wondercock is an important part of the character’s persona.

    Don’t insult the reader’s intelligence. For example, one of my pet peeves is when an author writes a “true” story and gives the three main characters nine inch penises. Please. We all know that average for us white guys is six inches. If you’re black you’ll have an extra inch. Unless they met online through a big-penis support group, three people who know each other having nine inch penises is literally a one-in-one-million shot. You want the character to be believable? Don’t stylize him with over dramatization.

    Try to -show- the character’s traits rather than simply -telling- them. If he’s a happy person, don’t say, “He’s a happy person.” Instead, have him smile and wave at the old lady across the street, or something that demonstrates the characteristic. If he’s physically fit, don’t say “he has a perfectly defined six-pack.” Find another way – maybe have him receive a compliment, or even check himself out in the mirror (come on, guys, we’ve all done it, though I can’t say as I particularly enjoy it anymore) and be pleased with the results of his hard work. ****** Don’t tell. The reader is smart. Treat him that way – let him infer.

    Another way to describe a character is to discuss what one character sees in another. For example, for one of my stories, the reader knows that a secondary character has green eyes. The reason is that those eyes are one thing that draws the main character to him – a point of attraction. The main character also sees a deep inner strength in the secondary character and begins to fall for him because of it. I use the main character’s -perceptions- to -show- these traits rather than just saying, “Bill liked Frank’s green eyes.”

    And to drive home the point, admit it: now that I’ve told you that the secondary character has green eyes and a deep inner strength, you’ve already begun constructing a mental image of him. That mental image is very attractive to you, but I guarantee he looks nothing like my mental image. When I come out and tell you that the secondary character has a rounded face, a goatee, defined abs, powerful arms, a great ass, dark brown hair, a thirty-two inch waist, is five feet eleven inches tall, and is wearing a t-shirt, slacks, and black tennis shoes, and has a mole on the inside of his left thigh, well, that’s all well and good for me… but he’s not half so attractive to you now, is he?

    As much as you can, when it comes to physical characteristics, let the reader paint the picture. Give him a rough outline, but let him fill in the rest.

    The other half of the character is his personality. There, you can take control. You have to. The character does things in your story, and you have to give him a personality that explains why he reacts the way he does to the world around him. Those reactions may be part of painting that personality, but ultimately, you need to demonstrate to the reader -who- the character is. Once again, don’t say, “He was mad all the time.” Show an incident where he kicks over a bucket in frustration.

    For a short story, you don’t have a lot of time to flesh out these details, so of necessity you usually have to be somewhat vague – though if you have the talent to effectively create these details within the constraints of a short story then more power to you. For a longer story, though, you can really construct a character, give him a voice and a worldview of his own, and bring him to life. If you are writing a longer story, you -must- do this. Here’s why.

    All literature and drama is merely a means of exploring how people react to given situations. In Star Trek, we don’t really care about phasers and photon torpedoes. We care about how Captain Picard is going to rescue Beverly Crusher. We care about the -people-. We care about how House reacts when his patient loses his hand. We don’t care about the medicine. The characters are why we tune in week after week. That’s why soap operas and reality TV are so successful - because we become attached to the characters.

    If you’re writing a longer story, the only way to maintain the reader’s interest is if they become sufficiently familiar with the characters that they begin to identify with them and care about what happens to them. That’s why you must invest the time to develop the characters if you want anybody to care how the story ends. Without this, I’d guess you’ve got four installments tops before people start dropping out. I learned this lesson the hard way.

    Now, here’s where I struggle. Just how do you go about developing your character such that people actually care what happens to him? There are other authors here that can give better insight than I, but what works for me is to just make the character real and glory in all the human messiness that reality brings. Give him human faults and quirks and passions. Perhaps you’ll use someone you know as a template. Maybe the character’s personality will be made up of aspects of many different people in your life. After he’s real, give him situations to deal with that the reader can relate to. Break his heart, or teach him about love, or get him into a fight. When the reader sees how the character reacts to these situations, the reader begins to identify. That’s when they become drawn in. If your story happens to be true, then all this is pretty easy, because you don’t have to make anything up. If your story is fiction, then it’s really not that much harder – you just need your imagination and a shot of empathy to understand how the reader will relate.

    An important concept to master in order to get the reader to care, though, is that you can’t tell the story like you’re an eyewitness at the crime scene. Get into the character’s head. Write what he’s thinking. Explore the confusion from his not knowing everything. Have him try to muddle through why his heart beats faster, or why he wants to cry, or why he’s confused. Give the reader an intimate viewport into the character’s soul and what makes him tick.

    So that’s my character development advice, for what it’s worth. Any other ideas?

  24. #24
    MikeyLove
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Any pointers and advice on writing an Autobiography?

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    Re: Writing Tips

    ^ I should think that all of the tips listed in this thread apply to autobiographies as well.

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    Re: Writing Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by 1big14me View Post
    Any pointers and advice on writing an Autobiography?
    Not having done it myself, by best guess on how to approach an autobiography is that you need to answer this question: Why do I give a damn about you?

    It's not enough that you're a great guy, or that you've got a great story. If I'm going to care enough to read about you, then I need to be able to relate to you. I need to understand you well enough that I want to know what happens to you.

    The best analogy I can come up with is this: You'll speak with a friend about their life and problems because you care about them - you can relate to them, and you empathize with them. If a stranger off the street were to try to engage you in the same conversation, you'd run away as fast as you could. Likewise, I need to care about you if I'm going to read a book about your life. So, if you're not a celebrity, how do you go about making me care? That's the challenge.

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    ********* JUB Moderator Autolycus's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by tantiboh View Post
    Not having done it myself, by best guess on how to approach an autobiography is that you need to answer this question: Why do I give a damn about you?

    It's not enough that you're a great guy, or that you've got a great story. If I'm going to care enough to read about you, then I need to be able to relate to you. I need to understand you well enough that I want to know what happens to you.

    The best analogy I can come up with is this: You'll speak with a friend about their life and problems because you care about them - you can relate to them, and you empathize with them. If a stranger off the street were to try to engage you in the same conversation, you'd run away as fast as you could. Likewise, I need to care about you if I'm going to read a book about your life. So, if you're not a celebrity, how do you go about making me care? That's the challenge.
    That being said, why have I a copy of Chairman Mao's biography - why have I read more than one biography of Adolf Hitler. Not because I empathize with either but I am interested in them as historical figures. Of course, these are not autobiographies.



  28. #28
    MikeyLove
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Thanks Guys, just needed info, because I wanted to write mostly about my struggles and coming out.

  29. #29
    marleyisalegend
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    Re: Writing Tips

    As far as dialogue, it could potentially be hurtful to obssess over grammar. A story about a conversation between a Bostonian, a New Yorker, a Californian and a South Carolinian would be completely and utterly flat if each person spoke in the exact same manner, same verbage, same phrasing, same sentence structure, same speech patterns, all speaking with perfect grammar.

    Applying different dialects is an easy way to give your characters a little dimension. A conversation between a lawyer and a stock brocker would be written in one manner which should be completely different from a conversation between a 13 year old and a petty criminal, even if both groupings are having the same, exact conversation.

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    Re: Writing Tips

    That's a great point, Marley. A lot of grammar rules can be thrown out the window with dialogue, because most of us don't speak grammatically. And, as you say, different styles of bad grammar can add a lot of depth to the character. That said, unless it's something like a Southern drawl contraction, you still need to have appropriate spelling, punctuation, and capitalization or the reader won't be able to follow as easily.

  31. #31
    marleyisalegend
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    Re: Writing Tips

    ^I agree 100% that non-dialogue should follow every rule of grammar to make the story easy to follow, dialogue is the only part that allows flexibility.

  32. #32
    AllNaturalMuscle
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by tantiboh View Post
    The idea for this thread came from a PM another member sent me. If he was interested in getting some tips, I thought, maybe others would like the discussion. If the topic proves sufficiently popular, perhaps Autolycus will see fit to make it a sticky thread. The goal is to help boost the overall quality of the writing of all the authors on this forum using constructive, practical suggestions.

    Here are some common techniques you can use to improve your writing.

    • First, you've got to use good grammar and a clear writing style. That allows the reader to concentrate on building a mental image rather than wasting their mind on trying to figure out what you're trying to say. Make the effort to use proper punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Mistakes happen and a few are expected, but if you don't even try to follow the rules, you can't expect to be taken seriously and your sloppy style will only distract the reader.

    • Try to use senses. Smell, for example, is very effective at hooking the reader. The phrase "The dark, moldy cellar" is much less effective than "The dark cellar reeked of mold." Instead of "The loud music hurt his ears" try "His ears ached as the music's beat hammered at them."

    • You've got to do your damnedest to eliminate passive tense. It takes some practice to get the hang of, and sometimes there's no comfortable way to get around it, but whenever you see any conjugation of the verb "to be" consider it a red flag. For example, revise "The storm cloud was bearing down on the village" to "The storm cloud bore down on the village." Revise "It was beaten to a pulp by Julio" to "Julio beat it to a pulp." That trick has the side benefit of making your verbiage tighter and more compact, which improves readability.

    • The final trick is more stylistic and is dependent on your vocabulary. Try to use words and phrases that the reader can visualize. For example, instead of "Mike punched Joe's face," use "Mike clobbered Joe's face." Change "Jill drank the Kool-Aid" to "Jill gulped the Kool-Aid." Instead of "The sky turned orange as the sun set" use something like "The setting sun lit the sky in burning shades of orange."

    • Of course, using all these tricks takes a lot of thought and care. That means that to use them consistently, you've got to be passionate enough about the quality of your imagery to expend the effort. The tricks can be taught; this passion is the ingredient that really helps the writer take his work to the next level.


    Do you want more tips? Are you an author with useful techniques you would like to share? Beyond these technical suggestions, we can delve into plot development, character development, dialogue, etc.
    Use the active voice. Write clearly and concisely. It is the most important of all these valuable rules.

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    Re: Writing Tips

    Don't get carried away with dialogue. Here is one of the most helpful articles I have found:

    http://www.bkedits.com/dialogue.html

    Excerpt:

    You're also going to look at the places where you don't have, "said," but some other verb instead: shouted, intoned, chirped, fluted, shrieked, purred, whispered, hissed, oiled, and on and on.

    You got it. Most of those have to go. Especially the ones you like best. There is a place for verbs that tell how something was spoken, but it's a small place, and it only has room for a few words.

    "Caroline," he said.

    "Caroline," he whispered.

    "Caroline!" he shouted.

    Or maybe he has a cold. "Caroline," he croaked.

    But for the most part, with some exceptions, you don't need fancy verbs to tell how something was spoken. You can use "said" a thousand times, without its being as noticeable as a habit of substituting other words. By the time your characters have chuckled, screeched, murmured, sneered, bellowed, and hissed their way through half a chapter, the writers will be wincing at every quote. You'll have a kind of written tic, distracting to the reader and impossible to ignore.

    Now you have a lot more times when you've used "said." If you think there are too many, check to see if you've missed opportunities to show who's speaking in other ways.

    You may not need to attribute the speech. If only two people are talking, quite a few speeches can be left unattributed, because it will be obvious from paragraphing and tone of voice who is speaking. Just don't leave out so many that the reader has to count back with his finger.

  34. #34
    On the Prowl ukbrit's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Hi Guys, I hope this question can be answered in this section. I am working on a story that I am hoping to put on here soon.
    One question that has just occurred to me is can I use REAL place names, ie names of Hotels, Clubs, Restaurants etc or would I be violating some law???
    Hope you can help or I will have to come up with a lot of false names etc to replace them with.
    Thanks.
    Jeff..

  35. #35
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    Re: Writing Tips

    You might try PMing Autolycus for a quick answer.

    I know people have referred to Harvard - a story you and I had a discourse over a bit ago. And various assorted franchise restaurants that don't point to a specific unit have frequently been used - i.e. Denny's, McDonald's, Arby's, Walmart, etc.

    I don't believe that referring to real places in a story is a violation of the bylaws - certainly Neil aka GSDX has talked about the landscape of South Eastern/Central Ontario province in his epic tale Watching Brad.

    He regularly refers to Wendy's, Tim Horton's Kentucky Fried Chicken; he has referred to the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, The Peterboro Zoo and Locks, and many other places in Ontario.

    But, I'm neither moderator nor staff. The other place you could post for an authortative answer would be the "Ask the Moderators" thread at the bottom of the Forum listings.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

  36. #36
    On the Prowl ukbrit's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Thanks Don for the tips, will take your advice and give a pm to Autolycus.
    Many thanks.
    Jeff.

  37. #37
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by HenryReardon View Post
    Don't get carried away with dialogue.
    If there is any advice I could give it is to get rid of dialogue tags, he said/she said/(insert name here) said, as much as possible.

    There are other ways to show who is speaking other then using dialogue tags.

    John walked into the room, "Hey Mike, are you going to the gym today?"

    "No, I hurt my back this morning."

    "Man... sorry to hear that, what happened?"

    "I tripped and fell."
    You see by the first person to speak addressing the other person, tells you who is speaking. As long as the quotes are closed at the end of each dialogue, then the next set of dialogue is other person speaking.

    Another thing could be to give a character a catch phrase, that shows up in the dialogue a lot.

    With a bit of practice you can write multiple people having conversations without using dialogue tags.

    “God Dammit, Jefferson! We are trying to find a new receiver, not bury another one!” yelled Coach. Coach was running up to me. However, before he got within five yards, I had already gotten up. “Hey son, you ok.”

    “Yes sir! I’m ok.”

    “By God, boy, you can take a Hit!”

    “Now you see why I want him, right Coach. Good hands, fast on his feet, and tough as an ox.” James, the quarterback, had run up too.

    “Ok, back to the line people! Next play!”
    Did you need the tags to pick out the coach? not really... he is loud boisterous one. And yelled coach is not really a tag, but it is a great example of a substitute.


    One more thing, and I know it has been talked about already, but when you are writing, Show don't Tell!
    When he got out of school he jumped in his car and drove to Jason's house.

    or

    Coby walked into the parking lot, the throng of students heading to their transports home. The sun was out and it was a perfect day to drive with the top down. The wind in his hair, driving down across from the beach. After a few minutes he arrived at small two story house. Getting out of his car, he walked to the front door, to be greeted by his best friend Jason.
    Now yes I know I'm exaggerating here, but of the two descriptions which one is more interesting?

    Don't tell us that James is sick. Have James coughing and blowing his nose, or running to the bathroom all the time.

    Last... to continue the grammar discussion. Rightly so Dialogue is a prime example of breaking the rules. First person stories also can break grammar rules. First person is basically one big monologue.

    Just my $.02

    Joshua
    http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/1057/sig2cy9.jpg

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    Re: Writing Tips

    ^Good suggestions, Joshua. Your points about dialogue tags are excellent.

    I would recommend caution in taking your suggestion that first-person stories can break grammar rules. Some people can pull that off without muddling up the story, but it's not easy.

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    Re: Writing Tips

    Descriptive Writing

    One thing I do well is writing descriptively. I get some compliments around here, but the truth is it’s not that hard. You do have to put some thought into it and you have to break some old habits, but the concepts boil down to a few simple rules. I’ve mentioned some of them to some extent in the past, but I figured anyone who’s interested in improving their writing technique might be interested in some expansion on the suggestions, so here it is. Some of the rules can be bent or broken, but by applying a consistent effort at using them where possible you’ll see the quality of your writing improve by leaps and bounds overnight.


    1.) Eliminate passive voice.

    This is probably the easiest rule to obey; anyone who graduated high school should know to avoid passive voice in most situations. Passive voice is when the noun doesn’t act on the subject directly. It’s usually characterized by the combination of the verb ‘to be’ and the word ‘by.’ (Did you sharp grammarians catch that?) Examples:
    - The paper was read by the teacher.

    - The book was written by Bob.

    - I was given an A.

    These are easy to rewrite in a form that makes your text more interesting to read and that transfers the action being taken on the subject directly to the noun:

    - The teacher read the paper.

    - Bob wrote the book.

    - I earned an A.

    You can usually spot all your passive voice sentences by scanning for conjugations of the verb ‘to be’ (is, was, were, will be, etc.).


    2.) Eliminate all forms of the verb ‘to be.’

    While we’re on the topic, any use of the verb ‘to be’ in descriptive writing is typically bad. Sometimes you can’t get around using it, but usually a little creative rewriting is all it takes to eliminate the verb and jazz up your sentence. One useful flag to look for is the gerund – any word ending in –ing. Gerunds almost always come with ‘to be.’ Examples:

    - I was doing my homework.

    - It was raining.

    - The dog was running while Doug watched.

    Rewritten is better:

    - I did my homework.

    - It rained.

    - The dog ran while Doug watched.

    You might say, “Well, I want to indicate that the subject is actually in the middle of doing something at the time.” Alright, that might be an exception to the rule, but try to minimize it. Remove ‘to be’ and see if it works; if you lose any important meaning, put it back. But you might be surprised at how seldom you really need it.


    3.) Make nouns work.

    This is a stylistic point that’s open to interpretation, but when you write action try to choose nouns that the reader can visualize – use nouns actually do something. For example:

    - Gary opened the door.

    - I read the book.

    - Jodie looked surprised.

    I think we can do better than that:

    - Gary swung the door open.

    - I devoured the book.

    - Jodie gawked.

    Not too tough, right? You’ve got a good vocabulary; don’t be afraid to use it.


    4.) Use the senses.

    This is probably the most difficult of the rules to implement, but with some effort you can get into the habit. Your goal is to try to put the reader into the situation. The best way to do that is to describe the setting in terms that the reader has experienced – and that means exploiting the reader’s senses. Use descriptions that the reader can actually imagine experiencing. Examples:

    - Mike heard the bells.

    - Joe chewed the jerky.

    - Bill crept into the dirty cellar.

    How drab. Let’s make it more interesting:

    - Mike smiled as the bells rang brightly in the winter air.

    - Joe’s jaw ached as his teeth ground into the tough strip of jerky.

    - Bill paused as the moldy cellar air assaulted him.

    This rule is where you really have the chance to craft an image – it’s where you can treat your text as a work of art. Enjoy the opportunity!

    One interesting note is that the most effective sense to use if you really want to transport the reader to the scene is smell. Smell is unique among the senses in that it bypasses the thalamus – that means it has a more direct connection to the memory centers of the brain. It’s why we love comfort food or the smell of coffee or a certain cologne or whatever the trigger. If you really want to stimulate the reader, appeal to his sense of smell.


    5.) Get compact.

    There are a lot of words that are just fluff. You can simply drop them without any loss of meaning. It’s important to make the effort because every single unnecessary word is static in your message to the reader. If you use too many your reader gets bored and loses the message. Try to pack as much meaning as possible into as few words as possible. For instance:

    - He was now ready for anything.

    - I didn’t want to eat just then.

    - Joe has a lot of things on his to-do list.

    Hmmm… Get the axe:

    - He was ready for anything.

    - I didn’t want to eat.

    - Joe is busy.

    It’s all a balancing act – if you need the words in order to convey your meaning, then by all means use them. If they’re fluff, chop them out. The reader won’t care if your story is a half a page shorter, particularly if it’s more interesting.

    ---

    Let’s apply the rules to a specific case and see what comes out. Here’s our starting sentence:

    “Joe was just looking at his watch when the man was hit really hard by the bus.”

    Alright, it’s grammatically correct and easy to understand, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.

    1. Eliminate passive voice:

    “Joe was just looking at his watch when the bus hit the man really hard.”

    2. Eliminate all forms of the verb ‘to be:’

    “Joe just looked at his watch when the bus hit the man really hard.

    3. Make nouns work:

    “Joe just stared at his watch when the bus plowed into the man really hard.”

    4. Use the senses:

    “Joe just stared at his watch when the Greyhound plowed really hard into the man with a sickening crunch.”

    5. Get compact:

    “Joe stared at his watch as the Greyhound plowed into the man with a sickening crunch.”

    So we’re a word or so longer than our original sentence but it’s a lot more interesting and readable. In many cases, you’ll find your final version considerably shorter than the original.

    As mentioned earlier, implementing these rules takes practice and some self-discipline. As you break your old habits, though, you’ll find yourself enjoying the process of crafting a story.

    Hope this helps!

  40. #40
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Tantiboh,
    Are you a part time professor at Abi's college now, too?

    That reminds me - my son will actually be teaching a Freshman Writing Seminar -joint English and Philosophy dept at his alma mater this fall.

    He's got quite a reading list prepared for them -- too bad he couldn't include JUB in the list -- just think of the different "philosophical" perspectives we bring to the table! lol.

    Thanks for taking the time to add to your writing tips thread. I've encouraged a few prospective authors to stop by and pick up some tips from you, Autlycus, and the others.


    And I know, if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest . . .

  41. #41
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    Re: Writing Tips

    what i'd recommend is always have something special about and ending of a chapter/general ending.


    you could do this by:

    -Linking a line from the beginning to the end
    eg.
    his eyes were pools of sparkling blue sea............................................... .................
    .................................................. ......................But the thing that got me most was the colour of his eyes. Those sea blue eyes.

    -Make the ending short and snappy
    eg. He ran away.

    -Leave it on a cliffhanger/make the reader want more
    eg. What on the earth was he planning to do?


    Thats all I can think of for some writing tips

  42. #42
    ********* JUB Moderator Autolycus's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips

    As my grammar check tended to kick out passive sentences, I asked my English Professor if they were that bad.

    His response was that passive sentences are OK!

    Don't overlook the fact that when writing fiction involving speech, it needs to be natural - folk do not speak with precise grammar 100% of the time and a story is not necessarily a work of grammatical perfection nor a legal document that has to be totally and utterly precise but merely to be clearly understood.



  43. #43
    jatonelton
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    Re: Writing Tips

    Any pointers and advice on writing an Autobiography?

  44. #44
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    Re: Writing Tips

    ^ First and foremost, nobody is more qualified to write your autobiography than you are. (Thank you, Star Trek: TNG )

    The best advice I can give you, though, is to let your story write itself. Don't make things up.

  45. #45
    On the Prowl citizen-seth's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips & Story Help

    I'm not sure if this is the right thread of not, but I've been reading stories here for a while and I think I'm finally ready to post my own. I'm wondering if there would be someone that would be willing to read what I have before I post it? I'd really like to get some info on what I could improve on before my story's "premier."

    Thanks!

  46. #46
    justaguy
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    Re: Writing Tips & Story Help

    For erotic fiction, do you guys reckon it is better to use first person or third person narrative?
    First person - include yourself in the story. Use I or we.
    Third person - look at the story from outside. Use he, she, characters by name etc.

  47. #47

    Re: Writing Tips & Story Help

    Thanks for the story writing tips on this page.

  48. #48
    ********* JUB Moderator Autolycus's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips & Story Help

    Quote Originally Posted by justaguy View Post
    For erotic fiction, do you guys reckon it is better to use first person or third person narrative?
    First person - include yourself in the story. Use I or we.
    Third person - look at the story from outside. Use he, she, characters by name etc.

    There are advantages to be derived from both forms:

    When the story is written in the first person, the author is able to describe in detail the feelings, desires, reactions of his main character with a great deal of reality.

    However, when there is an omniscient narrator, the author is privy to the thoughts of all his characters and is able to have access to motives and events while describing what is going on at different places, something not normally available to point of view or first person narratives.

    There is also what is called 'an intrusive narrator'. In this case the writer can go a stage further and comment on the significance of the story, or allow the story to comment on some element of general morality thereby actually interrupting the narrative.



  49. #49
    JUB Addict EasyRory's Avatar
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    Re: Writing Tips & Story Help

    I asked a question in the wrong thread so I'll reask it here.

    How disruptive do English-speaking non-Americans find Americanisms in erotic fiction? For example, ass for arse, pants for trousers.

    Would a publisher be better off publishing North American, UK, and perhaps Australian versions of the same story? Maybe it's possible to avoid most of these differences.

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    Re: Writing Tips & Story Help

    Quote Originally Posted by EasyRory View Post
    I asked a question in the wrong thread so I'll reask it here.

    How disruptive do English-speaking non-Americans find Americanisms in erotic fiction? For example, ass for arse, pants for trousers.

    Would a publisher be better off publishing North American, UK, and perhaps Australian versions of the same story? Maybe it's possible to avoid most of these differences.
    I'm an American, so I'll confine my comments to matters of fact and observation.

    Publishers do print different versions, but they tend to leave words like that intact. If I set my story in New York City, a knowledgeable reader is going to think I'm just ignorant if the characters say that the lorry driver was shot in the temple with a catapult and dumped in the boot of a car. Same if I set the story in London and they say truck, slingshot, trunk.

    What they do tend to change are cultural references that the transoceanic audience won't get. For example, in the UK the first Harry Potter book was called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Apparently everyone in Britain, including children, knows the alchemical meaning of that term. When they transferred it to the US they called it Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, because apparently we're a bunch of stupid ignorant gits most of us don't know that.
    ____
    If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities. -- Voltaire (1694-1778).

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