Forum: Originality and Authority in Fanfiction

Discussing: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Last week, a person I'd never heard of claimed I had plagiarized from one or more stories I had never read. It was, to put it mildly, a shock to read this. The alleged acts of plagiarism were simply incorporating somewhat stock literary scenes into my story - a couple standing on a rooftop/high spot under the stars, a husband solicitously putting food onto a wife's plate, a person falling asleep while cradling something dear. My first reaction was to tell her she was no-good, two-faced, lying weasel trying to drum up some attention. Upon reflection, this does raise an interesting literary question - how does an author take a reasonably generic scenario or story element and make it her own?

I'm going to take those three elements and talk about how and why they have been brought into my novel Hands of the King (HotK). This is not so much to refute claims of plagiarism (the claims were false and malicious and the person has been banned from HASA) as to get us all thinking about the ways in which we all use common themes, symbols, scenes and structures to come up with original works.

Scene Setting - Location, location, location

One of the delights of writing Tolkien fanfiction is the wonderful geography available to us. Central to HotK is Minas Tirith. Physically and symbolically, the city serves as a focal point and is as much a character as any person. Denethor in particular has a unique relationship to the place of his birth. It defines him much as Rivendell defines Thorongil/Aragorn. The primary characteristic of Minas Tirith is its height - it is physically tall and also the capital of the kingdom, the highest point of society and government. Denethor is at its peak. He is, after his father, the highest ranking member of Gondorian society. He lives in the Citadel, the uppermost circle of the city. Throughout the tale, he can be found on rooftops, walking along edges, scaling walls, getting a rush from constantly teetering on the edge of a great fall. It is both bravery and recklessness.

For the other main character, Finduilas, there is a different relationship to Minas Tirith. It is a dreamscape, a place where hopes and nightmares come alive. She first sees it in a dream and is shocked into an asthmatic seizure when she sees it with her own eyes and recognizes her dream made real. The heights are places of peril, not exhilaration. She sees the relationship between Minas Tirith and Barad-dûr keenly; two places bound together by geography and fate to be the physical location for a metaphysical contest that spans the ages of Arda. As with Denethor, Finduilas is also at a social and political height - daughter of a powerful regional ruler, a woman whose marriage can solidify a husband's fortunes - but it is not as certain. In a way that Denethor does not, she has a choice of whether to stand upon the most exposed location in the socio-political world.

Thus, there are many scenes in HotK showing the two of them, together and apart, upon the walls, towers and roofs of Minas Tirith, reinforcing the theme of height. The scenes of them together also document the progress of their own relationship. Their first scene has them arguing, with Denethor in cynical despair and foreswearing marriage and children.  The second has Denethor comforting her as she confronts him with the terrible visions she sees, fighting off his own desire for her as he does so. The third has Finduilas throwing caution to the wind and declaring her love for him and her intention to remain with him, wringing a confession of love from Denethor in return. A fourth soon follows, where the personal profession of love mutates into something more political, an explicit joining of forces against political enemies. A year later, they stand upon the walls after their wedding, on display for the entire city to acknowledge as their de facto king and queen, though the moment is haunted by Finduilas' visions of destruction and downfall. The scene claimed to be plagiarized refers back to the first rooftop scene. It is four years later, and they are wed, expecting a child. Finduilas demands that Denethor think back to his earlier despair and say what is in his heart now. The answer is not entirely reassuring.

Character Development - The sub-text of ordinary acts

We often have characters declaim on what they are thinking. An internal monologue can make things explicit to the reader. Characters can recount what they have seen or overheard to let us in on actions of other characters. But what if you need something more subtle?

The sub-text of ordinary acts can help you define a character in ways the reader may not be conscious of until an "Ah-ha!" moment in a story. It can be something that adds to a character, but is not vital to understanding the main plot. It can also help to display the contradiction between a character's explicit self-understanding and how they actually behave. It allows you to highlight aspects of a character that seem opposite poles, yet have an underlying connection.

Denethor serving food to Finduilas (and others, usually his elder sister, Aiavalë) is one of the ordinary acts I use to explore the tensions in his character. He is a dominant man who can be very submissive to the women he loves, to the point of being servile. He loathes being out of control of a situation. He is a generous person, capable of enormous acts of charity and decency, but he is also suspicious of placing himself in another's debt. In choosing food for Finduilas, he is both solicitous and controlling. Here, I have prepared this plate for you, denying myself the best. I have defined what is best, in the food and for you, and now you are beholden to eat it. You will eat what I give you, because it is done in love and for your own good. I am the arbiter of what is best for you, because I love you so much I would do without so that you may have it. Over and over in the story, you will see these unspoken moments of submission and control. Denethor himself is not really conscious of what he is doing. He is aware only in the obverse, for example when Thorongil attempts to gift him with a pipe and a pouch of pipeweed and Denethor immediately suspects a trick. It cannot simply be a gift of a generous heart.

Props - Fun with pets

Let's face it, sometimes you just need to get a scene going or bring it to an end. Hitchcock talked about "MacGuffins" which are plot devices to kick things off, but may not be relevant to the actual story. A good story can weave in its props and plot devices in such a way that whenever you need them, they are there, but don't end up being too crude or obvious.

One of my favorite props in HotK is Telperien, Finduilas' cat. It helps that she is animated and can respond to the human characters, but she's pretty much used as a filler on scenes or to allow something to happen. She came in quite by accident as a simple prop in an early chapter, and quickly proved to be useful. I use her in four reasonably consistent ways:

  • As a "conversation partner" that Denethor or Finduilas can talk to, allowing me to let them speak thoughts out loud.
  • As an emotional comforter and stand in for the other person when he/she is absent. Telperien does this more for Denethor than for Finduilas. There are several scenes in the story where the cat cuddles next to him in bed or in his chair, often soothing him to sleep with her purring.
  • As a "trust" meter with other people. She likes Gandalf and Thorongil and screams bloody murder when Maiaberiel shows up.
  • As comic relief. Let's face it, cats are funny. She plays games with Gandalf's smoke rings, she doe her best to trip her owners, she steals Denethor's writing quills, and crumples his reports.

Because she is integrated into the story, she is on hand for use whenever she is needed.

The devil is in the details

I suspect that if I went through all Denethor and/or Finduilas stories, I could find several dozen (if not several hundred) examples of other authors having them kiss on a rooftop under the stars, serve each other food, and fall asleep cuddling a pet or one of their children. These are standard literary devices on which to hang an story precisely because they are such ordinary human activities. I've kissed my husband under the stars many times. I've fixed him and other loved ones meals intended to make them feel special. I have had pets all my life and cannot count the number of times I've fallen asleep with a dog as my pillow or with a cat in the crook of my arm. They are the basic building blocks of life.

What makes them original and gives us authority over them is in the performance of our writing. Of all the dozens or hundreds of kisses exchanged between Denethor and Finduilas in the fandom, what makes this one unique? Perhaps it is that we expect them to kiss and they don't, or not in the way we imagine. Perhaps it is the reason they kiss. Perhaps it is their mood as they do so - romantic, angry, anxious, afraid, sleepy, content. Perhaps what matters is not the kiss but the stars, or the elevation, or the shout that happens in the next minute. But the bare fact of them kissing, or even kissing on a rooftop in Minas Tirith at night, is a starting point, not a fully realized moment.

So, the final and only answer to the ham-fisted attempt by one integrity-challenged individual to hoard to herself the ordinary texture of life is this: we have taken these small acts and infused them with our own imagination, making them part of ourselves. There is nothing of you in them.

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

This may not be the ideal place for it, but I'd like to thank the people at HASA who investigated the claims of plagiarism and dealt with them so thoroughly.   From the official statement posted today, a great deal of work and time has gone into this investigation - far more than I ever realised.

As one of the accused authors, I am very glad to have been vindicated, and would like to publicly thank everyone involved.

Jay

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

I'll second that! A huge thank you to the HASA admin team who kept the investigation clean, thorough and rapid.  And a special thanks to them for putting the facts out in public. 

I have been involved in fandom, in one way and another, for well over thirty years and this is certainly one of the nicest and most suportive comunities I have ever been involved with.  

Thank you all so much! 

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Words fail me.

If I were to make a deceitful accusation of plagiarism, I wouldn't make the simple mistake of undermining my credibility from the start by targeting this combination of talented and diverse authors. Frankly, the suggestion that any one of them - let alone all of them together - might steal another writer's ideas or expressions, rather than demonstrating their own unmistakable creativity and skill, is simply absurd.

My heart goes out to each of the gifted writers who were falsely accused, and I applaud the HASA admins for their professional handling of such an egregious claim.

Warmest regards to all involved,
- Barbara

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Wow. Applause to Anglachel and Dawn.  What amazing analyses of their writing.  I don't usually do anything approaching a thematic analysis when I sit down to write.  When Allie asked for 'student' drabbles for her birthday, I knew that I wanted to do a 'young Estel' story. While I have read many excellent stories about Estel learning things, my experiences with my own children led me to believe he might not be so compliant or quite as precocious as he is sometimes portrayed.  Estel has to grow up to be Aragorn.  I can't imagine him with all of Aragorn's adult qualities at age, oh, eleven.  I wanted him to be realistically a child caught when he first wants to go beyond his limits, but not really understanding yet what being 'grown up' means.

I saw him as well schooled in some areas, both practical and academic.  He's being taught weapon skills, tracking, hunting.  He's also being taught the languages he will need.  I see him as quite fluent in reading and writing Sindarin and Westron, at an intelligent 11year old's level, with a laborious intermediate knowledge of Quenya and Adunaic.  He would certainly be being taught math and science, so he would be able to understand how the world works.  But there are some things that eleven year olds are just not good at. The 'standard development' lists for eleven year olds say: http://www.schwablearning.org/articles.asp?r=776

  • tends to be egocentric, critical, and uncooperative
  • may be tearful, fearful, and full of worries
  • relationship with mother is particularly thorny
  • displays anger physically--fights, slams doors, kicks
  • away from home, behavior is well mannered and quite helpful
  • friendships are still important, but with more quarrels than before
  • may have one "best friend"  

And while their decision-making skills may be improving, even the possibility of a thorough analysis, in advance, of the consequences of their acts is still some ways in the future (Heck, that's beyond a lot of adults, including me, most of the time.)  I see eleven year olds as still partaking in some 'magical thinking':  I want the consequences to be this way, so nothing else is possible as an outcome.  But when things do go wrong, they are able to cope, adjust and learn from the experience in ways they could not have done six years earlier.

I've used Elrohir before as the person Estel goes to when he needs advice, see "Toy Story", so it seemed natural to use him again.  And things would have to go a different way than Estel expected, or what would be the point of writing the story?  There would be no tension, and nothing to resolve.  Still, I didn't want to put him in actual danger.  They all know he has to do that eventually, but I think the protective impulse would still be stronger.

I also didn't want to make Elrohir so perfect that he was above making mistakes with Estel.  When things come to a head - Estel has 'failed', the 'orcs' are coming, there is no escape because Estel made mistakes, they are both going to die – to have Estel do anything other than break down and cry, and be comforted by Elrohir, would be unnatural.  That Estel takes the wrong lesson from the experience, greatly frustrating Elrohir, also seemed to me to be quite typical of the eleven year olds I've known.

I wanted, and I think I managed, to put a unique twist on the "young boy's first experience in the wild" story.

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

The work of mine that pv attacked was unambitious, tiny, conceived and written in a day and, additionally, of interest to a limited audience within an relatively narrow area of Tolkien fanfiction. (Can't promise I would have been so calm if she had attacked my current obsession--my WIP novel!) In the context, however, her accusation of me, and this fic in particular, was ludicrous to me from the get go, especially given that my piece was so personal and emotional in nature. Can't relate much about its creation, since it was so small and quickly executed. But, it meant a lot to me and--a bit of retrospectively dark humor in the context--I extensively (almost embarrassingly so in proportion to its size and importance) credited others who had inspired in me in a footnote.

I am most of all angry for the time and trouble this entire incident took from Hasa administration which does so much for so many of us purely for the love of it all! This type of thing is potentially dangerous in an environment based upon personal trust and am very relieved to see the back of its perpetrator!

Thank you again, Hasa admin, for your efforts to sort the whole thing out! You have been great.

Oshun

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

(Can't promise I would have been so calm if she had attacked my current obsession--my WIP novel!)

Yes, Oshun -- how dare you steal my idea that *certain LOTR characters* might enjoy having sex?  It's mine, I tell you -- mine!  *removing tongue from cheek here*

These charges were preposterous, and I'm glad to see that those accused were given a fair review.  This is bound to have a chilling effect on all of us, though.  Already, I've considered abandoning story ideas because I've seen someone has beaten me to it, even though my own proposed story would be nothing like it.

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Jael? Jael who? Next thing we know, you will be telling us you hold the copyright on Mirkwood.

As far influences within a community: the concept that it could be otherwise is beyond ridiculous -- otherwise we wouldn't have so many arguments about whether something is fanon or canon and so many acknowledgements in summaries, footnotes and author's notes.

Oshun

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

This is bound to have a chilling effect on all of us, though.  Already, I've considered abandoning story ideas because I've seen someone has beaten me to it, even though my own proposed story would be nothing like it.

If you let this stop you from writing what you want, then she has won. I say, "Go for it!" There is room in fandom for every sort of treatment of every sort of idea.

Gwynnyd 

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Anglachel,

Well said and well met! I had no idea I was a part of such an illustrious company as this until I received an e-mail from The HASA site managers saying I, too, had been accused by this individual of plagiaring his/her material. Needless to say, I was stunned! After a bit of research my amazement turned into a simmering anger when I found that this writer's work that allegedly was plagiarized was submitted in 2006 and my story "The Haven of Rivendell" was archived by HASA in December 2004.

The idea of generic incidents in tales is as old as tale telling itself. Whenever I teach The Odyssey or Romeo and Juliet, I hear echoes of both in Tolkien's work, modern movies, and even my own writing. Haven't we all been influenced by what we read? Otherwise, why would we even be here having this conversation?

I am not sure what "stealing" I have been accused of by this individual, and frankly, except for my first glow of anger, I couldn't care less. Since my story of Denethor and Finduilas is anything but a love story (at least between that pair and I have not included a cat, though my tabby now wonders why he has not had a starring role in the adventures) I have to assume that my "thievery" had to do with Estel growing up at Rivendell...does that make anyone including this reference guilty of plagiarizing this individual's works?

On a sombre note, I write my tales for my own amusement and that of my friends. I submitted the first which was "Haven" on a dare and have added others solely based on the encouragement of readers here.

I wish I could say I've read all your wonderful stories but I have made it a point to avoid any stories of Aragorn's youth so I am not inadvertently influenced by others' writing. Good writing to you all.

Sindarinelvish

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Were all of the other five stories about Aragorn or characters from Gondor? I wonder how a Silmarillion geek like me got put into that group?

I thought that the story "Amras the Stableboy" was the story AMC supposedly plagiarized, but that was about Boromir and Faramir. And I was too lazy/miffed to go searching the rest of the stories.

If this is the case, then the bizarre just got bizarrer. ;)

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

[content removed at member's request]

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

No, 'Amras the Stableboy' was a Denethor and Finduilas. Finduilas was disguised as the stableboy... 

I don't think you can actually apply logic to any of this.

  Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Were all of the other five stories about Aragorn or characters from Gondor? I wonder how a Silmarillion geek like me got put into that group?

No.  One was about Thranduil and his wife.  The element was falling down after saying he wouldn't.

I think the Silm fics caught the attention because of the brothers comforting brothers.  The whole thing was preposterous.  Pelople need to understand what plagiarism really is.

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

People need to understand what plagiarism really is.

When I did the research for my little round-up on plagiarism, I noticed that most sources for plagiarism simply include the stealing of ideas without ever saying what an "idea" is.

And that seems to be the most important aspect for (fan) fiction (simple copying is easy to dis-/prove with those new software tools).

Not to turn this into a legal discussion or anything, but I thought it might be interesting to look at what the law *really* says about copyright of ideas:

(...) 

(b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship
extend to any idea, (...) regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

(§ 102, Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code)

So what's with plagiarizing an "idea"? 

I have found only one good explanation for academic texts, in C. Barnbaum's "Plagiarism - A Student's Guide to Recognizing It and Avoiding It":

"If the author of the source article expresses a creative idea or suggests a solution to a problem, the idea or solution must be clearly attributed to the author. (...) For example, what a black hole is and how it is defined is general knowledge. You do not need to reference a general description of a black hole. The escape velocity of earth is also general knowledge and needs no reference. The approximate distance to the center of the Galaxy is also general knowledge. However, a new idea about how to look for black holes or a new solution to a physics problem needs to be attributed to the authors." (emphasis by me)

This *obviously* doesn't work that way for fiction. So what's with theft of ideas in fiction?

Just any "idea" cannot even be copyrighted, a "new idea" as outlined in the academic example above is not what we deal with in (fan) fiction.

For an "idea" to be stolen in fiction in a way that it amounts to plagiarism, the plagiarist has to steal not only the abstract idea, but the idea how it was expressed by the original author. An idea plus extras - the specific language and details.

For example, I wrote a huge fanfic novel about a German law student called Lothíriel who runs away from her exams, meets Gandalf, ends up in Middle-earth and becomes a Tenth Walker.
If someone else writes a Tenth Walker story, that's obviously not plagiarim, nor did I commit plagiarism by writing my story.
If someone else writes a Tenth Walker story about a girl called Lothíriel, I may make undignified noises and think privately that maybe someone was not very original (because I'm just that arrogant Wink), but that's *still* no plagiarism.
"Lothíriel" is a canon name with not much attached to it, a Tenth Walker story is a "generally accepted" motif in LOTR fandom.
However, if someone were to write about a law student called Lothíriel, who runs away from her exams to become a Tenth Walker ... then it's not just the abstract/general idea that was "stolen", but more, the idea how I specifically expressed it in my story (incidentally that *has* happened, but at FFNet). 

Just my 0.02€.

Cheers,
Juno

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

However, if someone were to write about a law student called Lothíriel, who runs away from her exams to become a Tenth Walker ... then it's not just the abstract/general idea that was "stolen", but more, the idea how I specifically expressed it in my story (incidentally that *has* happened, but at FFNet).

{{{Juno}}}  I am so sorry to hear that!  Well, I'm sure there is no confusion by anyone who ever read your version  - which I am sure is far superior.

 Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Hi, Oshun,

I've tried to read your ficlet, but it won't open. Is it still up?

I didn't realize that the story targeted was the one inspired by AMC. Boo.

Looking at PV's list of stories, it just seemed that all were Aragorn- or Gondor-based. Given that, I found it a bit hard to fathom how Silm stories could be accused of plagiarism, but I suppose I'm trying to impose sense upon a senseless incident.

Btw, credit for inspiration is more than enough for me. I don't expect any credit at all since I don't have the audacity to claim to hold that I the rights to ideas. But I do appreciate it! Heart

~Dawn

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Hi, Jael,

I know that the element particularly targeted in AMC was Maglor comforting Celegorm, but my foolish and logical mind assumed that her stories might have used the same characters? The same family? The same book, maybe??

But as you said, the whole thing is preposterous. I should stop trying to make sense of things, perhaps, and simply chalk it up as my most bizarre experience in the fandom to date.

Though I am glad that she didn't find the whole novel on my LiveJournal. OMG. I would have been in serious trouble. Later, Maedhros comforts Celegorm. Then Maedhros comforts Maglor. Then Maglor comforts Maedhros, and one could perhaps argue that there's a bit of comfort for and by Caranthir as well (though it's hard to tell since Caranthir is so weird). Are we limited to brothers because Fingon's in there too? But my big secret that I wrote 350,000 plagiarized words would have been out. /sarcasm ;)

Dawn, who is going to behave and go back to work now

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Thanks for the huggles, Gwynnyd! But it was really not a big deal, just another kid with no clue what plagiarism is, and it happened two years ago, so it's really old news. I just mentioned it because I think that's a good illustration for that difficult "plagiarism of ideas" stuff.

Cheers,
Juno

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

Hi, Jael,

I know that the element particularly targeted in AMC was Maglor comforting Celegorm, but my foolish and logical mind assumed that her stories might have used the same characters? The same family? The same book, maybe??

Hello, Dawn!  No, the complaint against  Jay of Lasgalen's Thranduil fic is what clinched it.  Rather like the SATs, where they ask what doesn't fit.  Obviously Thranduil didn't, other than the 'falling' element.  Someone was really stretching to find similarities here.

I was a little bit worried myself, because my one published story, approved around the time of the others contained (gasp!) a scene with Thranduil holding his infant son.  Such an unusual thing simply had to be stolen from someone else, right?  LOL

Puh-leeze!  Can't some people understand that, writing in the same universe, with the same characters, we are very likely to have some coincidental similarities?

my most bizarre experience in the fandom to date.

If that is the case, I would call you lucky.  ROTFLMAO

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

I think you are trying much to hard to find logic here. My opinion is that we were dealing with either: 1) delusion, 2) malice, or 3) both of the above.

I think the choice of the stories to go after was pretty random--since the supposedly similar elements were so generic.

"my most bizarre experience in the fandom to date" -- I've been lucky too. Up to this point my most heated exchanges have been over whether a character spoke Sindarin or not and possible physical aspects of a certain imaginary building! LOL I'd like to restrict my arguments to things, which at least assume a common interest and the desire to produce the best product possible.

Oshun

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

No, the complaint against  Jay of Lasgalen's Thranduil fic is what clinched it.  Rather like the SATs, where they ask what doesn't fit.  Obviously Thranduil didn't, other than the 'falling' element.  Someone was really stretching to find similarities here.

I read through PV's stories (against my better judgement!) to find out what is was that I'm supposed to have plagiarised.   I think it comes in 'Amras the Stableboy' - a wounded Denethor assures 'Amras' that he won't faint, then does.

In my story  (A Crown of Woodland Flowers) a young and light-hearted Thranduil is showing off for his wife.  He says he won't fall in the stream, but does.  It's such a general sort of scene that I've seen it in films, cartoons and books, and in RL.  What's more, that scene is an expansion of one in a much earlier story (Telparian) where a young Legolas does exactly the same, and Thranduil remembers.  It doesn't strike me as being remotely similar to PV's!

I guess I've been lucky too.  It's the first complaint I've ever received ;)

Jay

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

I read through PV's stories (against my better judgement!) to find out what is was that I'm supposed to have plagiarised.   I think it comes in 'Amras the Stableboy' - a wounded Denethor assures 'Amras' that he won't faint, then does.

In my story  (A Crown of Woodland Flowers) a young and light-hearted Thranduil is showing off for his wife.  He says he won't fall in the stream, but does. 

You nailed it!  I had read and reviewed both stories, so I saw it right away -- at least once I read the infamous playlist and saw the elements that were highlighted.  And I though, puh-leeze!  If something that general is going to be used as a basis for a plagiarism charge, then we might as well all shut off the lights and go home.

 

 

Re: Thoughts on Writing: Crafting Original Work

I wonder how a Silmarillion geek like me got put into that group?

That was actually more or less my thought - "Um, doesn't Dawn write Simarillion almost exclusively? How'd she get in there?"

 I really didn't and don't feel anything other than, "Huh. Um....yeah, right. Whatever, lady."  I'm very pleased that HASA admin took care of everything in such a swift, efficient manner. That approach made this whole incident as painless as it could be, and I'm very, very appreciative. In the hands of less-organized and dedicated people, it could have gotten very nasty. So again, thank you.

 

 

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