This is the place to tell about your Write-a-thon progress.
I did it all. In reviewing my goals, I made them all, with a few words or more to spare.
I did some heavy-duty revision and wrote and "finished" two new stories, as well as blogged, and all that.
If you bet against me, it is time to pay up. Please make your tax-deductable donation to Clarion West, and when you do, please mention me.
I apologize for not being better at posting my progress, but that passed me by. I also was helping build the new cooler shed (out of steel, what fun) on weekends.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in filigrees of silver.
Prov. xxv. 11
So I wrote upwards of 22,000 e-words, and some indeterminate (but much smaller) number of words on paper, and that's all well and good. More importantly, I accomplished my primary goal of writing for at least half an hour each day before spending any time on my day job, and my secondary goal of starting a new story each week. But the really phenomenal news is that I'm not done. The end of the Write-a-thon came and went, and I'm still writing for at least half an hour every day, before spending any time on my day job. It's part of my routine now. Can I keep it up until the start of next year's Write-a-thon? Stay tuned.
Oh, yes, and while raising money for Clarion West was not among my goals, some people did actually give money on my behalf. Thank you, guys!!
I managed to acquire 25.5K words on the novel over the past six weeks, a little over double of my initial goal of 12K. I'm feeling pretty successful--writing turned out to be easier than I thought once I let go of the perfectionist tendencies and agreed to fix everything on the next draft.I plan to continue the daily writing, with the goal of finishing the entire thing by Dec. 31st.
Now, if only I could get with the program on these dresses I am still sewing for the wedding.
I managed to get 34,000 words done on the new draft of the novel, just under 6,000 a week, when I was shooting for 7500. Four of the weeks I made or exceeded my goals, and two I was way under. But I've been plagued by hardware problems these last few weeks. Not only did my new / old iBook die in the middle of the Write-a-Thon, last week our Internet stopped working (it was supposed to be an upgrade). We are surviving through neighbors and cell phones. :-/
So given the trials and tribulations (sinking in a gentle pool of wine) I'm inclined to be happy with how I did.
I was up until 5 am on Friday but I finished rewriting through p 401 of my novel Hel's Bet. I am over halfway through my rewrite and I've got good momentum going.
I am spreading the word that I hit my goal and hope a few friends donate to CW.
Thanks for running the Write-a-thon. It was very motivating.
Old-school game programmer currently rewriting a novel, Hel's Bet: http://helsbet.com
Member of the art byproducts syndicate Channel Zilch: http://channelzilch
I said I would write six stories in six weeks, and I just - two whole hours before midnight on July 31st, UK time - sent out story six to my sponsors!! This in spite of the death of my laptop at the end of week 2 which meant the last four stories were written in the space of two weeks, although fortunately two weeks when I was on holiday in a friend's house. A lovely friend who left me alone with an imac, a broadband connection, and a boxed set of the West Wing.
I have no idea how much money I will have raised this year - not much, I imagine - but my personal goal for this year was to kickstart my writing habit again. So i'm very grateful to Clarion and the writeathon for the well placed boot in the rear end that got me going.
WEEK 3-6 REPORT
I threw a few roadblocks in my own path, and an unexpected, very serious new family situation has arisen (I've been asked not to discuss it; my thanks for your thoughts & prayers for our family).
However, despite being out of town for over two weeks total for Readercon and a family/friends trip to NY state (during which we needed to make arrangements at Dad's grave & with the family plot; got to visit Dad's grave twice this trip), and spending almost another two weeks working insane hours to allow me to leave work, I did struggle as hard as possible and managed to accomplish certain goals. Today is not over, but I'm going to be offline for some time, so I'm reporting now.
Time worked, weeks 3-6:
Novel idea drafting--21 hr. 5 min.
Story meant to be completed in Week Two, henceforth known as Story A--11 hr. 5 min.
Story meant to be completed in Week Four, henceforth known as Story B--5 hr. 25 min.
Ideas for further stories--3 hr. 5 min.
Poems--2 hr. 55 min.
Minor revision of a second story (since I had another minor revision to report in Week Two, this shall be known as Revision B)--2 hr. 15 min.
Total for weeks 3-6=45 hr. 50 min.
(This is a pitiful showing for four weeks.)
Entire WAT Time Totals:
Novel drafting--36 hr. 20 min.
Story A--25 hr. 15 min.
Story B--5 hr. 25 min.
Ideas for future stories: 3 hr. 5 min.
Revision A--2 hr. 45 min.
Revision B--2 hr. 15 min.
Poems--13 hr. 30 min.
Total WAT--88 hr. 35 min.
(Just for comparison, before all the sadness, I used to be able to put in about 35-45 hours a week on top of my full-time job--sometimes 55 when I had a hot deadline and cancelled all my social appointments. This is not meant as a complaint, just an observation so you can see where this falls on my personal satisfaction meter.)
Poems: WAT goal six new poems completed; I finished six new poems, wrote four additional rough drafts for future completion, rewrote two existing poems, and am currently in the middle of a very long and extensive rewrite of a three-part poem
Revised stories: These weren't on the menu at all, but by tonight I'll have finished Revision B, so I'll have altered, revised, or updated two existing stories. These really can't count toward my story goal, however, as they amount to mere fiddling, and have not resulted in the production of new narrative, let alone the completion of new projects, which is what I was trying to spark with this WAT.
Novel drafting: WAT total should be 41 hr.; completed 36 hr. 20 min. as of this morning, but the additional 3 hr. 40 min. will be easily finished before the week is out
Ideas sketched for future stories: I've sketched out the basic ideas for two stories, as well as jotting down several nuggets for future story consideration. During the course of the WAT, I had intended to brainstorm two stories, one for completion in weeks 5-6, and one for future use.
Not yet achieved:
Stories: WAT goal specified two completely new stories from scratch, and one thoroughly rewritten story (a totally new draft of my CW week 5 story). I have one completely new story in progress, and the total rewrite is in progress as well. Both are still in the very beginnings of the first-draft phase, with lots of ideas sketched out and organized and very little actual new narrative completed.
Time put in: This was not specified so exactly, but in order to complete the anticipated goals, I estimated that I would need about 35 hours a week. This would have amounted to about 210 hours total. My 88+ hours are thus about 42% of the necessary amount.
The things that I did achieve--the novel drafting, which was actually all in the brainstorming/idea mode rather than actual narrative; the story brainstorming, which is likewise as easy as daydreaming and does not involve narrative; and the poems, which are the only things I seem to complete these days with any regularity--were the background, baseline things that I included so that I would have something to fall back on that I was certain I could achieve.
Where the WAT really fell apart for me were the stories. I had set what I thought were low goals for the stories, putting the baseline activities at a low level so that I would have plenty of time to work on new stories. Aside from one Sherlock Holmes story that I finished in a frenzy of needing desperately to focus on something else after Grandma's death, I have not completed a single new story since Dad's death. Unfortunately, I still seem to lack the necessary concentration to complete new work (of any length greater than a poem). Only part of the blame can be laid at the feet of the crazy schedule I've maintained the last several weeks. Whenever I had the opportunity to write, I should have put in time creating new material for the short stories. However, even when I worked on those, most of my time was spend in the idea-drafting/brainstorming mode, rather than on creating new narrative. The entire WAT has been mostly brainstorming, except for the poems. It's good to keep this going, to keep some hand in, but it's not actually writing, which is far harder and more rigorous; it's really more like daydreaming on paper, just jotting down thoughts, not shaping them or forcing myself to think about structure, plotting, pacing, how to make every word count, etc. It's true that I've had a lot to deal with and suffer through, but at a certain point I need to break through and find my way back to narrative. That was what I had intended to push through with this WAT. In that sense, I have failed. I am very sorry.
I'm extra sorry because I have some very kind and generous sponsors, and I wanted so much to be able to complete this for them. Knowing that they (indeed, all of you) were rooting for me gave me that much more will to succeed. I still want to finish my goals for my sponsors--for all of you--and so, read on.
Several of my CW WAT fellows have plans to reschedule missed weeks from the WAT at a later date. Summer is a particularly bad time for non-CW attendees to attempt to mirror the workshop, with all the necessary conferences and trips that are always scheduled during these dates in addition to full-time jobs, but I knew about one of my two trips going in, so there is little excuse for me this year.
I see nothing wrong with people completing their promised weeks at a postponed time. In future, I am considering actually scheduling my personal WAT at a more reasonable time before the workshop, say April-May, and then "unveiling" the accomplishments for the appropriate weeks during the official WAT.
This year, given the circumstances, I don't feel that I can reschedule time missed per se, because 1) I made no announcements or plans to do so; 2) I actually kept working the whole time, just at too slow and unfocused a pace; and 3) with the current family situation we're facing, I don't know precisely when I could reschedule.
However, I do want to make good on my goals, for my own sake and also for yours.
Therefore, I'm going to try again.
I will take these same goals and put them into motion during six weeks this fall. I'll let you know as soon as I can settle on some dates, and will report my progress at the Gardner Castle listserv (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gardnercastle/).
Meanwhile, I'm going to forge ahead with the story goals I have not yet completed for the current, official WAT. When I finish them and when I am able to get online, I will report at the Gardner Castle listserv. This is my first priority, and I will be striving hard toward these goals regardless of other stresses, so my plan is that I will at the very least finish these promised stories before anything else.
I do thank you all very much for encouraging me, for supporting me as sponsors, for reading these posts, and for having patience with my struggles. It has actually meant a great deal to me to be able to strive to participate this year, even though I didn't live up to expectations. I don't know that I would have had the impetus to keep pushing forward regardless of difficulties if not for the extra strength I got from knowing that you were all listening and cheering me on. I am actually back on much more of a normal writing schedule, thanks to you, even if I am not yet completing new stories. I will be thinking of you as I push forward and strive to offer new work to the world.
Lyn C. A. Gardner
Don't know how I made that mistake, but the total left to complete the novel drafting goal is actually 4 hr. 40 min. I will finish during the day tomorrow. Also, I failed to accurately report on how much of Story A was new draft. I actually did write a number of potential scenes on paper before I typed it up and started working on the revisions on the computer. It's hard to say exactly how much narrative I did complete because for every page of narrative I had at least five or six that were just jotted ideas; and many of those scenes won't appear, or won't be recognizable, in the final product. Nevertheless, by the end of week two, I had actually moved forward and felt that I was going to complete that story. Things just feel worse right now for many reasons.
I'm right on track to meet my target of rewriting up to page 400 in Hel's Bet. I hit page 376 tonight. Feels good to be productive.
Another week, another 3700 words under my belt for a total of nearly 23K thus far. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that I will surpass 24K by the end of next week, which is double my initial goal.
Now to just make it happen.
I am on-track to hit my goal of rewriting through page 400 of Hel's Bet. I'm on page 357/762 and have good momentum. I'll be hitting the halfway point in my rewrite this week!
I get to introduce a new evil character called Gogol in the next chapter. He's working on a hacker/neuroplastic tech called the Zombie Meatnet.
Tardiest progress report yet! Setting new records every week!
But who cares about progress reports? I'm well into Week 5 and still tracking my (admittedly modest) writing goals!
But who cares about goals? In the pursuit of my main goal, writing at least half an hour every morning before going to work, I've succeeded in rearranging my morning routine so that this can go on happening indefinitely! Yes! There will be writing after the Write-a-Thon ends. Woohoo!
I won't say I've succeeded beyond my wildest dreams, because this was in fact my wildest dream for the Write-a-Thon. I'm finally writing every day, and it only took me 14 years.
Don't recall when I last posted. Writing is sporadic but getting my goals met. New workshop good. Thankfully, no personal disasters, yet. Trying to stave them off.
Love to all, I have not be able to get to CW programs except the last party on Friday. BooHoo. Yes. I tweet.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in filigrees of silver.
Prov. xxv. 11
...with 4825 for the week. I've surpassed the wordcount I achieved at Clarion (18K, iirc) and while 18.3K words may not sound like a lot for four weeks of work, that's an amazing amount for me. I am a slow writer--and horrifically slow when my WIPs refuse to cooperate.
If I did this routinely, I could churn out a novel a year.
Hope everyone else is achieving a similar amount of progress!
My health hasn't been up to my ambitious original goal of finishing my rewrite of Hel's Bet so I am setting a still-ambitious but doable new goal: rewrite the first 400 pages.
I've been making slow but steady progress, scribblinb away almost every day. I'm happy with the quality of my writing. Reader feedback has been enthusiastic. As much as I cut, the book continues to grow - it's going to be 175k.
I'm at page 304 now so finishing 96 more in 13 days is ambitious.
Back to smuggling space shuttle Enterprise into Russia! Working on an action sequence in Istanbul today.
Be sure to check out my daughter's webcomic Space Explorer: http://spaceexplorercomic.com
For three weeks now (more, actually, because as usual I'm late checking in) I've written for at least half an hour each morning. Five times this week I took the bit between my teeth and went on for an hour or more. Remembering that I like this. Even though it's scary. I've started a story a week, but I'm spending most of my time on the story I started in Week 2.
So I'm more than halfway, still meeting or exceeding my goals day by day, with one troubling exception: One morning this week I got up, calmly went to the computer, and started doing stuff for my employer instead of writing. Caught myself after less than ten minutes, but still. And I'm supposedly on vacation, spending time with my grandchildren, not working. Pfui.
Still and all, I'm feeling more and more confident that this is a pattern I can sustain for the long haul. I'm not going to let an occasional slip derail me.
P.S. The missing character in the spam blocker this morning is the 'u' in 'computer' ... my blessing and my bane.
I don't know how it got to be Sunday already. I've got 4450 on the novel for the week, and on Friday night, when I counted up my words for the Write-a-thon, I discovered that I'd already met and surpassed my goal of 12K.
With luck, I'll double that, but I'm not promising anything. I've got two flower girl dresses to sew this week and a bridesmaid's dress the next. (Laying out the pattern pieces to accomodate three dresses instead of the two I'd purchased fabric for took all of today, but I was successful. No I haven't written. Yet. That's next. And no, I haven't done any shopping for my mother of the groom dress. All I know is that I'm not sewing it.)
I probably should have been posting here, shouldn't I? Not only did I completely disregard my own plan for the writeathon (I've hauled off and started a completely new novel) but I had the poor planning to have my wedding anniversary last weekend. This pleasant distraction aside, I've put in full days on outlining the new project, tentatively titled "Ravening Song" and filled with things exploding.
This morning I turned my desktop on to receive an email that my brother had been hospitalized. I have since learned that it is probably a bleeding ulcer, but I'm still hurting inside that I'm not there in Seattle.
Then a bit later, maybe half an hour after I turned the iBook on (my new writing toy for using Scrivener for the novel revisions), it died. Yes, I got it used, but it had been working surprisingly well until then, with a battery life of like four hours.
Turned it off, tried to turn it on again, nothing. Tried with the install disk, said the hard drive check failed. The last backup I did to the Internet apparently didn't take, so I may have lost two days work, not counting the zilch I did today.
We must forgive ourselves when the universe is not happy with us, yes?
But yeah, last week I was up 5000 words on the "revisions" -- pretty much all new words because I had reached a section in the rough draft where I wrote "put battle scene here."
I'm later posting about my progress, but other than that I'm pretty happy with the way things are going. I've continued to write at least half an hour a day, my main goal, and several times I've gone on longer. I have a story that's actually shaping up, and that I might finish. It's a new story, too, that I started in Week 2. Woohoo!
The bad stuff: One morning I did about 2 minutes of work for my employer before I'd finished my write-a-thoning. Maybe only a minute and a half, actually. Okay, so not that big a deal. The scary part is that I did it without even thinking about it. Eternal vigilance, and all that.
My progress is good - but so far it's mostly story ideas. Once I get a few great story ideas, then I map them out. The actual 'writing' takes me less time, often, than the mapping period.
I come from tv writing where we figure it all out in treatment form before we actually write much dialogue. The very beginning form is usually index cards or short notes on foolscap. I'm at that stage with my Clarion projects.
The disadvantage of this is that I don't have a lot of 'pages' to report, so I'm making a new goal, I want to have one full short story done (draft 1 or 2) by next week.
All the best in your writing!
I'm about 50% behind where I wanted to be at this point, which applies to everything in my life right now. But I can do this.
CW '04, Clarion West Forum Master
(I'm with you on that 50%. Sometimes it's more like 10-15%. But I figure it's better than 0!)
Here's my week two report. Once again, I was unable to complete everything I'd planned to, but I did complete a few things and make some progress.
novel ideas--6 hr. 35 min.
poems--9 hr. 20 min. (finished three new poems for the THEMA "dean's cat" issue; wrote two new completely rough drafts of poems; rewrote/finished two existing poems; also started from scratch a very long three-part formal poem)
stories--revising: 2 hr. 45 min. (added some additional material and made a few minor changes to an existing story)
new drafts: 10 hr. 35 min. (still in draft mode for the story I was dueto complete this week)
Total creative hours for week 2 (doesn't count submissions, research, or this report :)--29 hr. 15 min.
By comparison, here were my week one totals:
novel idea drafting, 8 hr. 40 min.
new story draft: 3 hr. 35 min.
poems--1 hr. 15 min.
Week one total--13 hr. 30 min.
So, by comparison, I had a much more productive week this time, which is the ultimate goal.
As I head into week three, I hope to complete two more poems (finishing two of the above-named drafts), finish the story that I should have finished in week two, keep up with the novel idea-drafting, and get detailed idea drafts for at least one, but if I'm lucky, up to three stories with upcoming deadlines. I should note that while I wrote two drafts for poems in week one, as stated, I ended up polishing and submitting only one of them, as the market to which I'd intended to end them had closed. So, as of the end of week two, I've completed and submitted four poems. If I do finish two more poems in week three, that means I'll have fulfilled the poetry part of my WAT goals (six new poems). This doesn't mean I won't work on any poems at all, just that perhaps I'll be able to convince myself to devote more time to writing fiction in the next few weeks and get closer to accomplishing those goals as well.
For convenience, I'm going to keep a running total of completed items compared to goals. I should note here that while I named specific projects in my goals, I am more interested in completing the type of thing (i.e., new poem, new story) than I am in the specific named project. (For instance, I've already sent a story to Art from Art, so I won't be writing another one for them.)
Novel drafting: 15 hr. 15 min. completed; 14 hr. required by week two; WAT total should be 41 hr. min.
New poems completed: 4 new poems finished; 2 required by week two; WAT total should be 6
Stories completed: 0 (1 in progress); 1 new required by week two; WAT total should be 3 stories, at least 2 new (one can be a thoroughly rewritten story), and ideas for at least one story not written during the WAT
Congrats to everyone on goals met so far!
My week 2 goals were met (though I didn't time myself carefully on Thursday, so that one's a little iffy...but I finished the project I was working on and put in extra hours on other days). I put in a little extra time after posting the week's accomplishments on my LJ, so I can now say that I've finished the rough draft of the story I was revising and am ready to begin diving into a restart/rewrite on my Work Out of Progress novel for week 3. I've also sent one story off and packaged up an old story for a new market to send off in the snail mail tomorrow. Now I'm just hoping for steady, productive work on the novel plus some time tweaking two of the new/newly revised short stories. Phew!
~Deb Taber, CW '04
Congratulations, Deb! I love the LJ post. Grandma and I are both afraid now (now I'm creeped out by UPS! Argh!).
I met and more than doubled my word count goal--instead of the required 2000, I totaled 4500. I'm writing for 15-20 minutes in the morning most days and another bout in the evening with a friend riding guilt monkey on me via Skype.
Nothing like a little guilt to make me produce word count.
Also, I highly recommend the website Write or Die: http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html (if you need some prodding like me.) It's just a window to type in, trumpets that sound when you meet your word count and time goals, and several means of punishment (chose your level!) if you stop typing. It's working very well for both myself and my friend.
I just completed the beginning of a new short story -- no promises on it, but I like it a lot -- with about 1800 words. I did my weekly Abundantly Green newsletter (ask if you would like a PDF copy), and I posted to Amicus Agraria. It was not much of an original blog, but there were a few new words.
I hope to see people at a Clarion Party or a reading, but that seems a bit remote at the moment.
After finishing up two major freelance editing projects in the past two weeks, I finally edited a story of my own and sent it out to Ideomancer. I'm about a week behind in my goals (and I'll probably get further behind, because I have two more major projects coming up in the next two weeks--and maybe one more), but I'm glad to have another story out and circulating. I'm especially happy because I think the story is the best it can be.
Yay rah editing! (Though trying to convince yourself to edit a story after spending all day editing other things continues to be difficult.)
One of my goals has been met--I revised "Non-Native Species" and sent it to Analog.
The scene I started in the first week thinks it wants to become flash fiction. I've never tried flash before. Wonder if it will fight to become another a short story?
Had some internet issues at the end of last week, so I'm late with my bragging.
I revised a story and sent it off to Clarkesworld Magazine, so I met my goal. Now I have to keep working on my week 2 revision.
Okay, so I'm actually two days into Week 2 ... but then, I never said I'd post my progress promptly, did I? So far I've stuck to my goal of writing at least half an hour every day, before I do any work for my employer of record. I'm sure you can guess what the hardest part of that is. I've also started at least one story a week. So I'm two for two, so far.
The dim gray shape of my evolving plan, looming in the mist like some ponderous prehistoric zeppelin, ancient airframe creaking ominously as it takes to the air, scattering spirals of screeching pterodactyls (and stubbornly resisting a second simile), is to establish a daily pattern that I can sustain beyond six weeks (assuming the rotting fuel tanks don't develop great yawning cracks, or fall off entirely), going on and on much like this sentence, until I'm faced with the terrifying prospect of actually sending out a story.
I got my 7500 words revised / rewritten / newly written for the week, but it was tougher than I thought it would be -- there's a lot more that has to be newly written than I expected. :-/
I'm coming up on a section where the scenes are a lot more concrete, though, so perhaps it will get easier then.
The week for me will end tonight, so it will be interesting to see what else I complete from my first week's goals. So far this week, I've put in 8 hr. 40 min. on the "idea drafting" for my fantasy novel (brainstorming on paper, the first step in my writing before the first full draft). My goal was an hour a day, so I've slightly exceeded that. I've put in 3 hr. 35 min. on the first draft of a story that's due on Tuesday. Obviously, I haven't gotten very far yet. What I have are all the brainstormed characters, plot, and logistics, organized into four sections representing the four scenes, and about 500 words toward the opening scene. I hope to put in a great deal of work on the story this weekend. Should I complete the story in time to send on Tuesday, I will have accomplished that part of this week and next week's goals (my goal was to write the rough draft this week and send the finished product for week two--essentially giving myself a week and a half to finish the story). Regarding the prose poem, I wrote the rough drafts of two prose poems instead of the finished draft of one; however, I will be finishing both of those today and sending them along, albeit to a different market than the one intended, which has closed already. So, it's a messy process, but I've made some progress toward all of my goals, completed some, and hope to finish some more by tonight. So far, I'm on track, if not all the way up to speed.
Good luck to everyone else out there! It's great to "see" so many of you again!
I finished two chapters of my novel so far but am behind by one based on my 1-2 days a chapter goal. Its going well and hopefully I can buckledown this weekend and slam out chapter 3 and 4 of my novel and keep a steady momentum.
Well talk to ya soon.
I rewrote 8 goodly chapters of Hel's Bet and now they are goodlier. I am going to have to step up the pace to meet my goal of rewriting the whole book (there are 62 more chapters).
I polished my immortal tale "Flying Squids of Zondor" for inclusion in an anthology of my writing group's short stories.
It was the best week of writing I've had in months. I'm pleased but want to crank out a bigger chunk of dandy writing next week.
Member of the art byproducts syndicate Channel Zilch: http://channelzilch.com
Working on a story for submission to this anthology:
(Which everybody knows about, right?)
It's not an easy mark to hit, and some writers have called it un-possible, but fools rush in.
I have a story tentatively called "Things Fall into Place," and I think I'm on to something.
This story has already seen a couple of false starts, including half a draft written in the style of "Spoon River Anthology" -- which I still think is a great way to tell a story, but doesn't seem to be working for this one. So, I'm taking a more direct approach.
1,500 words yesterday.
I finished by goal for the week. They may not be the final words, but there are 1000 of them written in logical order. Yeah!
Okay, so I'm early at reporting in this week, but I've already met (and exceeded!) my weekly goal of 2K. By the end of today, I should have doubled it.
And I can blame it on Skype, http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html, and a friend keeping me on the ever twisty path of noveldom.
If this continues, I'll end up writing more words than I did the summer of Clarion.
Between Seattle (here) and Bremerton (there) and back again, I wrote about 500 new words on a story revision. Tomorrow I will be assembling the Abundantly Green newsletter for next week. That's in the word count this year. I am half way to this week's goal.
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