47: Getting to the Finish Line with Guest, Emma Dhesi

Getting to the finish line for your first book is the most important task for a new author. How do you overcome the obstacles and develop the mindset to get to The End?

Emma Dhesi coaching at https://www.emmadhesi.com

Special offer ending Saturday, September 10, 2022 https://www.emmadhesi.com/21days.

The question of the week is: What is your biggest challenge to finish writing your novel?

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Transcript
Kathrese McKee:

getting to the finish line for your first book

Kathrese McKee:

is the most important task for a new author. How do you overcome

Kathrese McKee:

the obstacles and develop the mindset to get to the end image

Kathrese McKee:

deci gives us some tips for how to finish your first novel. In

Kathrese McKee:

this episode of writing pursuits. Welcome to the writing

Kathrese McKee:

pursuits podcast where authors like you discuss writing craft,

Kathrese McKee:

author, life and book marketing strategies. I'm your host

Kathrese McKee:

Kathrese. McKee. I own writing pursuits and write and produce

Kathrese McKee:

the weekly newsletter writing pursuits tips for authors. In

Kathrese McKee:

addition, I am a speculative fiction author, writing

Kathrese McKee:

procedures for authors who drink too much coffee, endure

Kathrese McKee:

judgemental looks from their furry writing companions and

Kathrese McKee:

struggle for words. If you are a writer seeking encouragement,

Kathrese McKee:

information and inspiration This podcast is for you. Let's get to

Kathrese McKee:

it. So Emma DESE is a book coach who specializes in helping

Kathrese McKee:

beginner authors write their first novel, Emma helps you

Kathrese McKee:

improve your craft provides feedback on your written work

Kathrese McKee:

and navigates you through the emotional rollercoaster of

Kathrese McKee:

finishing a novel. For more hands off help. Emma hosts a

Kathrese McKee:

Facebook group and podcast both called Turning readers into

Kathrese McKee:

writers. Those links will be in the show notes for today. Hey,

Kathrese McKee:

writing pursuits, authors. Welcome back to the podcast. For

Kathrese McKee:

those of you who are new, I want to extend a special welcome. My

Kathrese McKee:

name is Kathrese McKee. And I'm glad you're here. Please leave a

Kathrese McKee:

comment a star rating and follow the show to help others find

Kathrese McKee:

writing pursuits. I want to welcome Emma DESE to my program

Kathrese McKee:

on writing pursuits. Welcome from Houston to where are you?

Kathrese McKee:

I'm in Edinburgh in Scotland. So other side of the Poland, though

Kathrese McKee:

we have a little bit of difficulty in translation, we'll

Kathrese McKee:

just have to work it out.

Kathrese McKee:

To people divided by a common language.

Emma Dhesi:

It's so funny, isn't it? It is

Kathrese McKee:

it is really wild. And I can always tell when

Kathrese McKee:

I am editing someone from Canada that you know because they're

Kathrese McKee:

using all the British spelling's in, it was like, oh, and then

Kathrese McKee:

there are certain expressions that are very unusual here in

Kathrese McKee:

you know, the south of the US and I'm like, where did that

Kathrese McKee:

come from? Oh, I see that. Oh, maybe that's just a

Kathrese McKee:

colloquialism. You know, I'll have to ask. So what is your

Kathrese McKee:

story, Emma?

Emma Dhesi:

Oh, my story. My story is, like, a lot of people

Emma Dhesi:

always wanted to be a writer, I was an avid reader from a child,

Emma Dhesi:

you know, wrote stories, I started with, you know,

Emma Dhesi:

children's stories, middle grade, teen, and so on, and so

Emma Dhesi:

forth. As I as I grew up, life got in the way, I ended up going

Emma Dhesi:

to university, and then moving to London, and, you know, social

Emma Dhesi:

life back end. And sort of in my teens and my early 20s, the idea

Emma Dhesi:

of sitting in a room by myself. People was less luring than

Emma Dhesi:

going out with friends and going to the theater and things. So it

Emma Dhesi:

sort of went by the wayside for quite a while. But then I would

Emma Dhesi:

always come back to it, you know, they'd be waves. And I

Emma Dhesi:

think no, no, this is something I want to do. And I'd go and

Emma Dhesi:

sign up for another class and get really excited whilst I was

Emma Dhesi:

in the class and start a new project. And then about a week

Emma Dhesi:

after that class finished, my energy would kind of and my

Emma Dhesi:

enthusiasm would wane as well, as we never quite got to the

Emma Dhesi:

finish line with anything. And it was something I always felt

Emma Dhesi:

very guilty about, you know, never getting to the finish

Emma Dhesi:

line, how to possibly expect to be a writer, but couldn't finish

Emma Dhesi:

anything. And then I got to 40. And I was still having the same

Emma Dhesi:

discussions with myself. And if there was a sort of switch,

Emma Dhesi:

though, that went off, and I just said to myself, Okay, you

Emma Dhesi:

either do this or you don't make up your mind. If you want to do

Emma Dhesi:

this, you write a first draft from beginning to end. And if

Emma Dhesi:

you like writing it, and it was good, fun, fantastic, then you

Emma Dhesi:

can go on and start revising. If you get to the end of that first

Emma Dhesi:

draft, and you realize it was just a horrific experience, you

Emma Dhesi:

hated every moment of it, then you know, and you can put that

Emma Dhesi:

dream to bed and move on and stop feeling guilty and start

Emma Dhesi:

start something else. So yeah, just the switch in me, I think

Emma Dhesi:

I'd hit a brick wall. I was fed up going around in circles, and

Emma Dhesi:

decided right let's do it. And so then I did I did write that

Emma Dhesi:

first draft that took me a long time. But, but I got there in

Emma Dhesi:

the end, and I loved the experience. And I loved the

Emma Dhesi:

challenge of it as well. It was a it was a puzzle. I enjoyed

Emma Dhesi:

figuring out and putting together and so then I started

Emma Dhesi:

revisions and did that for another few years and then

Emma Dhesi:

ultimately published my first book, which has, you know, it's

Emma Dhesi:

just an amazing feeling to see it there and think Wow, I did

Emma Dhesi:

that. I created something out of nothing. And there it is.

Kathrese McKee:

That sounds remarkably like my story. I, I,

Kathrese McKee:

you know, I went to work and had kids and you know, it was very,

Kathrese McKee:

very busy, very, very busy life. And when I became a teacher,

Kathrese McKee:

late, I was like reading the books in the library that

Kathrese McKee:

because I was a reading teacher that inspired me. And I also

Kathrese McKee:

read to my children all the time they were growing up. So like,

Kathrese McKee:

there I am, the end with my son, who was last child. And we were

Kathrese McKee:

reading John Flanagan, and I go, I love this book. I love these

Kathrese McKee:

books, it was a series. And I said, I'd like to write this.

Kathrese McKee:

And so I just started with the spiral and started writing. And

Kathrese McKee:

Matt's like you, it was like I had put things up, brought him

Kathrese McKee:

back out, put things up, run back out. And finally was just

Kathrese McKee:

like, I need to just see if I can get to the end. And by the

Kathrese McKee:

time I got to the end of the fourth one, I decided, no, I

Kathrese McKee:

need to go back to the beginning and do a revision and actually

Kathrese McKee:

get serious about it. So

Emma Dhesi:

Oh, that's so interesting. So you wrote for

Emma Dhesi:

kind of first draft of four novels?

Kathrese McKee:

No, it was yeah, it was four novels. And I

Kathrese McKee:

realized, I've got a series here, I just have to start

Kathrese McKee:

writing in. And so it's much easier to write the second time

Kathrese McKee:

because I knew I could, I proved to myself that I could write you

Kathrese McKee:

know.

Emma Dhesi:

So I think it sounds like you did it in a really

Emma Dhesi:

great way. Because then you're you're having your

Emma Dhesi:

apprenticeship there. And you're discovering that you enjoy

Emma Dhesi:

writing series as well. And so you get to do all those hours of

Emma Dhesi:

practice, and then get to go back and revise it again and

Emma Dhesi:

work on it and sort of perfect it. So it's probably a good way

Emma Dhesi:

of doing it. I admire your patients as well, to kind of,

Kathrese McKee:

you know, just because there's a lot of kids

Kathrese McKee:

around and there's a busy life. And I could write in the spiral

Kathrese McKee:

or the three ring notebook. You know, doctor's appointments, and

Kathrese McKee:

soccer games, and whatever else it was, it wasn't hard to do.

Kathrese McKee:

And I always had it with me. I was definitely afraid of losing

Kathrese McKee:

one because it was handwritten,

Emma Dhesi:

but then you still I think I do believe you still

Emma Dhesi:

then have to do your apprenticeship. You know, even

Emma Dhesi:

if you write your first book and publish it, by the time you get

Emma Dhesi:

to your fourth book, you're gonna look back. And as I do

Emma Dhesi:

now, and look back and go, Oh, my goodness,

Kathrese McKee:

there's some things I wish I could change.

Kathrese McKee:

Yes, there are definitely some things I wish I could change.

Kathrese McKee:

Absolutely. So what do you think are the biggest roadblocks, the

Kathrese McKee:

biggest obstacles to finishing that first book

Emma Dhesi:

to do the actual finishing or to reach and I

Emma Dhesi:

think about the practical side of it, the actual kind of story

Emma Dhesi:

craft, then I think it comes back to character and not

Emma Dhesi:

knowing your character very well, not really understanding

Emma Dhesi:

why you're writing about them, and why they've come to you and

Emma Dhesi:

what it is that they're trying to share with the world. You

Emma Dhesi:

know, we might have a superficial idea of who this

Emma Dhesi:

character is and what they want and the adventure that they're

Emma Dhesi:

going on. And we have a sense of the plot of the story. But we

Emma Dhesi:

don't have a deeper understanding of the story of

Emma Dhesi:

the story, if you see what I mean. Yes. Yeah, I think that's

Emma Dhesi:

certainly 100% where I've gone wrong in the past, is just

Emma Dhesi:

having this lovely idea and going with it. And it's all

Emma Dhesi:

hunky dory and great. But then you hit a point where you don't

Emma Dhesi:

really know why you're writing this now and how it's going to

Emma Dhesi:

come together and you get a bit bored with it as well, that can

Emma Dhesi:

be another thing because you've not done all of this backstage

Emma Dhesi:

work that needs to be done around the character, or you

Emma Dhesi:

don't know that you've got to go back and do it. The other thing

Emma Dhesi:

as well, when I think about the majority of the craft books out

Emma Dhesi:

there, they do talk fairly superficially about got your

Emma Dhesi:

what does your character want? What does your character need?

Emma Dhesi:

What is their flow? And those things are important. I'm not

Emma Dhesi:

saying that they're not, but they don't the books. And what

Emma Dhesi:

we learned doesn't really kind of go into that in much depth.

Emma Dhesi:

So we're not really understanding what was happening

Emma Dhesi:

in our character's life before the stories happened, what has

Emma Dhesi:

brought them to this point where the story starts, and why does

Emma Dhesi:

it start on that day? Because that's going to be a big key

Emma Dhesi:

clue as well as as to why the story is important. Why does it

Emma Dhesi:

have to start on this day at this moment? In this place?

Emma Dhesi:

Perfect. Yes, yeah. Only by going back and really

Emma Dhesi:

understanding what's led the life experiences of this

Emma Dhesi:

character up until this point, that we we know what that flow

Emma Dhesi:

is, we know what they need. We know what they want to do that

Emma Dhesi:

work at the beginning. Now, I think that if you're lucky, and

Emma Dhesi:

your brain is wired that way so that you have the ability to do

Emma Dhesi:

this all up front, before you even start writing, and you

Emma Dhesi:

figure it all out, and it's great, and you know where you're

Emma Dhesi:

going, I would suggest,

Kathrese McKee:

that'd be nice.

Emma Dhesi:

But I think for most of us, particularly if you're

Emma Dhesi:

writing your first novel, this is something that you need to

Emma Dhesi:

come back to do in revision. I think often we need to get to

Emma Dhesi:

know the story a little bit, get a more of a feel for ourselves

Emma Dhesi:

and get to know the characters a little bit on this more

Emma Dhesi:

superficial level, before we can then go back and develop their

Emma Dhesi:

their history and their experiences and why they are the

Emma Dhesi:

way they are. So that's, that's one of the things I want to sort

Emma Dhesi:

of craft level, I think that's one of the things that stops

Emma Dhesi:

people from from finishing,

Kathrese McKee:

I did have that same exact experience, where I

Kathrese McKee:

created a character who she was the main character. And then I

Kathrese McKee:

found out that, oh, she was just not that likable. And then I had

Kathrese McKee:

to create a way for the reader to connect with her at least the

Kathrese McKee:

beginning, because she was, she had a little bit of a hard

Kathrese McKee:

shell. And she was supposed to be that way. But it made her

Kathrese McKee:

completely, like, why would I want to read about this person?

Kathrese McKee:

You know? And I, you went

Emma Dhesi:

back and did that kind of sort of history, work on

Emma Dhesi:

your character, did it open up some things and you understood

Emma Dhesi:

her maps salutely

Kathrese McKee:

What I am so thankful I did this one thing, I

Kathrese McKee:

did a, an actual interview with my character. I didn't write it

Kathrese McKee:

down, I I put down the pen and paper. And I went completely

Kathrese McKee:

recorded. I recorded an interview with her. So I asked

Kathrese McKee:

her all these questions. And I mean, that was like a switch in

Kathrese McKee:

my brain. I don't know what it is about putting down and, and

Kathrese McKee:

just becoming the character. Then she told me all this stuff.

Kathrese McKee:

And I was like, oh, oh, I understood her so much better.

Kathrese McKee:

And then on the revision, I was able to make her much better and

Kathrese McKee:

communicate, not the backstory. But to slip things in to kind of

Kathrese McKee:

give the reader connection

Emma Dhesi:

and context. Yeah, why they're doing what they're

Emma Dhesi:

doing. Yeah, that's a wonderful, I've never done it that way to

Emma Dhesi:

actually record the interview. Might feel, did it feel a bit

Emma Dhesi:

schizophrenic? Because you know,

Kathrese McKee:

what was funny is, my creative brain was like,

Kathrese McKee:

Oh, I've got to come up with an answer for that. And what would,

Kathrese McKee:

what would she say? I wish she would tell me that, you know,

Kathrese McKee:

and yeah, so yes, a little bit of a mind bender, but new work,

Kathrese McKee:

and it was so helpful. Yeah, I'm sure people can do that on a

Kathrese McKee:

piece of paper as well. It just seemed like I needed to put it

Kathrese McKee:

away and do something completely different. To trigger a

Kathrese McKee:

different part of my brain. So yeah, I think you're right

Kathrese McKee:

about, you don't know your character well enough,

Kathrese McKee:

especially on that first book. And as you write more, you

Kathrese McKee:

realize, oh, I've got to know that, you know, your second and

Kathrese McKee:

third and fourth book, you know, that you need to know those

Kathrese McKee:

things.

Emma Dhesi:

Yes. So So do you mean like, Oh, I see. So you as

Emma Dhesi:

the creator by the third and fourth, but you needed to know

Emma Dhesi:

that stuff that was there. In the first one? Yeah.

Kathrese McKee:

Well, you know, I'm even talking about staying

Kathrese McKee:

alone. When you go with a new character, you know, that you

Kathrese McKee:

need to know if that experience has helped you. That's what I

Kathrese McKee:

was saying. Yeah,

Emma Dhesi:

yes. Even if you're not necessarily going to put

Emma Dhesi:

that on the page, you as the creator, you need to know the

Emma Dhesi:

backstory, you need to know, once this behind it, the it

Emma Dhesi:

reminds me when I used to act, you know, we'd be to go off and

Emma Dhesi:

do your research and development, you know, you go

Emma Dhesi:

and kind of do all the work behind behind the scenes about

Emma Dhesi:

it about this character. And then I remember one director

Emma Dhesi:

kind of saying to us, okay, so now you've got that now you

Emma Dhesi:

throw it all the way. You just throw it all the way, with the

Emma Dhesi:

idea being that no, this is just embodied in us, we do, okay, we

Emma Dhesi:

know it in our body and in our memory, from the work that we've

Emma Dhesi:

done around our character, we're not going to bring that on stage

Emma Dhesi:

and demonstrate it in any physical way or say in our

Emma Dhesi:

dialogue, but just knowing that that will come out in the way

Emma Dhesi:

that we move on stage or the way that we say something. And I

Emma Dhesi:

think that's the same in our fiction, how our characters move

Emma Dhesi:

and the things that they say, come out of us having done that

Emma Dhesi:

research into their past and who they are. And then fascinating,

Emma Dhesi:

hmm. And I think then that feeds into the plot, you know, that,

Emma Dhesi:

that feeds into the decisions that the character will make,

Emma Dhesi:

which then feeds into the plot. And so that can help get us

Emma Dhesi:

unstuck.

Kathrese McKee:

So you've read the script.

Emma Dhesi:

Yes, you read the script, and so say, so one that

Emma Dhesi:

comes to mind would be we were doing what was it know The

Emma Dhesi:

Importance of Being Earnest? Okay, by no courage, and so we

Emma Dhesi:

took a trip to the Ritz in London and we had a tour, just

Emma Dhesi:

getting into what it would be like to be in there. period, and

Emma Dhesi:

come from money and be of that time. And so that that was a

Emma Dhesi:

really fun way of doing as well. And you know, you'd watch the

Emma Dhesi:

movies, you'd read about that, that kind of period of time. But

Emma Dhesi:

then, but then you have to embody this one individual

Emma Dhesi:

who's, you know, flesh and blood like everybody else. But we know

Emma Dhesi:

that we've experienced this in the background. And so almost

Emma Dhesi:

like muscle memory, I suppose it would then translate into the

Emma Dhesi:

performance. I would

Kathrese McKee:

think that acting experience would help you

Kathrese McKee:

so much with characterization in your writing.

Emma Dhesi:

I think it does. Yes, I think some I think it

Emma Dhesi:

helps me the dialogue. Yes, as well. And just a sense of maybe

Emma Dhesi:

a sense of pacing, as well, as you're working through three

Emma Dhesi:

acts. And then it can be it can be helpful there. But

Emma Dhesi:

definitely, it taught me a lot about putting yourself in the

Emma Dhesi:

shoes of another individual who's not real. bringing them to

Emma Dhesi:

life. Yeah.

Kathrese McKee:

Fascinating. So what other things do you think

Kathrese McKee:

hold beginner writers back from finishing a book,

Emma Dhesi:

the other thing that I've noticed is the biggest

Emma Dhesi:

thing, it's got nothing to do with craft at all, but it's just

Emma Dhesi:

what's going on inside, inside the individual inside the

Emma Dhesi:

person. So they are the biggest. And you know, that phrase get

Emma Dhesi:

out of your own way. There's a lot of fear around finishing

Emma Dhesi:

fear that the most obvious one being fear that it's not going

Emma Dhesi:

to be good enough. And then the fear of this awesome bizarrely,

Emma Dhesi:

for an I've never experienced this one. This, you know, the

Emma Dhesi:

fear of success, like what happens if this is really good?

Emma Dhesi:

What happens if people start reading it? And people start

Emma Dhesi:

reviewing it? Think we often have a fear of readers? Don't we

Emma Dhesi:

move desperate? Absolutely.

Kathrese McKee:

We're afraid of those people. They're gonna read

Kathrese McKee:

our book and judge us.

Emma Dhesi:

Yes, absolutely. So that fear of it being out in the

Emma Dhesi:

world and letting go of it. And I still hear people talk about

Emma Dhesi:

their books, you know, as their babies. Because many of them,

Emma Dhesi:

the people I work with, they've been writing the same book for

Emma Dhesi:

1015 20 years. So they are, you know, very emotionally attached

Emma Dhesi:

to this story. And so this fear of that someone else will read

Emma Dhesi:

it and judge it, that fear of just letting go of something

Emma Dhesi:

that has been part of their life for so long. That can be very

Emma Dhesi:

scary as well. And then we should actually, I was talking

Emma Dhesi:

to a student the other week, and he's coming towards the end of

Emma Dhesi:

his, the first draft of his story. And this is a story that

Emma Dhesi:

he's been wanting to write for a long, long, long, long time. And

Emma Dhesi:

you are saying that, you know, I'm, I'm a bit scared, I've been

Emma Dhesi:

avoiding writing the end, because there's this, perhaps a

Emma Dhesi:

slight feeling of anticlimax around it, because he's been

Emma Dhesi:

striving towards it for so long. And then oh, okay, now it's

Emma Dhesi:

done. And then you've got to go back and revise it and continue

Emma Dhesi:

working on it, that romantic idea that you type, the end,

Emma Dhesi:

pull the paper out of the typewriter and off it goes to

Emma Dhesi:

the publisher, actually, there's a lot of work still to do. Some

Emma Dhesi:

time, there's a little bit of a of that as well.

Kathrese McKee:

So what do you advise somebody who is so

Kathrese McKee:

attached to their work, that they're kind of afraid to reach

Kathrese McKee:

that point, where it's time to let it go,

Emma Dhesi:

I would recommend just taking a little bit of time

Emma Dhesi:

away from it, then that this is and kind of bracing yourself

Emma Dhesi:

doing a little bit of self talk to that. Okay, this is going to

Emma Dhesi:

be a farewell that you could even do a little kind of, I

Emma Dhesi:

don't want to say the word ceremony around it. But you

Emma Dhesi:

know, just having a celebration that you've, you've got to this

Emma Dhesi:

point, acknowledging it as well. Another student of mine, just,

Emma Dhesi:

she just finished her first draft. And she got to the end,

Emma Dhesi:

and we're like, wow, you know, we took a moment just to

Emma Dhesi:

acknowledge the achievement that she'd made because, you know,

Emma Dhesi:

she's in what, at the top 5% of people, right, she's finished

Emma Dhesi:

it. So, you know, this was a moment for her to kind of

Emma Dhesi:

acknowledge and take a moment to realize, okay, now I get to move

Emma Dhesi:

into the next step of this, I get to take a step further

Emma Dhesi:

towards this goal, this dream that I've held for so, so long,

Emma Dhesi:

and that will come slower for for some people and quicker for

Emma Dhesi:

others, but just that giving yourself a bit of space to start

Emma Dhesi:

disconnecting from it and start to see this now. Right. An asset

Emma Dhesi:

is more of a product of more as a yeah to a product or an asset

Emma Dhesi:

that is going to go out into the world and I'm not just yet we're

Emma Dhesi:

still got work to do. But I think if you can begin that

Emma Dhesi:

process, give yourself time to lead into that it will make the

Emma Dhesi:

partying a little less painful when it comes,

Kathrese McKee:

I think the letting things cool or rest is a

Kathrese McKee:

really great idea, especially for that first time, you need to

Kathrese McKee:

have a little space between you, and especially the first draft,

Kathrese McKee:

you just need to kind of so in that space, maybe it would be

Kathrese McKee:

wise, or maybe for some people, it would be okay to think about,

Kathrese McKee:

well, what is going to come after that? What am I going to

Kathrese McKee:

write next. So you kind of give yourself something to look

Kathrese McKee:

forward to, after you're done shipping the product, and then

Kathrese McKee:

go back and you've you've got the time and space, then to look

Kathrese McKee:

at your fresh your first draft, especially with fresh eyes, you

Kathrese McKee:

know, because you know, you know how much is going to change.

Emma Dhesi:

You know, in your mind, you might surprise

Emma Dhesi:

yourself and find that by the, by the time you've done 13

Emma Dhesi:

rounds of revisions, you are over this book, you'd never see

Emma Dhesi:

it again, you're just fed up with it.

Kathrese McKee:

Writing pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee, who

Kathrese McKee:sted by fiction authors since:Kathrese McKee:

their writing to a new level of excellence. cutleries is a three

Kathrese McKee:

story methods certified editor who specializes in story

Kathrese McKee:

diagnostics, coaching, and line editing to help you prepare your

Kathrese McKee:

story for the journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

Kathrese McKee:

pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now, back to the

Kathrese McKee:

podcast. What are some techniques you recommend to help

Kathrese McKee:

people break through and get past themselves and the writing

Kathrese McKee:

itself even to get to the end, and then they can go back, you

Kathrese McKee:

know, before they can go back and do their revisions. And so

Emma Dhesi:

if you find that you're getting stuck, do go back

Emma Dhesi:

and do those character histories and go and look back at them.

Emma Dhesi:

And that will open up things for you definitely. But on a

Emma Dhesi:

practical, sort of step by step, it's just remembering to take

Emma Dhesi:

things one moment at a time to run we're talking about just

Emma Dhesi:

getting to the end of that first draft. So acknowledging is going

Emma Dhesi:

to be messy, there's gonna be a lot of work to do, no matter how

Emma Dhesi:

much planning you've done ahead of time, because as you and I

Emma Dhesi:

both know, things change as you write the book. So take the

Emma Dhesi:

pressure off this being perfect, it's never going to be like one

Emma Dhesi:

of the books you've got on your shelf that's been published and

Emma Dhesi:

just take a little by little and scene by scene, I would even go

Emma Dhesi:

down to say, you know, scene by scene. So if you have the two or

Emma Dhesi:

three scenes in a Chapter, just break that right down to the

Emma Dhesi:

scene level and what needs to happen in this one scene,

Emma Dhesi:

thinking about how that's going to just push the storyline

Emma Dhesi:

forward, or even just the plotline forward for now,

Emma Dhesi:

hopefully push the plot forward. And so each scene needs to serve

Emma Dhesi:

a function. And as long as you know why you're including that

Emma Dhesi:

scene, and what the if we're thinking about, you know, three

Emma Dhesi:

story method, for example, which I know, you're a big fan of

Emma Dhesi:

what's the consequence of that scene. So understanding that

Emma Dhesi:

cause and effect trajectory, when you're in those sticky

Emma Dhesi:

moments getting say that it's that last third of the book.

Emma Dhesi:

Even if you can't yet figure out how you're going to pull all

Emma Dhesi:

those strands together, just keep moving scene by scene and

Emma Dhesi:

have something have a decision made at the end of each scene so

Emma Dhesi:

that you know how you're going to move on to the next one. I

Emma Dhesi:

think that's a really great way, particularly in that first

Emma Dhesi:

draft, and you haven't planned out your scenes ahead of time.

Emma Dhesi:

If as long as your character, whichever character is in the

Emma Dhesi:

scene doesn't need to be your protagonist, but their point of

Emma Dhesi:

view character in that scene, as long as they make a decision

Emma Dhesi:

about something, either to do something or to say something to

Emma Dhesi:

somebody, then that gives you your impetus for the next scene.

Emma Dhesi:

Right. And by focusing on that next scene, that gives you the

Emma Dhesi:

impetus to move on to the next one. And so kind of organically

Emma Dhesi:

almost it starts to happen as a story. You know, when you hear

Emma Dhesi:

writers kind of say, you know, the story almost wrote itself,

Emma Dhesi:

it was so amazing. I felt like I was just dictating this. I think

Emma Dhesi:

that's what they're referring to, that they are taking it

Emma Dhesi:

scene by scene and as long as they know that their character

Emma Dhesi:

is making a decision about something at the end, that

Emma Dhesi:

automatically leads on to the next scene. And and then there

Emma Dhesi:

is that feeling of it just feels easier, I think than takes the

Emma Dhesi:

pressure off.

Kathrese McKee:

I think as long as you're willing to let your if

Kathrese McKee:

you stopped doing the red light green light thing, where oh,

Kathrese McKee:

that won't work. Oh, that won't work. Oh, that won't work. Just

Kathrese McKee:

Just give yourself the green light to just write whatever, be

Kathrese McKee:

as messy and as illogical as you need to be just to get to the

Kathrese McKee:

next scene. Just do it and then you can come back and go oh, I'd

Kathrese McKee:

see a way to fix that, oh, that really actually, that works

Kathrese McKee:

really well, or that doesn't work. And I need to think of

Kathrese McKee:

something else. But I know I need to get to this place. So

Kathrese McKee:

you rewrite a scene. But at least you got there. And even

Emma Dhesi:

just putting in like the skeleton of a scene, think

Emma Dhesi:

of Steph Greene who talks about her skeleton method. She just

Emma Dhesi:

has the very, very basics of what she wants to happen in a

Emma Dhesi:

scene. But it allows her to keep moving forward, keep moving

Emma Dhesi:

forward to the end of that very first, very messy draft, or in

Emma Dhesi:

that she can come back with it. I think I've like, of my own

Emma Dhesi:

experiences. Normally, I'm a very linear writer. So I started

Emma Dhesi:

the beginning. And I work my way through to the end. But I

Emma Dhesi:

remember, I think it was my second book, I think it was, I

Emma Dhesi:

was flowing along fine to the to the halfway point. And then I

Emma Dhesi:

got really stuck to know what was going to come next. But I

Emma Dhesi:

knew how I wanted the book to end. So I just skipped to the

Emma Dhesi:

end. And then I wrote the chapters back to the middle and

Emma Dhesi:

then joined them in the middle. No idea why that worked for that

Emma Dhesi:

book. But that's how I got around it. And that's how I

Emma Dhesi:

managed to get that flow. To come back into my writing. I

Emma Dhesi:

think that's something else actually just you know, just to

Emma Dhesi:

remember that you don't have to write the first scene, then the

Emma Dhesi:

next then the next image people. Yeah, because like some people

Emma Dhesi:

like to write in a sort of patchwork form, or they do a bit

Emma Dhesi:

here in a bit there as the scene comes to them, trusting that

Emma Dhesi:

there is method in it, and it will all pull together. At the

Emma Dhesi:

end. I forget who

Kathrese McKee:

said this, too. She said she's writing if she

Kathrese McKee:

realizes that she needs just, for instance, an evil twin, but

Kathrese McKee:

the evil twin hasn't been there since the beginning. I really

Kathrese McKee:

wish I could remember who it was said it, then they'll just start

Kathrese McKee:

writing the evil twin, they'll kind of put a bracket Hey, this

Kathrese McKee:

is where I started with it. I've got to go back. And now I've got

Kathrese McKee:

to you know, but they don't stop and go back. They just go

Kathrese McKee:

forward with what they need. From there.

Emma Dhesi:

Point Yes, I think a lot of writers Yeah, would be

Emma Dhesi:

tempted to not think, Oh, my goodness, I've got to go back to

Emma Dhesi:

the beginning. Again, so you already

Kathrese McKee:

know, you're gonna have to go back to the

Kathrese McKee:

beginning and start all over again, just keep going. But she

Kathrese McKee:

would just say just put it in a bracket or something and make a

Kathrese McKee:

note, and know that you're going to have to fix that. And that's

Kathrese McKee:

okay. That's you just write your list of fixes that you're going

Kathrese McKee:

to make. Yeah.

Emma Dhesi:

And it's harder, I think, to when you're writing

Emma Dhesi:

your first book, particularly, it's harder to kind of trust

Emma Dhesi:

that you will be able to come back and do that. Because you've

Emma Dhesi:

not yet got that evidence in your own brain. That Oh, I've

Emma Dhesi:

been here before, I've had this challenge before. And I got over

Emma Dhesi:

it last time I fixed it last time. So I know that I can do

Emma Dhesi:

the same again this time. So there's a little bit of that,

Emma Dhesi:

that comes I think with just with the practice and going

Emma Dhesi:

through the apprenticeship that we've talked about. And here's

Emma Dhesi:

the sad and I think it's Nina Amir, she's, you know, you've

Emma Dhesi:

got to practice finishing. That's just as important if not

Emma Dhesi:

more important than practicing starting a book, where you've

Emma Dhesi:

got a great finishing books,

Kathrese McKee:

I agree, getting to the end of a first draft is

Kathrese McKee:

part of that. Absolutely part of that. And then you go through

Kathrese McKee:

the revision, and you get to the end again. And even if you have

Kathrese McKee:

to go back again, you still you've managed to get to the

Kathrese McKee:

end. Sometimes I counsel people to just start a very short

Kathrese McKee:

story, so they can get to the end, you know, short story. So

Kathrese McKee:

that you've got you've got that that experience of landing the

Kathrese McKee:

story, and then make it longer and hit the end again. But I

Kathrese McKee:

agree with you, I think you need to practice getting to the end.

Kathrese McKee:

What other tricks do you have up your sleeve?

Emma Dhesi:

So one of the tools that I have been using recently,

Emma Dhesi:

and again, I use this in revision, and but you could use

Emma Dhesi:

it, it's encouraged that you use it when you're first drafting,

Emma Dhesi:

but it's not what I like and this actually comes from Jenny

Emma Dhesi:

Nash. So this is her insight outline. And she she encourages

Emma Dhesi:

us to have these two bullet points for each scene one is

Emma Dhesi:

their what happens you know, the plots what happens on the plots

Emma Dhesi:

and then the other one is what she calls the point and the

Emma Dhesi:

purpose of that is to outline for yourself okay, what is the

Emma Dhesi:

emotional driver in this scene? What is the story elements of

Emma Dhesi:

the scene as opposed to the plot elements? And this is a great

Emma Dhesi:

way for you to be able to recognize the cause and effect

Emma Dhesi:

again, it comes to that so you're understanding okay, this

Emma Dhesi:

happened in Scene A, which leads on to this happening and Scene B

Emma Dhesi:

which leads on to this happening and scene C. But if they felt

Emma Dhesi:

like this A Scene A, and then this happened, how are they

Emma Dhesi:

going to feel in Scene B, and then how they're going to feel

Emma Dhesi:

in scene C. And all the time, it's taking them forwards to

Emma Dhesi:

that, that arc towards that arc that they're going to reach by

Emma Dhesi:

the end of, of the novel, bearing in mind, there'll be

Emma Dhesi:

those steps backwards steps forwards as they struggle with

Emma Dhesi:

what it is that they're they're trying to overcome. But I've

Emma Dhesi:

certainly found this I'm a big proponent of it now of using

Emma Dhesi:

this inside outline.

Kathrese McKee:

It's kind of like an external story in the

Kathrese McKee:

internal story.

Emma Dhesi:

Exactly, yes. And how they mirror one another,

Emma Dhesi:

right?

Kathrese McKee:

affect one another? Yeah, that's actually

Kathrese McKee:

that's actually a really great way. And almost certainly you

Kathrese McKee:

would hit three story thing where you had the conflict, the

Kathrese McKee:

choice of the consequence? Almost certainly, just having

Kathrese McKee:

those two points. Because what's happening externally? What does

Kathrese McKee:

it mean internally? I really liked that.

Emma Dhesi:

Yeah, it's really it's really good. It's, it is

Emma Dhesi:

tough, I'm not going to deny it. It's a really, because you're,

Emma Dhesi:

especially for the the point bits of the emotional journey,

Emma Dhesi:

the internal journey, to having to articulate that to yourself

Emma Dhesi:

in a few lines, is, is challenging, but it's the reason

Emma Dhesi:

it's so worth it. Because then when you come to either write

Emma Dhesi:

the scene or revise the scene, it's right there, you know

Emma Dhesi:

exactly what you're trying to say you've done that hard work.

Emma Dhesi:

And a number of times when I've sat down to start writing a new

Emma Dhesi:

scene, or to revise a scene enough that oh, gosh, right.

Emma Dhesi:

Look at what happens in this again, and why am I telling it?

Emma Dhesi:

And then I go to my insight outline. And it's right there, I

Emma Dhesi:

don't have to think about it. I just get to write the scene. So

Emma Dhesi:

good.

Kathrese McKee:

So when you do coaching, kind of describe your

Kathrese McKee:

process,

Emma Dhesi:

so yeah, so thanks for asking, yeah, I work with

Emma Dhesi:

students one on one, I really like the intimate relationship

Emma Dhesi:

that you get to build with. And I work with students for 12

Emma Dhesi:

months. Yeah, and it can seem quite daunting, I think a lot of

Emma Dhesi:

people have that response. But I, I know for myself that that's

Emma Dhesi:

at least as long as it takes to write a first draft, we need

Emma Dhesi:

that time or even longer to really finish that draft.

Emma Dhesi:

Because there are times when life gets in the way. And

Emma Dhesi:

there's just, you know, if you've got a job, and you've got

Emma Dhesi:

kids, and you know, all the things that life brings, it does

Emma Dhesi:

get in the way from time to time, and you need a bit of a

Emma Dhesi:

mother. There's also those times when you're just struggling with

Emma Dhesi:

the words themselves, and you've lost that flow for a bit. And it

Emma Dhesi:

can take a week or two to find it again. So we need that. So I

Emma Dhesi:

do work on a lot of the character stuff beforehand, we

Emma Dhesi:

look at okay, why are you telling the story now. So the

Emma Dhesi:

story behind the story, what's led your character up to this

Emma Dhesi:

point? To the point that this is where you're going to start?

Emma Dhesi:

This is why you're starting page one where it's starting. And

Emma Dhesi:

when we understand that, then that really helps to kind of

Emma Dhesi:

project the story forward and understand what it is that

Emma Dhesi:

they're trying to achieve by the end of this novel. What is what

Emma Dhesi:

is the floor we talked, you know, there's all that talk

Emma Dhesi:

about the floor? So what is going on inside of them? How do

Emma Dhesi:

they see the world? And why is that? In? What way? Is that not

Emma Dhesi:

serving them? Right? What do they need to change about that?

Emma Dhesi:

And so there's a lot of discussion around that as well.

Emma Dhesi:

And then what I love to write, then I get to see all the words

Emma Dhesi:

I get to see the words on the page as they write the scenes or

Emma Dhesi:

revising scenes, if they've come to me with an existing first

Emma Dhesi:

draft. And we chat about that we brainstorm things, we talk about

Emma Dhesi:

what's going on for the character, does their motivation

Emma Dhesi:

fit with the action that they're taking? Has someone kind of

Emma Dhesi:

tried to squeeze something in? Because they liked the idea

Emma Dhesi:

rather than it actually fitting the story that they're telling,

Kathrese McKee:

right? And that happens a bit. Especially with

Kathrese McKee:

first time authors. I want to say this, and I'm going to fit

Kathrese McKee:

it in no matter what you weren't. You weren't as the

Kathrese McKee:

writing their novel. I guess y'all have discussions, the

Kathrese McKee:

beginning. And depending on where they're starting from,

Kathrese McKee:

whether they're just starting from a blank page, or starting

Kathrese McKee:

with something that they've already worked on. Do they

Kathrese McKee:

usually come to you with a full manuscript or do they usually

Kathrese McKee:

come with you with an idea

Emma Dhesi:

is usually because I work with first time novelist

Emma Dhesi:

exclusively. And I'm seen at the last resort for them because

Emma Dhesi:

they don't yet understand, you know, just the value of working

Emma Dhesi:

with somebody, this misconception that you've got to

Emma Dhesi:

be able to do it yourself. And so often they are maybe halfway

Emma Dhesi:

through three quarters of the way through and they've hit a

Emma Dhesi:

brick wall and they don't know Oh, no, they're doing something

Emma Dhesi:

wrong. They don't know what it is, you know, they believe in

Emma Dhesi:

the story. This is the one that's that, you know, has stuck

Emma Dhesi:

with them. This is the one that they feel this is my. Yeah,

Emma Dhesi:

right. So now they've come to me and they're like, Okay, I've got

Emma Dhesi:

this fire. Now I'm stuck. What do I do next? And often Yeah,

Emma Dhesi:

it's about going back to that character, and figuring them out

Emma Dhesi:

in better detail. And as we're doing that, you know, I do

Emma Dhesi:

encourage the writer to keep riding forward, and so that they

Emma Dhesi:

get to the end of that, and then we get to go back to the

Emma Dhesi:

beginning and really, really start shaping stuff.

Kathrese McKee:

Sounds like a book therapy almost. Right?

Emma Dhesi:

There's funny, you know, there if I thought that

Emma Dhesi:

that was gonna be that'd be my tagline the book. That's great.

Emma Dhesi:

Okay. It's funny you say that, though, because there is a

Emma Dhesi:

degree of therapy that goes on in the coaching space. And I

Emma Dhesi:

don't know if you have this with your editing as well. But

Emma Dhesi:

definitely, the reason this is the story that stuck with that

Emma Dhesi:

writer is because it's touched them in some way. Right? It's,

Emma Dhesi:

there's a personal connection. They don't realize it at the

Emma Dhesi:

time, most of the time. Yeah, right. And it's only when you

Emma Dhesi:

start digging down that we understand, because this

Emma Dhesi:

happened to you, and this has affected you. And you remember

Emma Dhesi:

this, and this is where this idea the seed has ultimately

Emma Dhesi:

come from, why it's so appealing. And so it can get

Emma Dhesi:

quite emotional from time to time. Especially if it's, you

Emma Dhesi:

know, wounds from childhood or something, relationships with

Emma Dhesi:

parents. And so yes, and just having that realization that Oh,

Emma Dhesi:

my God, I didn't know I was writing about my father or my

Emma Dhesi:

sister, or there is a degree of therapy that's involved in

Emma Dhesi:

people that are able to kind of let go of things, now that

Emma Dhesi:

they've written about it,

Kathrese McKee:

right, kind of, I feel a great responsibility to

Kathrese McKee:

my clients to, you know, figure out why this is so important to

Kathrese McKee:

them, and how they can communicate it through their

Kathrese McKee:

story without necessarily being about them. Because most of the

Kathrese McKee:

time, I'm not a memoir, author. I'll leave that up to Valerie.

Kathrese McKee:

It's on but, but I feel like a lot of things are autobiography

Kathrese McKee:

full auto

Emma Dhesi:

by graphical, yeah, thank you.

Kathrese McKee:

Graphical, there we go, Oh, my goodness, we're

Kathrese McKee:

just escaped me. I think that there is a lot of weight.

Kathrese McKee:

Obviously, you're tied up in your book. And you're right,

Kathrese McKee:

there is a compelling reason that you're writing it. Usually

Kathrese McKee:

that first time unless you're doing it purely for, can I make

Kathrese McKee:

this a commercial success? You know, that's there's it too, but

Kathrese McKee:

most of the time, the first time author is, is actually trying to

Kathrese McKee:

get something off their heart. Yeah, and it's a great way to

Kathrese McKee:

connect to other people who have similar things on their hearts.

Kathrese McKee:

So it's a good reason to write a book, I think you're gonna find

Kathrese McKee:

somebody.

Emma Dhesi:

Because even when it's fiction, it's incredibly

Emma Dhesi:

therapeutic.

Kathrese McKee:

So do you find that you're a kind of an

Kathrese McKee:

accountability partner, as well?

Emma Dhesi:

Yes. 100%. So, at the end of each call together,

Emma Dhesi:

then we set a date for the next time, and in for a date for them

Emma Dhesi:

to send me their next pages. Oh, cool, huh. And people can give

Emma Dhesi:me up to:Emma Dhesi:

inline comments on, as well, as you know, just questions and

Emma Dhesi:

questions and comments around. So it's very in depth, it's very

Emma Dhesi:

high touch, you know, it's very, very personalized. And each

Emma Dhesi:

session is not like the last one, each one is different. And,

Emma Dhesi:

you know, I might, both of us might come to a call thinking or

Emma Dhesi:

we're just going to be talking about the words on the page

Emma Dhesi:

today. But then you just don't know what is going to come out

Emma Dhesi:

or whatever is going on in the writers Mind and Life at that

Emma Dhesi:

time, and what we've been thinking about, and what they've

Emma Dhesi:

been writing. And so it's very, very different each time. And

Emma Dhesi:

it's, it's wonderful when you see in your student in that

Emma Dhesi:

writer, just an aha moment that they have either about

Emma Dhesi:

themselves or about the book or how it's connected. And you see

Emma Dhesi:

that excitement and they can't wait to get back and start

Emma Dhesi:

writing again.

Kathrese McKee:

So do record the sessions. I do yet

Emma Dhesi:

we record the sessions and I send a send each

Emma Dhesi:

writer the recording so they've got it for as long as they need

Emma Dhesi:

it to come back and because often, you know, you might be

Emma Dhesi:

the best note taker in the world, but a lot can get lost in

Emma Dhesi:

the in the moment, you know, chatting away and maybe things

Emma Dhesi:

get we're both talking and it's very exciting. So it's, it's

Emma Dhesi:

good to have that video to come back to and just replay certain

Emma Dhesi:

sections just to remind yourself

Kathrese McKee:

taking notes you kind of miss stuff, you know.

Kathrese McKee:

Yeah.

Emma Dhesi:

And often when I asked like an author a question

Emma Dhesi:

About why did the character do this? Or why are they feeling

Emma Dhesi:

that? Or how are they feeling in that moment, and then they can

Emma Dhesi:

verbalize it really, really easily. But they can't put it on

Emma Dhesi:

the page as easily. So then it's great. Okay, we'll come back to

Emma Dhesi:

this minute. And that's exactly what you want to put on the

Emma Dhesi:

page.

Kathrese McKee:

Fantastic. That's how we're reaching kind

Kathrese McKee:

of the end of our time here. I would like to make sure people

Kathrese McKee:

know where to find you, and how to contact you and all that

Kathrese McKee:

stuff. And I mean, I met you through your summit at the

Kathrese McKee:

beginning of the year. Are you planning to do that again?

Emma Dhesi:

Yes, actually, just today, I was, I was having my

Emma Dhesi:

meeting with my VA, and we've just discussed how we're going

Emma Dhesi:

to start outreaching and start putting that together. So that

Emma Dhesi:being well will be January in:Emma Dhesi:

foreheads like yeah, no, I

Kathrese McKee:

love fantastic.

Emma Dhesi:

Yeah. interview series are great fun.

Kathrese McKee:

Okay. And what do you call that?

Emma Dhesi:

Called be a best seller. This one is going to be

Emma Dhesi:

I haven't got my tagline yet. I need to come up with that.

Kathrese McKee:

Right. That's what this meeting is for. Right?

Kathrese McKee:

That's, that's all

Emma Dhesi:

that we're working on that. But actually, as of

Emma Dhesi:

this week, I do have part of a promotion actually, this week.

Emma Dhesi:

You know, if you're just needing a bag with the back to school

Emma Dhesi:

bundle for writers, that's crazy, you're looking for a

Emma Dhesi:

little bit of, you know, just motivation to get back into the

Emma Dhesi:

swing of things after the summer holidays, then I'm part of this

Emma Dhesi:

promotion, where you can pick up lots of freebies, different

Emma Dhesi:

ways. So it's, you can get that at Emma desi.com. Forward slash

Emma Dhesi:

21 days. Okay. And right, yes, 21 days, and that will take you

Emma Dhesi:

through to this landing page where you can have a look and

Emma Dhesi:

see, see what's on offer and pick and choose whatever that

Emma Dhesi:

you would like to get. And it's not just me, there's lots of

Emma Dhesi:

authors contributing as well. So there's guaranteed to be

Emma Dhesi:

something

Kathrese McKee:

so wait two to one days? To one Yes. To one

Kathrese McKee:

days. Okay. And you're Emma DESE, D, H, E, si. That's all

Kathrese McKee:

one string.com. Okay, yeah, just want to make that clear. And

Kathrese McKee:

they can also find your coaching there isn't a.com

Emma Dhesi:

yet, there's details about that. And but probably, if

Emma Dhesi:

you're interested in that, then the easiest thing to do is just

Emma Dhesi:

drop me an email at Emma Emma daddy.com. It's a highly

Emma Dhesi:

personalized service. And as such, it's not a good fit for

Emma Dhesi:

everybody. So I do like to have a call with people just to check

Emma Dhesi:

where they're at in their writing and whether it would be

Emma Dhesi:

a good fit because it's fit.

Kathrese McKee:

Right. Right. That's right. That's right.

Kathrese McKee:

Well, I think it's a fantastic service that you're providing, I

Kathrese McKee:

had the benefit of someone in my life, that we were both trying

Kathrese McKee:

to finish a book she had or actually already published, too.

Kathrese McKee:

And so she was my mentor. And I was responsible for turning over

Kathrese McKee:I think it was:Kathrese McKee:

that really put the screws on me to get it done. And sure, I had

Kathrese McKee:

to revise it and everything. But to get that input every week,

Kathrese McKee:

and to have that accountability every week, was very

Kathrese McKee:

instrumental in getting me to the end of my first book. So I

Kathrese McKee:

had somebody in my life, but a lot of writers are just they

Kathrese McKee:

don't know where to go. And I think that your service is

Kathrese McKee:

obviously a highly valuable one. And I hope that people will

Kathrese McKee:

contact you and kind of let you help them get over that through

Kathrese McKee:

those obstacles and break through to their first book.

Emma Dhesi:

Absolutely. There's no, we don't have to do it

Emma Dhesi:

alone. That's the thing. I have a coach, I work with a coach,

Emma Dhesi:

and I wouldn't be without her. It's just just such a big help

Emma Dhesi:

to have someone on your team.

Kathrese McKee:

Right. Right. Well, fantastic. Well, thank

Kathrese McKee:

you, Emma, for joining me today

Emma Dhesi:

for asking me it's been lovely chatting with you.

Emma Dhesi:

It's been

Kathrese McKee:

great. Have a great day. I will do and you.

Kathrese McKee:

Okay, thank you. That's all I have for you today. Until next

Kathrese McKee:

time, keep writing. Thank you for joining us today. If you

Kathrese McKee:

enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment and follow the

Kathrese McKee:

podcast. If you're new around here. I hope you will sign up

Kathrese McKee:

for the weekly newsletter writing pursuits. Tips for

Kathrese McKee:

authors that link and all the links mentioned in today's

Kathrese McKee:

episode are in the show notes at writing pursuits.com. Please

Kathrese McKee:

join us on Wednesdays for new episodes and keep writing my

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