Is it a story yet?

Hi guys… I’m wondering… What part of writing do you find the toughest? And I’m asking about craft here — not publishing industry issues (that’s a whole ‘nother can o’). So, what really slows you down — character, plot, worldbuilding/research, beginnings, middles, ends, revising (anything else)? Or even psychological things — family/friends that don’t understand, working alone, etc.? Think of this as an essay question for research purposes…

37 responses to “Is it a story yet?

  1. Oh, let’s see. Butt-in-chair is hard some days. Middles suck, because they’re so much like work. The mental shift between coming home from The Day Job and sitting down and writing is a killer, but I’m getting better at it. Plot is hard, but one learns to kick leaves over the plot holes more efficiently as one goes on.
    Overall, though, I think the hardest part of writing is the sheer frustration. The lack of positive reinforcement, the feeling that one is wasting one’s time, that one will never be good enough, that there is always more to learn and that one doesn’t know nearly enough and probably never will.
    And that one will never sell a story again if one lives to be a hundred.
    That’s been better lately, though. *g*

  2. The occasional freak-outs are the worst times. The sudden realization that I’m not really any good at this writing thing and that someone’s going to call my bluff any minute.
    Luckily, those times are not terribly common. So I’ll vote for application of butt to chair and fingers to keyboard. I’ve been doing much better lately. Deadlines help, even (especially?) when absurd and arbitrary. I need to find and/or create more of them.

  3. Plot. Absolutely, without a doubt, plot. I’ve got characters, worlds, but plot — and all the fiddly little details therein — usually take me the longest to work out.
    Middles play a close second. Revisions are fun, I think, mostly because you get to stumble over those bits that seem to have come from someone else’s hand/pen/keyboard that are just That Good, you know?
    I have to second Bear’s frustration factor, too. There are days when it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth picking yourself up because you know you’ll just get knocked down again.

  4. I think I must be stupid, because things that were easy in one story or book are hard in another. And then I think that’s the hard part: that I can’t count on any of it. That there’s a level of mastery, sure, where I can recognize structural problems or characterization lapses or what have you — but that getting better means that I know better what needs fixing, rather than just having words of gold flow from my pen/keyboard.
    This is also what I love about writing: that it always presents new challenges, that there’s always something more to learn about doing any and all aspects of it. But different things are hardest to me each time, and that may be hardest.
    That and having to deal with the @&*#$ post orifice. I’m very good at making excuses for editors (“I’m sure her mother got sick,” “His cat probably died,” “I’ll bet there’s some glitch and she’s spent the week fighting the DMV, the IRS, and the County Assessor all at once”), but the PO drives me mad.

    • I love that about writing. I love that it can and must be studied. I love that about my favorite things, about writing and horses and my major classes, that there’s always so much more to learn but that the next thing always seems almost-but-not-quite within reach…not hopeless, but not easy, either.
      And then the next thing is grasped, but there’s a new next thing, and that one is within sight, but not yet touchable — not quite. But it will be. And something else won’t. And sometimes the something else will be a new level on a thing that’s already been grokked.
      I love this most of the time, I should say. Some of the time, it leads to freak-out city.

      • ooo Freak out city!
        There is something about work — hard, but good and honest work — that is satisfying. This is why I also like that writing is a thing that must be studied. because then it’s more than just randomly putting some words on paper, which isn’t as satisfying. It’s about making those words work and work hard and then…. ooo yay, look: story 🙂

        • Plateaus suck.
          Who said plateaus?
          They suck. *g*

        • I remembered something I was going to say about this but then forgot. Then Bear said something about plateus and I remembered.
          Writing as work reminds me of web design. Because making web pages is hard work. Especially ones that look good and aren’t going to crash a browser and stuff. I do some graphic stuff, too, and that is all very rote work. Always with the cutting and pasting and taking out one color to put in another and on and on. Many days I am soooo sick of looking at code and stuff I want to never touch it again. but then the final product is so satisfying. I love looking at well-designed web pages and going “Hey, I did that and it’s darned good”. That’s how it is with writiting (for me).

      • I love that about writing. I love that it can and must be studied.
        Me, too.

    • mine don’t shift completely between stories, but over time I”ll discover that some skill that I was totally taking for granted and could do with my eyes closed packed up and left while I was showing off. Usually it’s sentence level stuff. I’ll figure out that I can write, and then I’ll forget sentence level work. I’ll work out how to hurt my characters, and forget sentence work. It’s getting so I can tell when I’m going to plateau by the fact that whatever I’m working on is reading smoothly.
      I think what I hate most is the waiting. Not just for responses, which I accept. I hate waiting when things are late though–I never know why they’re late, and it makes me cranky while I remember that I’m waiting. With that it’s not so much the waiting itself but the fact that I don’t know how long I’ll be waiting. If I knew I’d hear on date X, I’d be totally okay with the wait. The eviler sort of waiting though is the waiting to write that I do, and the waiting to get good enough to finish stories and all that. I hate knowing that I can write the story that’s dancing around in my head, but if I wait, it’ll be better. It’s tangentially related to butt-in-chair, as I know that I can sit down and write a story in a week if I have to, I just don’t, but it’s also separate. I quite often write 500-1500 words, and then put the story away for 1-10 months to think about or some such, and then pull it out and finish it in a weekend. And I’m not sure what exactly I’m waiting for there, but there’s something there though. And the waiting just drives me crazy–flipping through the stories on my hard drive, trying to decide what I should work on, what I’m ready to write, and what will still take some time to think about.

  5. Plots — I think I’ve conquered the sagging middle, but with each new character that appears I go “well, that’s great, but you know, she/he has to *do* something whilst on the stage, otherwise it’s just ramble.”
    And I too have my “I’m not any good — my writing is crap” days…

  6. I have to choose a hardest? It’s all hard.
    I think that, for me, the hardest part is getting my lovely inspiration and words from a great writing flow to not be so sloppy when they get on the page the first time. it’s incorporating all the things that make a story not good but great or spectacular into my writing muscles so that i don’t have to spent so much time in revision trying to get these things in.
    With writing, there are a whole slew of things that go into making a story great. Every little step along the way has a list, checkboxed if you think that way, of things that need to be done, said, and evoked along with all the ways to do, say, and evoke them.
    So I try to ingrain these things I learn about writing into my head so that someday they will be as natural as sneezing. But more fun.

  7. Confidence, or rather the lack of it. Continuity, i.e. actually remembering to fire the gun in the third act. Worrying that every “original” idea therein is actually a giant cliche of the worst order. Plotting is easy. Self-loathing is hard.

  8. Communication
    I think there are two things here — what slows me down, and what’s hardest.
    I say that because I can be slowed down by unexpected research — the kind where you suddenly need to know a ‘proper’ name for something, or suchlike distractions. Where it takes a couple of hours to discover that there isn’t a proper name, or the quote is a misquote or… ::grins::
    That slows me down, but it isn’t hard. Just annoying.
    Real life problems slow me down. When you can’t stop thinking about something long enough to write. Days when my brain is slow also add on the hours…
    And points where my subconscious slams on the breaks because it isn’t quite ready to enlighten me as to why I just wrote in a particular piece of business and what it means to the rest of the book. “Why *is* it important that the Hajhuj computer screening system isn’t working properly? Oh yeah — because it gives me a chance to give much needed upfront mention of the code chip — thank you subconscious you saved the day again :o)”
    But hard — hard is mostly the self-confidence issues. The ones that get tough to work with when you reach certain wordcounts, or find yourself facing a scene you’ve blown already. Or just when you figure that people say nice things because they’re nice people and want to be encouraging.
    Apart from self-confidence?
    The stupid thing that I write so slowly and keep realising or learning new things before I get a first draft anywhere near done.
    Keeping a whole book in my head when that involves remembering what colours people are and whether they should be darkening at the ear-ridges, or purpling at the throat, or turning pale, and for which particular insult/aggressive act. And there’s too clever by half :o) Trying to decide if I’ve shown enough of something for people to have figured how it works, or have to show it some more. Or even tell them straight.
    Probably the hardest thing I’ve had to learn is to keep fewer secrets. I used to try and make everything into a mystery — an intellectual puzzle — and it’s still hard for me to decide when something should be ‘revealed’. I was really far too pleased with myself the other day when I gave the answer to a puzzle almost the minute I’d shown there was a puzzle :o)
    The hardest thing I still have to learn, may well be to overcome my fear of being melodramatic. I tend to downplay emotional scenes, which may be why some critters miss that they are emotionally significant. I’m depending on people reading carefully and with thought, and between the lines.
    Maybe the hardest part for me is still balancing the book I would write for myself, with the book written in a way that other people understand what made me want to write that particular story.
    And yes, I think that probably is one of the things which slows me down most. And worries me most.
    So I find I do have a short answer to the essay question. What slows me down most and is the hardest part of the craft for me — is making certain I’m communicating.

  9. Sitting my butt down and doing the writing is by far the hardest part of writing for me. Second to that: recognizing when I’ve screwed up and need to go back and fix something rather than insisting it’s okay and I can just plow on. Once my butt’s in the chair, the writing process isn’t usually difficult for me; once I recognize that I’ve screwed up and need to fix something, fixing it isn’t usually that hard (although it *really* helps to have a beta reader/critique partner (HI SARAH!) to bounce ideas off if I’m stuck), and then I can forge onward.
    A thing that slows me down is description: it takes me for_ev_er to do descriptive scenes. I write very slowly and hold my breath and stare into the distance a lot, and when I’m done with them I’m usually ready to wander around going “blblblbl”. The gratifying thing is that those scenes where I’ve ground my teeth trying to get the descriptions right often get unprompted praise, but *man*, I tell you what, if I thought opening a vein and bleeding on the keyboard would actually *work*, I’d do that instead.
    There’s also the “Oh God, this is a disaster, it sucks, it’s horrible, what am I doing” wall that I often hit about a third of the way into the WiP. So far I’ve determined that three things cause me to hit that wall: the first is that I have in fact genuinely screwed up, and I have to go fix things in order to make the book hold together enough so I can continue.
    The second is running into a psychological barrier; this happened to me when I was writing my YA fantasy novel. I had a sudden horrible day of, “This is not Pamela Dean’s THE SECRET COUNTRY and therefore it is PURE CRAP.” (Solved by re-reading TSC; by halfway through it, I knew that hers wasn’t the book I wanted to be writing, so it was all okay after that.)
    The third is an “Everything is okay thus far, but now I don’t know where the hell I’m going with the plot” problem. This one I solve by confessing all my sins, or at least the major plot points, to the nearest available person, usually either my husband or , who then helps me shake off the dust and figure out where I’m going next. Out of the three wall-hitting scenarios, that’s the one I kind of like best, because it means I haven’t screwed up and I don’t have to re-read anything to reassure myself of that. 🙂
    Research doesn’t usually slow me down, because I’ve learned that if I stop to research, I’ll spend the next six hours doing that instead of writing. Instead I tend to litter my first drafts with (GO LOOK THIS UP) comments, allowing me to charge on without knowing what the tallest building in Paris in 1792 was, even if it’s relevant to the story. (It was the Pantheon, finished in 1790; for the 5 centuries previous to that, it was Notre Dame. Because I know you were all wondering.) I do that kind of research later, if I can manage to at all, because that way the momentum of writing doesn’t get broken. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a useful way to try to manage the lure of Google.
    But thinking about it…description’s the bitch. Always always always. Whether it’s physical descriptions of locations or emotional content or clothes, I find it to be like unto sweating blood.
    Aside from the butt-in-chair issue, I don’t really have any major psychological writing traumas. Like everybody, I have “augh I suck” days, and have to face down chapters that I know are pure tripe, but I’m insanely fortunate: my family and friends are all incredibly supportive and I enjoy the solitude necessary for focusing on writing as much as I enjoy the sessions of throwing plot ideas around with fellow writers while we try to get a bug in a story worked out. I have an incredibly unlikely amount of self-confidence, and literally never doubted I’d be published, which doesn’t help much with the soul-crushing rejection letters, but helps quite a lot with the “is there any point in getting up again” feeling that we all rail against.
    You *did* say it was an essay question. 🙂

  10. Commitment. I have a lot of trouble with committing to the story and following through with it to its logical conclusion. Both of my “completed” short stories are illustrations of this; I bring the plot etc. up to a certain point and then abandon it as if it was all done.
    This problem is the sibling of “fear of failure” and “self-doubt,” and part of my personal family of psychological issues. I’m presently engaged in trying to conquer it by writing a novel that isn’t a cherished old friend, which in theory should make it easier (Hah!). I’ve learned to speak up in class without qualms and can speak to an audience audibly and with only moderate anxiety; I can do this too. I’ve learned to write non-fiction with authority and plenty of commitment, after all. Fiction is only about, oh, three or four times as hard as that …

  11. In terms of craft? Pacing. I can do plot, I can do dialogue (luuuuuv dialogue), I can do motivations and explanations-without-dumps, and all the other essentials. but keeping it all taut and motoring and without ugly sagging places is where I seem to have the most frustration. I suspect that if I were less of a burst writer I’d have fewer problems with this. Now that I have larger chunks of time for writing, there may be a change. Or I may be too old a dog already. We’ll see.
    Outside of craft, the fact that I hate everything I write five minutes after I finish it and need external validation before I can bring myself to look at it again. That sucks. Wastes time. Hate wasting time.

  12. Plot & Pacing…
    Plot & pacing are the hardest things for me.
    Plot: where are they going? And why? And what will happen when they get there?
    Butt in chair time is rare enough that that’s not usually an issue for me: when I get a few hours of uninterrupted time, I can sit down and do 1000-2000 words. That’s usually once a week or so.
    But that makes it hard to maintain continuity, to come to the writing in the same mood that I was in when I left off last time. Last time, the cat might have barfed on the rug and the kid might have thrown a fit right before I started writing, and fueled what I was doing with a unique set of frustrations.
    This time, someone might have tipped into ARDS and died the night before, and I’m wondering in the back of my head what I could have done differently. Conversely, I could have managed to do something *right* at work, and be glowing from the praise.
    So it’s hard to remember why I was writing what I was writing. It’s hard to get the pacing right; all my first drafts end up being PAGES and PAGES of setup for a short story, and then the conflict-climax-conclusion is the last 10% of the story.
    And I always have to go back and fix it.

  13. From a craft point of view? My plots are still extremely weak, and I have to fight with every word of description to ensure I don’t slip into white room dialogue and fun with characters.
    From an overall point of view? Doing it. I was doing really well for a while, regaining my time to write, and my drive to write, but it’s fallen aside again. The creativity has slipped away and I seem to be mired in the real world of family and work. I need to find a way to work it all together, and fit in the work, and the family, and the fun things (because without the fun things the creativity dries up completely), and the work of writing. When I get it all figured out how to *do* it and make time, then I’ll start panicking more over the craft again, I guess. Right now, I’m just always so tired, even just psychologically tired, that it’s hard to get started.

  14. Thanks!
    I wanted to say thanks to everyone so far who’s been replying. I’m getting some really interesting insights; seeing some intriguing patterns. Still hoping for some more, of course. After all, it’s not as if I might enjoy picking apart writers’ minds for a living. Heh.

  15. The middle of the plot.
    I’m trying to figure out how to explain what I mean, because it is a very particular thing. Maybe the best label is the problem-solving moment.
    I think I was talking to when I came up with the river delta metaphor. Plot, for me, starts with a single current; the river widens and widens, develops several different currents of varying strength, we get into a delta with a myriad channels, spreading out over several miles–and then comes the moment where I have to turn around and stuff everything back into the original creek bed.
    I hate that.
    Another way to put it is that I’m very good at thinking up complications and mysteries, but terrible at thinking up explanations and solutions. So the moment where I have to shift from one to the other (and that may not be a single visible moment in the story itself, but it is a definite waypoint in the process) is the moment at which a story is most likely to die on me.
    There are other things that are hard–people have been mentioning motivation and self-confidence issues, and I agree in spades–but this is the crocodile with the clock in its stomach as far as I’m concerned.

  16. For me, when a story is working, the middle is the best part to write, because that’s when I’m developing and broadening and deepening all the strands and intricacies that will knit together toward the end. Or maybe because that’s where the caramel-nougaty goodness is. I do love caramel nougat. The middle becomes a nightmare when I don’t know the ending (which is why 99% of the time I won’t start writing until I know the ending, short story and novel alike). So, hardest part(s) of writing…
    1. Coming up with the ending so I can start…
    2. Getting frustrated with lack of feedback (of the sort that I want, that best suits me me me)…
    which is related to
    3. Trusting myself to understand what is working and not working without depending desperately on finding someone to tell me I’m not out of my mind, and following through on whatever I perceive.
    Oh, and the part where I starve and pass out because I’d rather sit writing for 20 hours straight than risk chasing away the muse for a month by stopping to, oh, look for paying work — that could be the toughest part of writing of all.

    • Oh, endings terrify me. Not endings exactly, but last words. Denouement. I’m working on my second grown-up novel, sixth novel total, and for every single one of them, I’ve written the last page waaaaay in advance because I’ve been afraid I wouldn’t be able to come up with another if the fleeting inspiration lfet me.

  17. Butt-in-chair.
    Not getting bogged down by possibilities halfway through. (Is this idea better? Which one is less trite?)
    Long-term focus. (A book takes a while. I tend to go off and do something like a craft project and lose my mental focus or train-of-thought and it’s hard to get the momentum back.) (Actually, this is related to butt-in-chair. And come to think of it, I can do butt-in-chair pretty well; I’m doing it now. But I’m not *writing*.)

  18. Apparently like a number of others, I have trouble with plot, at least in short stories. I ferquently have cast I think is interesting, a complex and exciting world, intriguing and pleasingly bizarre incidents, and an important theme, but how to tie them together into a narrative that is consistent with all the above, that the reader can believe in and that draws the reader ineluctably on, I find very difficult.

  19. Self-confidence, number one. Facing the “oh god I’m too old to start doing this; there are twenty zillion other younger writers out there who have better chances than me; I ought to chuck it all and go back to school for bricklaying” moments.
    Research that stops the writing cold, which I think is also a self-confidence issue (“oh god I’m making a mistake and everyone’s going to jump on me for it that is if this ever gets published which it won’t”). Nitpicky worldbuilding issues, same deal.

  20. I think Bear put it best – positive reinforcement. Recently I came across a book of old quotes and flipped through it as I was packing. One of the passages addressed a mason who built a glorious temple. People marveled at the work that went into laying of each brick, at the sweat and effort it took to raise this grandiose building. They said that this truly was a monument to the greatness of human spirit. Next door to the mason lived a teacher, who also built “temple,” laying each “brick” with the same effort and sweat. Nobody praised the temple he had built because it existed only in the minds of his students.
    It’s a cheesy passage, but it stuck with me for a number of reasons. One of the hardest things about writing for me is that I have no way to qualify it. I lack the ability to look at the passage I wrote and say, “Yes, this is a decent piece of work.” It’s not like making sweaters or printing T-shirts, frex, where the result of my efforts is immediately obvious. In a way, writing is a thankless occupation.
    As far as the writing itself goes, the hardest thing for me at this point is the characterization of the POV players. Being one of those sad writers who can’t just sit down and write thousands of words freely, I am constantly aware of the POV and I end up thinking about every sentence. Compared to this, the plot and setting come to me with very little effort. Side characters are also relatively easy to sketch out.

  21. (surfed on over from meylmbrosia, and since I just finished NaNo, felt brave enough to throw in my two drachmae)
    1) Getting started (not sure if this is quite what people have been meaning with “butt-in-chair”). Discovered to my shock and slight horror during NaNo that if I get started, I can, well, actually write. It all spills out. If I don’t make time for it and sit down and do it — Forgetitsville. You would think this would be obvious to a halfway intelligent person who somehow managed to get through grad school, but I keep forgetting about it and whining abt how I don’t write. Bizarre.
    2) Middles. I hate middles. I can get the beginning going fine, I usually have an idea what the end’s going to be when I start or if it changes during the writing, fine — middles are like the Sahara, and your car’s stalled, and black smoke is starting to leak from underneath the hood, and vultures are circling….melodramatic yes, but oh man, middles just kill me.
    3) The switch between work world to writing world. My husband somehow managed to keep writing a philosophical dissertation while working full-time and going to school full-time. I don’t know how. When I get off work, I feel drained, and it takes a huge effort to try to get back into the mood of whatever I’m writing — who the people are, why they mean what they do to each other, why things are happening a certain way.
    4) This is something I haven’t seen mentioned yet I don’t think — what used to paralyze me were all the various options within a story, all the possible ways a plot could go. Should A and B do X? What if they did Y? That would lead to Z, and Z’….but if they did X, that would lead to something totally different, like 3….I would write out all the different scenarios and be unable to choose between them. I got over that, somewhat, by telling myself if I wrote a scene one way and it didn’t work, I could just go back and rewrite it another way later, or sticking variants in a ms. to see which version worked in general when the work was all done.
    Research was something of a killer, too, until I learned the “LOOK UP LATER” method someone mentions earlier.
    And yes, the sudden realization after finishing a scene that “This is crap, this is all crap, it has never been anything but crap, and I would be far better suited to being a pearldiver at the nearest Larry’s Market”.
    moi

  22. Plot and the pacing thereof. I always think I’m going to create some lovely, oiled machine, but I get this Escher tangle of subtleties instead. Or at least it looks that way to me. Since I’m in rewrite mode right now, I’m totally in that tangle, because nothing is staying put for very long. Middles kind of go along with the plot/pacing problem.
    Butt in chair isn’t so tough for me when I’ve got a project going that I like. And since I am not dependent upon writing for food, then I don’t have to work on projects I don’t like.
    “My writing sucks” crops up periodically, but luckily I have friends to tell me it does not suck. Except when it truly does.
    Easy things: for me, characterization is easy. Their motivations and quirks and speech patterns generally appear with little visible effort. Dialogue is easy. Creating plot complications based on the characters is easy, once I nerve myself to hurt them. Endings are easy (it’s getting to them that’s hard).

    • I always think I’m going to create some lovely, oiled machine, but I get this Escher tangle of subtleties instead.
      Uh-huh. What I refer to as the realization that what I wanted ain’t never going to appear on the page, because what I wanted is currently beyond my reach. And always will be, because I have Long-Term Ambitions for my writing. Which is a good thing, except when it makes me go into the “crap crap all is crap” routine.

      • What I refer to as the realization that what I wanted ain’t never going to appear on the page, because what I wanted is currently beyond my reach.
        I’ve accepted that some things are out of my reach–for instance, I am not nor ever will be either Ursula LeGuin or Patricia McKillip. It’s the ALMOST in reach, with just a bit more work, things that sometimes make me crazy.

        • I am not nor ever will be either Ursula LeGuin or Patricia McKillip.
          But that’s okay, because two books like Always Coming Home would break my poor brain.
          All of writing is difficult for me, especially the confidence issues. Somewhere in my youth, someone convinced me that being good at math and science meant that I couldn’t be good at fiction. So ideas occur to me regularly (usually in the shower, where I have no writing implement to record them), but I fall down when I try to write them out. Needless to say, in spite of having finished NaNoWriMo, I’m still at the very beginning of the writing journey. I think I still have one foot on the stoop, in fact.

  23. The most difficult…
    Butt in chair is definitely a huge portion of the hard stuff, but I find it equally hard not to get discouraged. The story sounds so wonderful in my head, but when it comes out on paper, it’s nothing like the creature I envisioned. I get so discouraged that I hate re-reading what I’ve written, plug ahead relentlessly, revising to try and pick and nudge it toward what it should be, and before long it resembles nothing like the tale I originally wanted to tell.
    And that I find is one of the most depressing things. 🙂

  24. Confidence and family, which are actually the same. To even get into the chair to do work is difficult when you have your family nagging you to look after them, and no one understands what’s so important about that silly old computer anyway. And since they don’t understand, when you try to explain, they go, “that’s nice, but you need to make sure that you keep your real job”. In my neck of the woods, there is just no way to make a living writing, so even talking about being an author is another language. No one understands it, and no one supports it.
    There are times when I’m convinced that I’m write generic crap that Ellison wouldn’t wipe his butt with and that I’m wasting my time dreaming about what can’t be. Being convinced that everyone around me is right when I’m trying to just finish a book in something near what I had in mind…yeah, that’s the hardest part for me.

  25. Applying rear end to chair. Seeing things through to the end. Getting bogged down in endless second-guessing. Getting bogged down in unimportant details. (Write the endless details down, Patch, if you must… but DON’T put them in the story!) Getting distracted. Getting discouraged. Fizzling out 6,000 words in because I’ve discovered that I don’t really have a plot. Having more fun developing the world than writing it.

  26. Letting myself get it wrong the first time through. I actually produce words if I write a truly crappy first set of scenes until I run out of plot, then go back and tighten all of that up while the next set of scenes percolate.
    If I insist on getting it tonally perfect the first time through I never get anywhere.
    If I insist on trying to keep going when I have a big enough block that needs to be revised to make it tonally appropriate I also never get anywhere.
    I forget all of this on a daily basis, though.

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