Writing Mediums

Hello everyone!

This is technically a repost, but the old content was so useless (in my opinion), that there was no point in editing it or using it in any capacity. Instead, I want to pose a question, and maybe explore how some of the different tools we use to write change the way we write. Maybe multiple mediums can be used in tandem and how that, too, changes the way we write.

The questions I want to pose are: What do you use to write? What do you use to edit?

My answer: A lot. I write with pen and paper, as well as Word on my laptop. I used to be really big into Scrivener, but I find it’s best for editing and formatting. Plus, the hype died for it, so I fell off that train. I guess I just use whatever I feel like when the mood hits. I find I use pen and paper for poetry more than prose. I guess because poetry tends to be shorthand, so it’s just a quick way to get everything down without having to sit and spend a bit of time at the computer.

Another question I’ve always wanted to ask is how many of you write poetry? During my time in undergrad, I found that there were a lot more poets than I initially thought. Poetry doesn’t seem as accessible as prose, so I didn’t feel that poets were as common as they are. I’d really like to know what mediums poets use, specifically, but prose is always welcome.

Let’s start a discussion. I’m really interested in what mediums are out there that I haven’t even heard of. Maybe there are ways of using a medium that I haven’t even thought of. Share any of your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you for reading!



My Editing Technique


This is, once again, an edit and repost of an old post I had. I am beginning to realize these are less simple edits and more just flat out rewrites. You know that feeling you get when you scroll through your FaceBook feed from… I don’t know, ten years ago? It starts off all nostalgic and rose-colored, then it just gets more and more cringey. Everything seems so much better, until you actually see it. Well, that’s what ended up happening to me. I went back, started reading these posts, and wondered how anyone read any of this.

I had a tendency to make everything more convoluted and complicated than it had to be, and the same goes for my “editing technique,” whatever the heck that is… Needless to say, I don’t edit the same way I did when this post was originally made (May 4, 2013, jeeeeez). So, it’s time to update. Here is how I edit today:

  • Something that hasn’t changed: don’t edit until you finish.
    This is pretty much the only thing I held on to from my old “editing technique.” I don’t edit anything until I “finish” the piece. Now I say “finish” because until you’ve edited the piece a couple times, I don’t think it’s finished. Regardless, I don’t edit any of it until I’ve finished the first draft. I think if anything, I’ve actually gotten stricter on this. Before, I’d do some minor edits as I wrote, like fixing a misspelling, putting in missing punctuation etc. Now, I won’t even fix things like that. I don’t pay any attention to anything expect putting words on paper.
  • Finish the 1st draft, then add and subtract.
    Even after I’ve completed the first draft, I don’t do any copy editing, which is grammar and mechanics editing. I focus on substantive editing. I add things, I cut things, I move things around… this is the fun part of editing because, honestly, it’s still just writing.
  • From substance to mechanics.
    Once I think I have everything I want to keep, in the order I want to keep it in, I move on to the nitty-gritty: copy editing. I go through and fix all those mechanical issues, grammar issues, misspellings, etc. This is my least favorite because it just proves the point that you never get anything right the first time, and there are always things you need to improve. No matter how long I write, or how many degrees I earn, I still spend the most time copy editing.
  • Let her rest.
    After long rounds of cutting, adding, and editing, the old eyes need to rest. The piece needs to rest, but so do I. I let my piece rest for a day or two before picking it back up, then I do another round of copy edits, and from there just proofread daily until I feel confident in my piece.

And there you have it. Short, sweet, and to the point. It’s weird how time sorta edits us, too, as writers. Before, I was very long-winded and tried to sound smart, but was more obnoxious than anything else. I have pared down how much I write (though let’s be honest, not that much), and I don’t feel the need to prove I am well-spoken. But we’re getting away from the point of the post, and I think that means it’s a good time to wrap it up.

So, thanks for reading.



Where is “The End”

Hello all!

I’ve made it a point to go back and look through old posts, edit them, refine them, and cringe at them. This was the first post I ever made on this blog/website/thing. How ironic that the beginning was about the end. What is more ironic? I preached, repeatedly in that old post that there is an end. You shouldn’t feel obligated to change things, to keep going, etc. Yet, here I am, going back to posts I thought were at one time finished, and keeping them going.

The reason I chose this post? I changed my mind. Simple as that.

There is an end, but it can always be changed. Now prepare for my anecdote as to why I’ve had this change of heart:

This fall (Fall 2016) was the last semester of my undergraduate degree. I took classes just for the sake of credits, so I had a chance to take classes I wanted, rather than classes I needed. I took an advanced creative writing class where the theme was “Ghosts.” Super cool, right? Anyway, we had to have one-on-one sessions with the professor. We were to bring a piece we wanted him to look over, and we’d spend the time talking about it. It was super generative and very helpful.

I brought an older piece that I’ve been working on on-and-off for the past year or two. He read it over, silent, for a good fifteen to twenty minutes. He stopped and said “It was fun.” I was pleased. I thought it was done. I was ready to start writing cover letters and sending it off to publications. Then, he asked me, “Why did you bring it?” I sat there for a while, mulling that question over. Why? Why not? I wanted someone with experience to look it over? I wanted someone to say “yay” or “nay,” to it? I wanted a lot of things, but I didn’t know how to respond. He clarified, “There’s a reason you’re still looking this over. If it was done, you wouldn’t bring it.”

That was so true. I wouldn’t keep looking at it if I didn’t feel there was something more. If I didn’t feel there was something I was missing, why wait to send it off? I didn’t have a good answer. Then, I remembered this old post I wrote. This post where I said there comes a time that you just need to stop. There is an end, and sometimes you have to force yourself to put it away. While I do think there comes a point where you start over-editing, over-writing, etc. I also think you shouldn’t settle. If you feel like something isn’t right, don’t stop writing. Don’t stop editing. Keep going because you may eventually find a better end than you had before.

So, I’m going to keep working on this piece. I am also going to go back and edit some of these posts because, let’s face it, they are definitely not done.

Be proud. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Be writers.

Thanks for reading.


Original Work, Personal Posts, Poems

“Sometimes I wake up and decide I’m a rubbish writer…” a micro poem by Alyssa Hubbard

Some days, I wake up and decide I am a rubbish writer. Everything I write, whether it be a novel, a short story, a grocery list, it is all just rubbish.

Some days, I wake up and decide I am a goodly writer. Everything I write, whether it be a novel, a short story, a grocery list, it is all goodly.

Then there are days I don’t write at all. Those are days I cease to be a writer.

-Alyssa Hubbard

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Why you should always be submitting/writing something…

I am an indie author, nothing new there, but even as I’m writing and preparing my works for their eventual publication, I am still submitting to multiple different literary magazines. I make it a point to write at least three new short pieces a week, and maybe a couple of poems if I can manage them. With my schedule as packed as it is, most of the time I can’t always have my computer on me, which is a problem since An Austrian March is being edited on the computer. So, whenever I have a little free time, I whip out my my notebook and start on something small, something that doesn’t require a lot of attention or heavy plotting, something under 2,000 words. Once I’m done, I polish it up, then prepare it for simultaneous submissions.

Even as an indie writer, I believe it is essential to be submitting to literary magazines and journals. Why? Well, grab your pens, raise them high, and scream HUZZAH! as we dive right into my new list!

    Querying skills, to me, are essential. They teach discipline, how to follow the rules, and they help your technical writing skills. Querying different places helps to diversify your writing.
    Querying magazines is very similar to inquiring about possible jobs. Though writing may be your job, a lot of indie writers have to supplement their writing with another job. When you query, you want to think of it like you’re inquiring for a job. You want to put your best foot forward without kissing ass. Just another great life skill to be had from querying.
    In rare cases, you may receive feedback with your rejected piece. Take the criticism and work it into your bigger projects. Not everything they say may be what you want to do, but there may be just a bit of advice that you can enhance your writing with. This point is very valuable. It gets you a front row seat to what an editor is looking for in a piece. Though you may never go through traditional channels to publish your novels, it is helpful to see what actually sells books or what usually works in specific genres and pieces.
    Who doesn’t like getting a little praise? When you get published in a journal, it ups your credentials. People who read that magazine will recognize your name and may go after some of your other works, like your indie books. More praise, more recognition, more book sales. Lots and lots of good stuff.
    Because I’m always submitting and writing, I always have new pieces to play around with. My writing is getting better, my ability to query is getting better. My writing skill, in general, is getting better.

Though there are a lot of people who refuse to try traditional publishing, querying literary journals for pieces that may be too short to publish individually is a great way to practice and get your name out there. But what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Do you feel literary magazines and journals are worth the effort? Have you been published in one before? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.


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Personal Posts, Writing

Why you shouldn’t listen to writing tip blogs 100%

This probably sounds strange coming from a person who HAS a writing tip blog, and who posted this on said writing blog, but this in itself is a tip for every writer who has ever checked out a blog for writing tips.


Now. Onward we go.

    I like having everything planned out ahead of time, hence my lists and outlines, which is why most of my tips entail using an outline. I write my tips based around the assumption that everyone else does the same, which isn’t true. At. All. But I don’t write randomly (not as much as I outline, anyway), so it’s hard to tailor posts and tips around something I don’t actually do myself. So, my tips may not work for non-outliners, and you may want to keep that in mind when going to any writing tip blog. Are they outliners? Are they not? Are their posts tailored to one group and not the other? Is there anything I can take from this that will benefit my style of writing?
    Even if I post these writing tips, I’m still learning, too. Tips I used a few months ago may not apply to how I do things now, but that’s not to say they aren’t good tips still. Just because I post a tip, doesn’t mean I follow it 100%, which leads me to my next point.
    If anyone has ever said, “this is the only way to do ______,” then they are idiots. There is no guaranteed way to do anything. There are ways that work, some better than others, but they aren’t guaranteed. Sure, my editing techniques work for me, but some people edit better in silence. Sure, I chose indie publishing, but that doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed to make gobs and gobs of money, but same goes for traditional publishing, too. Take each tip with a grain of salt.
    Tips are just tips. Like I said before, they are not guaranteed to work for everyone, and you certainly don’t have to follow the tip 100%. You may agree with some points, and you may disagree with others. Take what you think will best help you, then move on. Writing is subjective (in my opinion). Some people like certain aspects of writing, while others won’t. That’s why there are so many different publishers out there because there are so many different kinds of books, styles, and writers. What doesn’t fit with one pub, may be perfect for another. That’s the beautiful thing about writing.
    Like I’ve said before, I’m learning just like everyone else, and tech is constantly changing, even in the world of writing. Every tip I write is basically an aspect of my journey to publication. They might not be perfectly timed, but they were points during my journey that I felt someone else would like to hear about. How crappy I did, what I did wrong, what I did right, what I friggin’ rocked out: all of it. That’s how I make up these posts.

I probably repeat myself a lot in this post, but I’ve noticed a growing trend. When bloggers post tips, a lot of writers continually believe it to be an end all be all. I get plenty of emails a day asking about how certain tips have helped me, and whether I think certain tips will work or not. I’m not sure if I look like a professional, but I’m not. I’m probably the farthest from a professional you can get. Once again, I’m not saying tips aren’t great. I’ve found plenty of golden nuggets across the wonderful writerly blog-verse, but I’ve only found nuggets. But before I go into another redundant spill, time for questions.

How many tips have you learned from blogs? Do you swear by certain blogs? Have you used any of my tips 100%? Do you agree with my points? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below.

Thanks for reading!


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Why Scrivener is perfect for rewrites (With Pics)

Scrivener has taken off as one of the most used writing tools in the world of writerdom, and I am a huge advocate. I use it for my outlines, for my character sheets, for my second/third/fourth/fifth drafts, and for major rewrites. I even use it as a first draft hub for every blog post I put up. Regardless, there are people who utilize this tool, and there are some who want to, but only use it for the bare minimum (there are also those who can’t see how to use it at all, but this is mainly for those who are using or planning on using it). I have been working a guide for some time now, and it’s one that probably won’t be out for some time. In the mean time, I was recently questioned about what I use Scrivener for. The conversation went a bit like this:

“Hey Lissy, I just got Scrivener, and I saw you used it on tumblr. What do you use it for exactly?”

“Everything, absolutely everything. Love that program, and glad to see you joined the ranks.”

“Even rewrites???”

“Of course, especially rewrites.”


Well, I’m not sure how many  people have this question or if they’d even be interested in knowing the answer, but I believe it deserves its own blog post for those of you who may be curious. So, I made up a list, as per usual. ONWARD WE GO!

    Not everyone is like this, but I usually have a pretty good idea as to how many scenes I’ll have in a chapter, how many chapters I’ll have, etc. even before I begin the draft (I’m an outliner. It’s what I do). If you’re not like that, you can always move things around in Scrivener. Move chunks into separate text files within the chapter, move the chapters around to better the flow, move the text files around for better flow, etc. Regardless, separating things into scenes is key to doing thorough rewrites, at least that’s the case for me. Either way, great way to utilize it. I have an example pic below, and you may have to click on the pics to be able to see them better.


    Unlike with word, you don’t have to open multiple docs to go between drafts. Once you’ve finished the first draft and separated it out into the parts you’d like to have, you can simply add a new text file beneath the file you wish to rewrite. Then get to work. More on organizing everything as we go along. Pic below.
    SCRVNR 4
    As you can see in my above examples, I have an odd set of names going for my scenes. Well, as always, there is a method to my madness. When I write the first draft, I name every text as “Scene.” This may be confusing for some, but it works for me, especially once I start my rewrites. I use a vague name because I want to make sure I have them all in the correct places before I start renaming them because it will throw off my order otherwise. Once I’ve organized everything properly, I go back and add letter of the alphabet to the end of every scene. If I have more than 25 scenes, I start using double letters (AA, BB, CC, etc). Then, I add a dash with a number at the end of it, indicating that, that is the first draft of that particular scene. Then, when I add the text file for the rewrite, I name it the same exact way as the fist draft file, but instead of a “1,” I put a “2.” I’d do the same for each subsequent rewrite. Pic below for reference.


    I don’t personally use this feature, just because I find my own organization sufficient enough for rewrites, but if you happened to have more drafts for some parts than you do for others (another great thing about this tool, you can choose which parts you want to rewrite, rather than have to just rewrite the whole thing or go through and skim the entire doc for a specific part you wish to rewrite), then you can change the “status” of the text doc. Pic for reference below.
    SCRVNR 7

I tried to make this post as simple as possible because Scrivener does have a terrible learning curve. If there is anything else anyone would like me to cover, then please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or by email, which can be found at the very end of this blog post, as always. Now, time for some questions of my own. Did you find this useful? Did the pics help? What do you find useful about Scrivener? Anything you’d like to add to this? Have anymore tips? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.


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How to Choose Between Manuscripts/Books

This will make more sense in just a bit… Promise.

When that inspiration bug bites, it bites us hard. Usually, anyway. Either way, it usually hits at the most inopportune times. Mine? Mine bites me when I’m smack dab in the middle of a half-way finished manuscript. And we all love the shiny things. Shiny, new things.

My precious…

Ahem. Anywho, it’s no surprise that people love starting new projects. It’s just like getting married and going through the “honeymoon,” stage. Everything is perfect. You married the perfect person. You’re going to have the perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect jobs, and everything is going to be shiny and new forever. Then, about four months down the road, you’d be happy just to have a decent garbage can, and for your “perfect spouse,” to take out the garbage. But, I digress.

Eventually, the shine will wear down, and you will itch for something new. Then, it comes to you. Your DREAM idea. Your DREAM book. Now, how do you decide? The new or the old? Well, take a gander at my list and see what you can do. ONWARD WE GO!

    One key factor, for me, in determining whether I should quit a current manuscript or not is: if I weren’t the author, would I want to read this book? Really take yourself back and think about it. It’s hard to tell with a first draft, as things may change, but if it is a resounding “no,” then you may want to reconsider your current manuscript. Best to head for warmer waters, I believe. Go ahead and put that manuscript away until you’re ready to make it a manuscript YOU would want to read, and tackle that new idea.
    If you dedicate yourself, could you finish your current MS in a month? Less? You might as well see it through. Go ahead and finish it before you start on another idea. Take notes and get to finishing that MS. Use your excitement over the new idea to push you into finishing. You’ll be happier if you finish, anyway. You’ll get the joy of having a completed MS and the joy of starting a new one. It’s a win-win.
    Like I said before, new ideas are shiny, and we like shiny things. But eventually that shiny thing is going to dull, just like the one before it. If you don’t finish that first MS, what’s to say you’re going to finish the second? By all means, if you think you can, go ahead and start that second one. Then, when you finish it, maybe you can come back. But if you don’t think you can, might wanna stick around and finish the first. Prove to yourself you can finish. Eventually, you’ll be able to make writing a habit, and it will get easier as time goes on.
    If you’ve completed the first draft, and you’re just on the editing stage, go ahead and start on that second idea. BUT. And this is a big but (hehe… big butt), you must exercise discipline. Just because you’ve finished the first draft, doesn’t mean it’s all over for that MS. Don’t allow yourself to abandon the project. Write for an hour on the new idea, then spend some time editing and polishing your old MS. Get that baby publishable so you can do the same to your new baby.

I always push people to finish the first MS before they ever start a new one, but if it’s not meant to be, then it’s not meant to be. These questions are just a guideline, a suggestion-guideline, for you to use. Ask yourself these questions, see what you come up with. If you finish your first MS, wonderful. I hope I was of some help to you. If not, also good for you. I’m glad you can start on your new, shiny MS. Now, for questions. What’s your opinion on all of these questions? Do you have any other guidelines you follow to decide? Did these help you anyway? Any questions or points I might have missed? Got any new shinies you’d like to start? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.


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How To Outline Your Books

It’s never been a secret that I’m in love with lists. Lists are important to me and keep me on track. Plus, it keeps my thoughts organized so I may refer back without having to decipher any mystical notes. Now, not everyone uses outlines, but there are cases where they will be beneficial to you. Namely, when you’re working on a MS and inspiration strikes for another. I’ll discuss how to choose which work later, but for now, let’s talk about how to outline a book so that you can write up that MS later.

    I have a single notebook dedicated to outlines. Outlines usually are no more than 10 pages, front and back, for me, so I only need a single notebook. You may need multiple notebooks depending on how long your work is and how detailed you decide to make your notes. Regardless, using a single notebook will help to keep everything in order and will allow for easier reference later on.
    I tend to have an idea of how many chapters I will have prior before I start to write, but that’s just me. Regardless, take notes and stop once you feel comfortable ending a chapter there. Then, make a break of some kind in your writing, then continue to take notes as if you are writing another chapter. It will help you see where you can end and begin chapters, plus you can always fill in details and combine chapters later once you’ve got a clear view of the timeline.
    For example:
    – Crystal goes to her boss, nervous and bitter
    – She steps into his office and scans the room – describe the room as sparse and empty
    – The boss isn’t there and she is both frustrated and relieved
    Keeps everything clear, easier to read, and will allow for short spurts of note-taking with direct details and emotions.
    The more detailed and direct you can be in your notes, the easier it will be to apply into your writing. Notice in the previous example how I take down every emotion or image I wish to convey later on. I don’t say exactly how I will describe it that way, which gives me the freedom to do so later on, but I make sure to mark it down because it may be important for future characterization. Be detailed, but not so much so it becomes a first draft, instead of a list.
    I do this all the time. I’ll be working on an outline and be hit with a snippet of a scene with very specific dialogue or description. While I don’t want to turn my outline into a draft, if I’m hit with a major piece of dialogue or description, I add it to the outline. An outline is just a list of notes in a specific timeline format, and if you’ve utilized the short, detailed, bulleted aspect of the outline, then you should have enough room to go back and take down that bit of inspiration. If not, you can mark it down and put the page number where you wish to add it, plus the number of the bullet point on that page. But keep this info on a separate page, somewhere you can keep a separate list of direct quotes or descriptions to be added later so you don’t muddle your outline.
    An outline is there for you to refer to later. It’s for you to remember where you wanted your story to start and where you wanted it to end, but as time goes on you may want to add things to the middle or take them out. Just do the best you can with what ideas you have, then worry about pushing out the words.

Not everyone likes outlines, but they can be helpful if utilized properly, not to say there is one way to use them, either. Take these tools, use them, change them, and maybe they can help you pump out your next great novel. Now, for questions. Have you used outlines before? Do you prefer orderly outlines or scattered thoughts? Do you keep a notebook for outlines? Do you not use outlines at all? Will you now? Have another tip for making up outlines? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.


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Personal Posts

The Writing Habit

We’re always told to write every single day. I’ve dedicated entire blog posts to how this can best be achieved, even for those who seemingly can’t spare a second. I’ve figured out my own methods, and I’ve been writing daily ever since. Now, I have reached a snag, but not in my daily writing routine. No, no. It’s much worse.

Not only are we told to write every single day, but we are also told to wait and revise with a new set of eyes. Well, on 8/13/2013, I completed my long novella project: An Austrian March. I was immediately filled with excitement and sadness. Writing, to me, is like raising a child, and that day inspired this tumblr post: http://lissywrites.tumblr.com/post/58166724610/being-a-writer-78.

But all of those lovey-dovey sad notions fell to the wayside, and I realized that now that was done, I would have to take a writing break. This seems like a positive thing. Take a break from writing and enjoy the other wonders that life has to offer. Spend some time away from the computer, see friends you’ve been avoiding just to pump out a few extra words everyday, and enjoy the solace of plotless thought.

But it is killing me.

This post probably won’t be up for the next couple weeks, mainly because of what I’m about to tell you, so just for the record, I am writing this on 8/14/13. Think of my blog as a TARDIS, if you must.  Now, onward to my list for all of you Time Agents and Time Lords out there.

  • On 8/13/13 I finished An Austrian March
  • On 8/13/13 I declared a two day break
  • On 8/13/13 I wrote and scheduled 11 blog posts
  • On 8/13/13 I declared that I would be doing no writing, whatsoever the next day
  • On 8/13/13 I wrote a fanfic
  • On 8/14/13 I got up and wrote this blog post
  • On 8/14/13 I will finish this blog post
  • On 8/15/13 I will add to this blog post
  • On 8/15/13 I wrote some in Ice Over
  • On 8/15/13 I take peaks at An Austrian March
  • On 8/15/13 I edit chapter one of An Austrian March
  • On 8/15/13 I’ve failed to take a writing break

I had originally ended this post on the 14th. Well, this part has begun again on the 16th, after a few additions in the past couple of days. See why this is a problem? A writing habit is a wonderful thing to have, until you must force yourself to stop just to get some other work in your life done.

Most would say the easiest thing I could do to elieviate all the needs to constantly write is to allow myself to start on other projects, but that’s what made AAM  (An Austrian March) so long in the making to begin with. About halfway through AAM, I found myself spinning my wheels trying to pull some plot out. So, I took a break, trying to decide how best to go about outlining it. At that time, I had started my writing habit, but it wasn’t as full-fledged as it is now. I could’ve probably stood a few days away without batting an eye, but I digress.

After the first three days of my break, I had hardly any outlines to show for it, and I was itching to start back, but I knew it would go nowhere. I would end up staring at a blank screen, just as I always was. So, I decided to work on a story I already had outlined and ready to go. Problem was? Once I got started, I couldn’t stop, and that’s how Apocalyptia came to be, and even it went on a year to two year hiatus. AAM has been left in the dust long enough, and I refuse to start another project, just to abandon it again.

So, I’ve failed to take a break, but AAM is going smoothly despite it. The long hiatus actually made for plenty of time to have fresh eyes on the beginning chapters, and that should leave me plenty of time in between to develop fresh eyes for the late chapters. We shall see, but I have no clue what I’ll do later. New stories, new finished first drafts, new breaks, new problems, but all part of the craft, which is writing.

I’m sorry if this sounded more like a rant than anything else. I’m feeling somewhat bitter over my wasted break, but I’m glad to have been productive where writing is concerned. Do you have moments like this? Have you developed a writing habit/addiction? How do you bring yourself to take writing breaks? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.


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