by Francine Puckly
Reading is one of the best ways a writer can improve one’s craft as well as stay current on the books being published each year, and March is National Reading Month! Each year I get caught up in the buzz for National Reading Month and, more recently, the ReFoReMo Challenge (Reading For Research Month) which runs throughout the month of March. Founded in 2015 by Carrie Charley Brown (and co-coordinated with Kirsti Call), it is designed to help picture book writers improve their own writing by reading and researching mentor texts. If you’re a picture book writer or illustrator, don’t miss out! (Register for the ReFoReMo Challenge.)
But I’m a novelist…
Each year I say I’m going to challenge myself to do a modified version of ReFoReMo as a novelist, but without anyone to hold me accountable, I usually fall off within the first week. So this year I’ve decided to share my weekly challenges in hopes that other novelists out there might join me in reading mentor texts. (Oh, and hold me accountable!)
March 4 – 8, 2019: Week #1 – The Old Standbys Week
The week’s assignments focus on your favorite novels. Any favorite novels.
Each day, select ten favorite novels (any audience, any genre) from your home bookshelves, local library, or bookstore. Read the first 1-2 sentences only. Each day select 2-3 novels that had the best opening lines. Next, read the first two-three pages of the novels with the best opening lines. How did each author choose to begin the story? Which specific words or turns of phrase pulled you into the story? How did the author introduce character and setting? How did the author set the emotional tone for the story?
At the end of the week, pick five overall “winners” for first lines and/or opening pages. Consider the entire novels. Do the novels live up to their first lines?
March 11 – 15, 2019: Week #2 – Intended Audience Week
This week’s assignments focus on writing for your intended audience, whether that’s middle grade, young adult, women’s fiction, adult fiction, etc. You can select books from any genre (SciFi, Fantasy, Contemporary, etc.).
Select 10-20 novels written for your intended audience and read the opening 2-3 pages for each novel. (This is easily done at your library or local bookstore. Just grab ten books from the shelves, plop down on the floor, and immerse yourself in first pages!) Assess the books with the same questions from last week: How did each author choose to begin the story? Which specific words or turns of phrase pulled you into the story? How did the author introduce character and setting? How did the author set the emotional tone for the story?
Read one book written for your intended audience that has been published in the last six months. How did the author set up the problem of the novel? Consider how the author built tension to the climax and notice any "resting periods" in the plot and tension. Notice the times when you just can't put the book down and notice times when you are growing tired with description or plot and are tempted to put the book down. Does the novel's ending fit with the book's promise at the beginning? Looking back, can you see how the author established the inevitable ending in the first few pages/chapters of the story?
March 18 – 22, 2019: Week #3 – Intended Genre Week
This week’s assignments focus on writing for your intended audience and genre (e.g. MG contemporary, YA historical, YA fantasy, etc.)
Select 10-20 novels written for your intended audience and genre. Read the opening 2-3 pages for each novel. Assess the books with the same questions from prior weeks: How did each author choose to begin the story? Which specific words or turns of phrase pulled you into the story? How did the author introduce character and setting? How did the author set the emotional tone for the story?
Read one book written for your intended audience and genre that has been published in the last six months.
Assess the books with the same questions from last week: How did the author set up the problem of the novel? Consider how the author built tension to the climax and notice any "resting periods" in the plot and tension. Notice the times when you just can't put the book down and notice times when you are growing tired with description or plot and are tempted to put the book down. Does the novel's ending fit with the book's promise at the beginning? Looking back, can you see how the author established the inevitable ending in the first few pages/chapters of the story?
March 25 – 29, 2019: Week #4 – I’m-Too-Scared-to-Write-It Genre Week
I devour historical fiction as a reader, but I declared early on that I would never, ever write it. (Guess who has a rough first draft of a YA historical novel sitting on her computer?)
Select 10-20 novels written in your I’m-Too-Scared-to-Write-It genre. Read the opening 2-3 pages for each novel. Assess the books with the same questions from prior weeks: How did each author choose to begin the story? Which specific words or turns of phrase pulled you into the story? How did the author introduce character and setting? How did the author set the emotional tone for the story?
Read one book written in your I’m-Too-Scared-to-Write-It genre that has been published in the last six months.
Assess the books with the same questions from the prior week: How did the author set up the problem of the novel? Consider how the author built tension to the climax and notice any "resting periods" in the plot and tension. Notice the times when you just can't put the book down and notice times when you are growing tired with description or plot and are tempted to put the book down. Does the novel's ending fit with the book's promise at the beginning? Looking back, can you see how the author established the inevitable ending in the first few pages/chapters of the story?
It's important to read a large volume of work within and outside of our genres. Studying successful authors' writing styles can often highlight the elements we are neglecting or maybe just haven't quite polished in our own drafts yet. This is less about negative comparison ("I'll never be able to write like Kate DiCamilla!") and about absorbing how various author tease out setting, character, plot and emotional arcs, appreciating those nuances, and figuring out how to take our own writing a little bit deeper. Because as Kate DiCamilla once said, "Every well-written book is a light for me. When you write, you use other writers and their books as guides in the wilderness."
Thanks for joining me on this reading challenge! And good luck!
Interview by Annie Cronin Romano
Welcome Lori, and congratulations on your latest picture book, AWAY WITH WORDS: THE DARING STORY OF ISABELLA BIRD, which hits shelves March 1st!
Thanks, Annie. Writing about Isabella Bird was its own adventure and I’m delighted to have the chance to tell you more about it.
How did you come to be a children’s book author?
Although I was always an avid reader, writing didn’t occur to me until I was a stay-at-home mother of three. When I was re-introduced to children’s literature, I wondered what I could write. I’ve been writing ever since.
Can you share the inspiration for AWAY WITH WORDS? What drew you to share Isabella Bird’s story?
Since Isabella Bird lived during the Victorian Age, like many people, I hadn’t heard about her. However, when I began searching online for women’s firsts, such as first woman doctor, first woman astronaut, etc. I discovered Isabella Bird was the first woman inducted to the Royal Geographical Society. Once I delved into some research, I knew I wanted to tell her unique and exciting story.
AWAY WITH WORDS is a nonfiction picture book biography. What are some of the ways your process with this manuscript was different from that of your fiction work?
Writing fiction and nonfiction has more similarities than one might imagine. In both cases, the author needs to bring the character to life and create an underlying theme that will be meaningful for young readers.
For nonfiction, it requires a lot of research before I discover how I want to tell their story. Since picture books can’t and shouldn’t include everything about someone’s life, picture books have to be very focused and cut to the chase. I love picture biographies because they are so focused, illuminating the most fascinating aspects of someone’s life and his/her accomplishments.
When I write fiction, however, it’s all up to me to come up with an appealing character and storyline. This involves a lot of introspection and exploration to discover the story I want to tell.
Tell us about your road to publication for AWAY WITH WORDS. Was it bumpy? Smooth sailing?
Just like Isabella Bird, this picture book manuscript had its own journey with a lot of twists and turns. I began writing the manuscript 10 years ago and it went through many revisions. However, none of them seemed quite right in spite of an agent’s interest and input. In time, the agent and I parted ways, and I put the manuscript away. However, a few months later, I decided to take another look since I still believed in Isabella’s story. When I revised this time, a metaphor sprang to mind that became the heart of the story.
“Isabella was like a wild vine
stuck in a too small pot.
She needed more room.
She had to get out.
She had to explore.”
This comparison created a unique theme that brought Isabella’s story to life in a way that other versions hadn’t. Along the way to publication, there was a new agent, new editors, and a search for the perfect illustrator. After more than 100 years, I’m delighted that Isabella is off on a new journey as young readers discover her exciting story.
In terms of your writing process, do you plot before you write or are you more of a pantser?
Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if I knew where I was going when I begin to write? Sometimes I do, but most of the time I am a pantser---writing by the seat of my pants until I figure out where I’m going. My manuscripts usually start with the crumb of an idea—a title, a character, an illustration—then I go this way and that until I find my way.
What is your editing process like? Do you belong to a critique group?
I spend a lot of time writing and revising. It takes time to develop a character, storyline, and theme, as well as a lively, read-aloud text. With each revision, the manuscript gets better. New ideas come to mind, I understand the character better, and language begins to flow. Once I’ve completed a manuscript to the best of my ability, I share it with my critique groups—one that meets in person, and another online. Over the years, I’ve found that trusted critique groups are invaluable. They not only celebrate the things that work, they point out areas that don’t make sense and offer suggestions. After I get feedback, I revise again until I’m happy with the result. We don’t always agree, but that’s okay. Writing is a subjective endeavor and, in the end, an author must follow their heart.
What do you love most about being an author?
When I look back on the books I’ve published, I’m so delighted to be part of the picture book community. For me, there is something magical about shaping words into stories, seeing them come to life through the eyes of extraordinary illustrators, then sitting down, book in hand, and reading those stories to young readers.
What is the most challenging part of being an author?
Coming up with stories on a regular basis and all the rejection that’s part of every author’s life.
On your website, you mention some of your favorite books as a child, including Where the Wild Things Are and A Wrinkle in Time. What are some of your favorite books now?
These days, I have so many favorites, it’s impossible to name them all. However, some of my favorite picture book authors include Oliver Jeffers, Julie Fogliano, Liz Garton Scanlon, Don Brown, and Alex Latimer.
You have published over 100 books. Are there any that are particular favorites of yours or hold a special place in your heart?
As you can imagine, they’re all meaningful to me because I spend so much time on each manuscript. However, one reader favorite is Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg published by Clarion. It’s a wild, rambunctious read aloud, illustrated by wonderful Michael Allen Austin, that became one of Amazon’s Best Picture Books in 2013.
We’d love to know what you’re working on now. Any projects coming up?
I have some wonderful projects coming up. In 2020, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will release another picture book biography that will be illustrated by the talented Chloe Bristol. Because its publication date is still a year out, mums the word about the subject for now. But I’m especially looking forward to sharing this individual’s unique and curious story. I’m also excited about the recent sale of a new fiction picture book. I’ll be able to share more details in the coming months once the illustrator has been selected.
What advice would you give to writers out there in the query/submission trenches?
Read the genre of stories you want to write. Study story structure, beginnings, middles, and endings. Study character and voice. Then, keep trying. Be persistent. Persistence is key. As you keep writing, your manuscripts will get better. Don’t be in a rush to submit. Rather, focus on making each manuscript the best that it can be. When it’s irresistible, success is only a submission away.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with 24 Carrot Writing, Lori!
Lori Mortensen is an award-winning children’s book author of more than 100 books and over 500 stories and articles. Her upcoming picture book biography, Away with Words, the Daring Story of Isabella Bird (Peachtree), is about a Victorian traveler who defied society’s boundaries for women and became the first woman inducted into the Royal Geographical Society. Recent picture book releases include If Wendell Had a Walrus (Henry Holt), Chicken Lily (Henry Holt), Mousequerade Ball (Bloomsbury) illustrated by New York Times bestselling illustrator Betsy Lewin, and Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range (Clarion, 2016) a sequel to Cowpoke Clyde & Dirty Dawg, one of Amazon’s best picture books of 2013. When she’s not letting her cat in, or out, or in, she’s tapping away at her computer, conjuring, coaxing, and prodding her latest stories to life. For more information about her books, events, critique service, and upcoming releases, visit her website at www.lorimortensen.com.
~ by Amanda Smith
24 Carrot Writing celebrates with
as her new Young Adult novel,
Falling for Wonder Boy
hits shelves today!
When sixteen-year-old Kate Anderson signs up for the New Hampshire Junior State Golf Championship, she has no idea how important it is for her to win. But when she finds out her family’s beloved golf course is on the verge of going broke, the pressure is on to bring home the top prize. If she can become the first girl to ever win the tournament, she’ll earn more than bragging rights and a college scholarship – she’ll become famous. And with fame comes a gigantic media blitz, and that type of hype is exactly the prize her family needs to bring back the crowds and chase away the threats of bank foreclosure.
Unfortunately, golf is a game of focus and Kate’s distractions are mounting by the day: her growing crush on her best friend Scott and dealing with the local bully seem tough enough without the extra distraction of the cute British exchange kid her dad hires for the summer. But when vandals damage the golf course and Scott is accused of the crime, the stakes suddenly become bigger than any tournament. To clear Scott’s name, Kate takes on the responsibility of finding the culprit before the course is vandalized again. Otherwise, winning the tournament won’t even be on the table, and neither will a future with Scott.
Kristine shares the inspiration behind the novel, as well as her path to publishing:
Falling for Wonder Boy has truly been a labor of love for me. When I started writing in 2006, I was drafting mostly picture book texts for my toddler—they were okay, but not great. I got some nice feedback, but nothing more. When a friend reminded me of an anecdote from our teen years, I had an epiphany. It would make a great YA short story.
My parents managed a golf course in the 1980s. They bought it when I was in the 6th grade. For my entire teen years, we lived, worked, and played golf. When I was in high school, I was the only girl in my four years to go out for the golf team. It just wasn’t a sport girls played in my world.
After I wrote the short story, I shared it with a few trusted friends. And the overwhelming response was that people needed to know more about the characters. That short story ended up being published in Golfer Girl Magazine in 2008 as “The Knight in Tan Khakis” and is more or less Chapters 9 and 10 in the book—where Scott tosses Kate a sweatshirt to cover up a see-through wet t-shirt.
Since 2008, that short story has evolved. For a long time, the title of the novel was The Sweet Spot. It’s been through a dozen revisions, it landed me my agent (more than once). It was acquired by a publishing company and then rejected after the decision was made that golf wasn’t something that would sell to teens. I’ve written other things, including a ton of nonfiction and two published novels (Any Way You Slice It and co-written The Art of the Swap). In fact, Any Way You Slice It was a direct result of that failed acquisition.
The Sweet Spot was shelved for years, but in late 2018, after ten years of close calls, I decided to work with K.R. Conway at Wicked Whale Publishing to independently publish the book. I changed the title to Falling for Wonder Boy and I haven’t looked back.
I’ll be honest, in some ways it’s scarier than anything else I’ve ever published. There are pieces of my heart on display for all to see—it’s mostly fictionalized, but there are moments that really happened (like the sweatshirt toss). Emotions that were real.
This book is truly the book of my heart. Not only is it firmly grounded in my own history, it’s also been the backbone of my writing career. Working on this book taught me how to write. It opened doors for me professionally. It deserves to be out in the world.
I’m grateful to K.R. Conway for her support, guidance, and amazing design skills. I could not have imagined a better skin for Kate and Scott to live inside. I’d love to engage with readers. Please let me know what you think!
Kristine is the author of sixteen works of children’s nonfiction as well as the YA novel Any Way You Slice It and co-author of the middle grade novel The Art of the Swap.
She loves being a Girl Scout leader and a Library Trustee, and volunteering with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her alter-ego is The Query Godmother and she loves critiquing queries and helping people with submission packages. She lives on the outskirts of Boston with her teen daughter and husband, and is represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Visit her at www.kristineasselin.com/
And a give-away!
One lucky reader can win a copy of one of Kristine's YA novels, Any Way You Slice It or Falling for Wonder Boy. A second reader can win a copy of The Art of the Swap, the MG novel Kristine co-wrote with Jen Malone. (Click here for a review.)
Leave us a comment. Winners will be announced March 1, 2019.
Hosted by Kelly Carey
24 Carrot Writing is thrilled to welcome author Jarrett Lerner to the site. Jarrett is the author of EngiNerds, a middle grade series starter hailed by Kirkus as a “boisterous balance of potty humor and geek pride” and a “rollicking young engineer’s adventure”. Its sequel, Revenge of the EngiNerds launches next month and I know my nephew is hoping for more side-splitting fun (and farting robots!).
Jarrett knows how to have fun in his writing but he is also passionate and serious about being a contributing force in KidLit and having a positive effect on his young fans. To that end, Jarrett cofounded and helps run MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects.
Welcome to 24 Carrot Writing Jarrett!
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to the printed page? How did you become a published author?
I’ve been drawing and writing since I can remember. Growing up, I definitely had other interests and hobbies – I played baseball and guitar and skateboarded. But I was always in the middle of a book or two, and I always had notebooks lying around with stories, sketches, and ideas. And while my interest in those other things waned, my interest in reading and creating only grew, and eventually flared up into a full-blown passion.
Even so, it never occurred to me that I could become a published author. In college, I was writing like crazy. And sure, I fantasized about being published. But I truly believed that that’s all such thoughts ever were and ever would be – fantasy. It took an author who I looked up to a great deal challenging me on that and encouraging me to make a go of it before I fully took myself and my work seriously. And then it took years and years to really find myself as a creator, to understand where the stories I wanted to tell “fit.” Or, to put it differently, it took years and years to accept and embrace the fact that I stopped maturing around the age of 10, and that I just wanted to write about farting robots and draw monsters all day long.
Fans of EngiNerds are excited for the sequel, Revenge of the EngiNerds. When did you decide to write a sequel? How did it feel to go back and revisit Ken and his EngiNerd crew in a new manuscript?
Even my earliest drafts of the first book ended on a cliffhanger (I’m a big fan of them!), and when the book eventually sold, it was bought along with a sequel. So I knew pretty much from the get-go that there’d be this follow-up. Revisiting the crew in a new manuscript was both fun and frustrating. I love these characters, and tossing them into a bunch of new crazy situations was a total blast. But there were times when I wished they weren’t so fully formed in my mind (and in the first book!), when if one or another character was just a little more like this or that it would’ve made the plotting of this second book a whole lot simpler. But that just forced me to challenge myself, and in the end, I think, I produced a better book because of it.
You just announced the launch of a new series, Geeger the Robot, an early Chapter Book launching in 2020. How would you compare working on your MG books to working on this Chapter Book series?
Henry James once described novels as “loose, baggy monsters.” He meant it especially when comparing them to short stories, in which there’s less room for detours and digressions and, on the part of the reader, less tolerance for “imperfection.” And if there’s a spectrum for such considerations, then poems would be at the opposite end from the novel. In a poem, a reader might notice (and be irked by) a single out-of-place syllable.
I think James was onto something. With novels, I feel more free to take detours or linger in a scene a bit longer than is strictly necessary, just because it might be interesting or enjoyable. You don’t really have that luxury in shorter works. But at the same time, there’s something thrilling about chasing the “perfection” that is (or at least seems) possible in shorter works. I labor over all of my sentences. But the shorter a work is, the fewer the sentences it contains, the more “right” I feel those sentences need to be.
You have taken your passion for writing and used it to fuel the creation of projects and communities like MG Book Village, Kids Need Books, and Kids Need Mentors. Can you talk about how your writing journey lead you to each of these endeavors?
I think my passion for storytelling and creating has always had a tendency to “spill over.” I read as much, if not more than, I draw and write. I get really, really excited about other people’s work, and want to share it with the world, and I think my involvement in the MG Book Village sprung out of that. And Kids Need Books and Kids Need Mentors – those are both projects aimed at improving and enriching the lives of kids. That’s something I try to do with my books too. While it may look like I’m scattered or that I’ve got too many irons in the fire, I see all of these projects as related.
You have a great natural talent and interest in illustrating. How did you land on MG and Chapter Books and not PBs or graphic novels? Is there a PB or graphic novel in your future?
I’ve been drawing longer than I’ve been writing, and growing up, the two were always linked for me. But I think school – and in particular high school and college – severed them in my mind. There weren’t any pictures in the books we were reading for my literature classes. And if I’d been caught with one that did have them, I probably would’ve been ridiculed for it. And the only time visual art was linked with storytelling was in my Art History courses in college, and then in an extremely scholarly manner.
There’s a great quote from Picasso – “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” I learned a great deal in high school and college. But I think it knocked me off my creative track. I was learning to write like Dostoevsky and Philip Roth and talk about paintings like I was interviewing for a job at MoMA when my heart lay with 8-year-old Jarrett making his own silly comic books in the back of the classroom. Fortunately, it didn’t take me a whole lifetime to reconnect with that kid.
And yes – there are some illustrated works in my future. I’m not allowed to talk much about them just yet, but if you follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter, I now and again give some sneak peeks (shhh… don’t tell my publisher!).
You have done an impressive number of author visits in a far reaching number of states. For example, you’ve been to California, Illinois and all over New England. How did you land your bookings? Manage your travel? And how have you planned your presentations to appeal to different audiences?
I’ve been lucky to receive a number of invitations to schools. And once I have an invitation, I usually start doing outreach to try and turn a single visit into a sort of mini-tour. Last year, for instance, an educator in Chicago expressed interest in my visiting her school. I put out a call to others in the area and was able to get a week’s worth of visits. I’ve organized several other trips in just that way. But I think it’s important to say that I wouldn’t be able to do this as successfully had I not put a lot of time and effort into connecting with educators and librarians all across the country (which is something I continue to do all the time!). I truly believe that kids’ educators and librarians and kids’ book creators are colleagues, and that the more we work together, the better work we can all do. Putting in that time and effort to make these connections has enriched my life in many ways. I’ve learned SO much. I’ve made incredible friends. I’ve grown as a person and as a creator. And, more practically, it’s helped me when it comes to booking visits.
The Dutch version of EngiNerds just launched. How did you balance excitement over a foreign edition with a new illustrator doing the cover and a new title? How can authors and illustrators, who cherish their work, make space to let the creative energy of others add to it?
I fully embrace the collaborative aspect of book-making. Sometimes I feel it’s a bit preposterous that authors get to have their names alone on their book covers! It’s almost always a team effort. I’ve also always subscribed to the idea that, once you put a book out into the world, it’s no longer yours – or no longer only yours. In engaging imaginatively with a work, each reader assumes a slice of ownership of the book too. I think because of all this, I find it thrilling to see what other creators do with “my” work. But that doesn’t mean I can’t question or challenge some of the choices they make – that’s part of the collaborative process too.
At 24 Carrot Writing we are big on goal setting. Do you set detailed writing goals, broad yearly goals or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
I think I do some combination of both – I set goals by the seat of my pants! I am never working on just one project. I always have two, three, and sometimes even four or five going at once, each of them usually in a different stage of completion (or incompletion). On any given day, I’ll take two things into consideration: (1) what I feel like working on, and (2) about how much time I’ll have to work on it. Given that, I might do some exploratory doodling, or dive into novel revisions, or work on putting together a picture book dummy. Every now and again, though, I really “land” on a certain project, and will give it my full attention and concentrated energy until it’s finished (or a draft or version of it is complete). I guess you could call it “occasionally organized chaos,” but it keeps things both fun and productive for me. And that’s huge. If I’m not enjoying the work, it shows in the results. That might not be true for all creators, but it is for me.
Of course, sometimes some of this goes out the window when you’ve got deadlines. But the majority of the time, I meet my deadlines without changing things up.
24 Carrot Writing sits on the premise that authors need to set and accomplish both writing goals and the business of writing goals. How do you balance your responsibilities to MG Book Village, Kids Need Books, and Kids Need Mentors with writing your books and hitting your writing deadlines?
I touched on this in an earlier question, but basically, I think it’s all about perspective, and about how you define your work and your goals. I love, love, LOVE making books. And yes, I could probably do that and only that all day every day for the rest of my life and be BEYOND content. But I don’t see making books as the only aspect of my work as a creator – or, what’s more, as the only facet of what I, as a human being, have to offer during my time on the planet. In addition to making good books, I want to more directly help and inspire kids, and I want to give back to the various communities that have supported and sustained me. With such goals, it’s not so much about finding balance as it is about finding the time to get it all done!
What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Embrace, explore, and celebrate the things that make you (and your creative output) uniquely you. The weirder and wonkier, the better.
To learn more about Jarrett you can visit him at jarrettlerner.com/ , or find him on Twitter @Jarrett_Lerner.
You can purchase copies of EngiNerds or Revenge of the Enginerds using these links: www.indiebound.org/book/9781481468725, www.indiebound.org/book/9781481468749, www.amazon.com/EngiNerds-MAX-Jarrett-Lerner/dp/1481468723/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547132304&sr=8-1&keywords=enginerds , www.amazon.com/Revenge-EngiNerds-MAX-Jarrett-Lerner/dp/148146874X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547132360&sr=8-1&keywords=revenge+of+the+enginerds .
And be ready to have Jarrett in a bookstore near you! Jarrett will be at the South Portland Public Library in Maine on February 23rd and at Print Bookstore in Maine on March 12th. 24 Carrot Writers be sure to say hello!
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