NaNoWriMo 2017 aka write ten pages then give up Page 10

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  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 07:22:55 3,210 posts
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    @The12thMonkey

    The action sure is hotting up. You guys are making my effort seem a snooze feature in comparison. Anyway, the pace feels pretty good in the latest chapter, a lot of dangerous stuff is happening at breakneck speed. I think it's good that you're keeping descriptions and dialogue to the point. The protestors' dialogue was funny and made things seem chaotic and realistic.

    I don't see any negatives (read with 'first draft eyes'). We just need more words.

    This paragraph confused me quite a bit until I realised pain should be paint.

    Will do, Mr Sandhurst. Good luck. I hope you get that stuff washed off the car quick,’ he added. ‘You know it’ll do the pain no good at all.’ Anthony smiled grimly and drove slowly on. The police officer wound the tape across the road and tied it off.
    ..
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 07:34:34 3,210 posts
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    @sunjumper

    I'm not really sure what's going on in the story but it's a good piece of work. Grounded characters and a steady style that while is fairly detailed doesn't seem overly bulk or stuffed with words just for the sake of it. All pretty smooth reading that I don't have to work too hard to understand. I guess you just need to find the time to write.

    Edited by rice_sandwich at 08:18:23 09-11-2017
  • The12thMonkey 9 Nov 2017 08:50:39 490 posts
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    rice_sandwich wrote:
    @The12thMonkey
    ‘You know it’ll do the pain no good at all.’ Anthony smiled grimly and drove slowly on. The police officer wound the tape across the road and tied it off.
    ..
    ....yeah, there's a missing "t" there. It should be paint. :D
  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 15:00:07 2,938 posts
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    @rice_sandwich

    Just spend the better part of two hours catching up on your work, from day 4 up to day 8b! :D


    Have to be honest, the whole Christian-Harry-Olive thing took a bit of energy.

    I adore your skill at making little human observations about small events to set a tone. Things like Harry describing his family, patting his belly, or Cleo the Cat prowling around for a snuggle, all tied in to his state of life and the tone of the story - or so I felt.
    The contents of the shed however, I felt really were just clutter, with much of the dialogue between Christian and Harry just a back and fro on observations of fact, rather than heart.

    This makes it so that when Olivia was introduced as a force in Harry's life, it's a bit sudden. Christian than revealing he kept his relationship hidden from Olivia because she "will mean something for his children in the future" seems out of place and perhaps a knee-jerk reaction to knot knowing where to put her. I'm not sure that's a Chekov's gun you want to arm. I'm half expecting her to be a destined Savior now.

    I'm actually fine with Olivia otherwise.

    You're just trying to hit wordcount now, so don't worry about it, but I'm absolutely convinced that if you had the time and energy, it would've been different.

    What I would've done, is condense those three parts, and add feelings of childhood/college nostalgia while they're going over the items, instead of just remarking on them. Maybe cut down on references to pop culture too to make things more abstract. Naming Linda/Lydia and the time spend trying to recall her, don't matter as anything other than an exercise to get me in the mood. Mix it in with the earlier "bleakness" to establish a running theme. Then, when we readers develop a "feel" for the scene, the introduction of Olivia will seem more natural as sort of a climax in the feelings of past nostalgia.
    Maybe earlier in the story, Harry could've had thoughts about kids, which would loop back in with Olivia being pregnant.

    There's also the bit where Harry suddenly stops talking to Christian after not being able to let go of the subject of Olivia, then drives off to Auchmilne, where the trip is described as uneventful and suddenly he's there relatively quickly.
    A trick I use, is to put a lot of the internal pondering of character in between such transfers of scene. Internal pondering is great at simulating the passage of time and it could cut down on spending three whole bits on both discussing Olivia, and not discussing Olivia.
    Then when the golden glow of the Northern Sun cuts through the grey sky, it would give Harry Imputus to put it out of his mind as well, while signalling the reader something completely different is about to happen.



    Aucmilde itself?

    Love it!

    Man! You really went to town on describing the little hotel! It was totally worth it.

    And then you introduce a new character of a different cultural background and I adore it!

    I can actually FEEL how the character of Mari and Harry have completely different sense of aesthetics and experience of the world around them.


    Only thing that has confused me is the amount of names. There's Mari... who has her own bit, but who doesn't appear to show up. Keiko does. I've now imposed a lot of the things I know Mari - her habits, thoughts and feelings - to be something to do with Keiko.


    More please! I want to see how you're going to tie it all together.
    Besides, the Moon in my story has a society that is heavily inspired by Japan. I'm intrigued by you trying to get its sensibilities right in your own writing.

    Edited by Skirlasvoud at 15:03:17 09-11-2017

    Edited by Skirlasvoud at 15:03:30 09-11-2017
  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 15:00:58 2,938 posts
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  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 15:13:22 2,938 posts
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    @FogHeart

    Yes! Reaching the Ice really did change things up.

    I appreciate how things have become more tangible, with a location and a group of friends you really did well to describe as being old friends.

    It obviously does come at the expense of the narrative style of the first two bits. This is no longer a case file or a documentary we need to puzzle together ourselves, but a more standard story.

    Part of me it happy you stopped doing Lovecraft for a bit here and gave me something more familiar to cling to. Another part of me is sad that this is where the experiment (might) stop. Though of course, you could still try to weave back in and out of the two narrative styles... giving us hope with the personal narrative and a sense of dread through the post-event case files...


    Still very much intrigued by where you're going with this.

    Edited by Skirlasvoud at 15:14:08 09-11-2017
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 15:21:16 3,210 posts
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    @Skirlasvoud

    I agree with a lot of your comments. I'm in a throw it all at the wall and see what sticks mode. There's a fair amount of redundant stuff and things that need polished and re-ordered. Plus plenty of rubbish. I'm sure I'll end up deleting 25% of the story. I just need to get it all out first.

    I'm all about writing every day and seeing what works and what doesn't. I'll throw it in a drawer in December and come back to it in January with fresh eyes.

    How's your story going? Are you writing and coding or just writing? It might be easier to map and write your story them code it up once it's done.
  • The12thMonkey 9 Nov 2017 16:37:03 490 posts
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    @sunjumper

    "Oberon and Titania, except arseholes."

    :D

    Genuinely laughed very loudly when I read this. Also, the bit with the bank puppets and dead handshakes; very nicely observed.
  • The12thMonkey 9 Nov 2017 16:48:07 490 posts
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    @rice_sandwich

    It was initially a little jarring to switch to Mari, but it developed well. Coupled with the encounter back at the hotel, I started to think the story had a bit of a Norwegian Wood feeling about it, but I suspect that's just down to the Japanese characters. The Forest Inn is described very clearly.

    Carbon_Altered wrote:
    @The12thMonkey I'm on Alice - very much like how you don't spell out the difficult predicament she is in but very much allude to it. Not sure quite how you do it, but I feel like I'm with / know your characters in a very short space of writing. More please.
    The short answer is I don't know. Long version; the alluding is deliberate because I felt like these people are already living with the reality of a country in decline and that they wouldn't need to explain it to themselves every chance they get. As for being with them / knowing them, I don't think I can describe. It just feels like the right way to write this. Thanks very much for the kind words.

    Edited by The12thMonkey at 16:57:47 09-11-2017
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 16:54:53 3,210 posts
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    @The12thMonkey

    Yeah, I just wanted to write something different for a bit as it gets hard to stick to the same thing when the story is still fairly slow. I'm thinking that it's a parallel thread that's happening at the same time as Harry arrives in the hotel and should be a separate chapter. Mari is probably the main character, not Harry. I might start flipping between Mari/Harry chapters until they inevitably join up to the real meat of the story.
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 16:59:24 3,210 posts
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    I have a question about dialogue. What are you all doing in respect of packing dialogue with relevant story progression? In reality 80 percent of stuff that people say is rambling and all over the place and contains a lot of extraneous detail. I'd like to tighten things up as my characters talk nonsense half the time but not at the expense of moving to the other extreme which would make things seem quite unnatural when they only talk about critical story points. I guess that might be ok in tightly paced thrillers etc. but I don't see it working in other genres.
  • The12thMonkey 9 Nov 2017 17:23:07 490 posts
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    On dialogue, I always try and find a balance between plot advancement and how people actually speak to each other. I'm sure most of the time I'm wide of the mark, but occasionally I'm happy that a conversation may have achieved both, and when I get those moments, it makes it all worthwhile.
  • sunjumper 9 Nov 2017 17:36:12 3,371 posts
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    rice_sandwich wrote:
    I have a question about dialogue. What are you all doing in respect of packing dialogue with relevant story progression? In reality 80 percent of stuff that people say is rambling and all over the place and contains a lot of extraneous detail. I'd like to tighten things up as my characters talk nonsense half the time but not at the expense of moving to the other extreme which would make things seem quite unnatural when they only talk about critical story points. I guess that might be ok in tightly paced thrillers etc. but I don't see it working in other genres.
    First of all many thanks for your feedback. I get the impression that the story might need a bit more tension, but on the other hand it is not that kind of story... Something I will have to think about a bit.

    To answer your question, it's bloody hard. If you have them talk exposition they will always come over as strange. Both if they explain the world to each other and also, even worse, if they talk about what they are feeling or what motivates them. This can often lead to characters that are flat and never come alive.

    What's important is that everyone has a proper personality which is carried in the way they talk and act, which will tell you a lot about them and the world. For example having someone who loves to hug people for a greeting and having their friends roll their eyes because it is always a bit embarrassing tells you a lot about the person the culture and the social environment they’re in.

    The same is true when they are speaking, a bit of nonsense again gives them character which describes their psychology and personality without spelling it out. Then you can focus on what they are talking about; having them talk through a situation or problem will carry a lot of information that is usually enough for the reader to put the pieces together themselves.
    Your first Anthony chapter is a good example for that matter. The people talked quite normally there is a lot of incidental context and even without knowing what exactly was happening I had a clear enough idea of who the people where and what the problem at hand kind of was, the bits and pieces I did not know either added to the suspense or where not that important that they made me think that I was missing vital information.

    Strangely enough “Show don’t tell.” Also works for dialogue.
  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 18:01:22 2,938 posts
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    @rice_sandwich

    Thanks for taking it in. I'm pretty socially awkward, often get stuck in my own line of reasoning and I'm scared to death I might have gone too far with every post I make here and trampled on someone's baby this time around. :lol:

    Carbon Altered and Sunjumper's stuff are next.


    How's your story going? Are you writing and coding or just writing?
    Currently just writing, but inevitably I will need to code to make it presentable. My experience is somewhat different from you guys'.

    I either write less than 50.000 words and free up enough the time to code, so I can actually present something at the end of the month, or stick rigidly to 1.666 words a day and (ironically) having nothing to show for it in December.
    Reason for that, is because I feel like I rely heavily on offering a reader choices, to retain their interest through the starting sections. If I were to present it as a linear sprawl, you end up with a purposefully bland main character, surrounded by interesting event, but no reason to be invested. I REALLY need to get to the planet/moon and introduce my readers quickly to the wealth of characters there. Without code, Sunlash doesn't work as well as other people's works.

    Coding is also where all of my polish happens too, and where a great deal of detail is added. I'll write with only one sequence of events in mind, and then I'll have to compensate for what the reader may have done and take time to respect their choices.

    I'll probably hit the brakes on the 20th of November at 30.000 - 35.000 words and then code.


    Might make an exception and post choice sections I've done in a blog to show you guys I'm still with you!
  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 18:22:47 2,938 posts
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    The12thMonkey wrote:
    Carbon_Altered wrote:
    @The12thMonkey I'm on Alice - very much like how you don't spell out the difficult predicament she is in but very much allude to it. Not sure quite how you do it, but I feel like I'm with / know your characters in a very short space of writing. More please.
    The short answer is I don't know. Long version; the alluding is deliberate because I felt like these people are already living with the reality of a country in decline and that they wouldn't need to explain it to themselves every chance they get. As for being with them / knowing them, I don't think I can describe. It just feels like the right way to write this. Thanks very much for the kind words.
    Almost forgot about 12thMonkey! Your fragments are so bite-sized and easy to read that I might as well have a few as deserts, before I call it a day.


    I've just read Alice and as a comment to the above:

    It's the slowness of the setting and the way it focuses on certain detail with more effort than you'd expect, or in an alien way, like the perspective of the character is detached. Everything feels sluggish and hard.

    Alice stared down at her mobile, the only thing casting light in her dark front room, and slowly reached for the red icon to end the call. She had put the phone down to hear the message, rather than hold it up to her ear. It felt easier
    Cheery people usually don't get hung up on sombre detail like that. All the rest is just human empathy. It's very well done.

    Going for the other three latest entries now.

    Edited by Skirlasvoud at 18:27:45 09-11-2017
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 18:31:19 3,210 posts
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    @Skirlasvoud

    I appreciate your detailed insight and analysis. You (and everyone) else have raised a lot of points and made suggestions that hadn't even crossed my mind. I'm under no illusions that I'm producing any sort of great work. Now that I've started I want to see it through even although it's getting tougher every day. The best outcome from this 30 days of madness is if I develop a regular writing habit.

    I do think that hammering out a quick and dirty draft is a great approach as it hopefully puts a complete story on the table. Otherwise I'd procrastinate and never finish anything. I'm posting every day just to keep the momentum going and to encourage the other writers to keep on going too.

    Edited by rice_sandwich at 18:33:12 09-11-2017
  • The12thMonkey 9 Nov 2017 18:49:34 490 posts
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    On the subject of regular writing, I got myself into the habit in, I think, about 2009, and I haven't looked back. Every lunch time at work, I write. Most of the time, it's just rewrites or editing of my existing story (which featured last year in NaNo), but it's a great little calming section in the day when work stress can just be put to one side. For sanity alone, I think it's a very good habit!

    Edit: Next visits to Holly and Alice.

    Edited by The12thMonkey at 19:04:28 09-11-2017
  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 19:03:37 2,938 posts
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    @The12thMonkey

    Just finished all your little tidbit stories so far.

    Love it. You're damn near giving me a depression, but it's really good. I've got a really clear idea of what you're going with too. You're following the circumstances of a great many people who's lives are going to shit in a town on its last legs, somewhere in the future.

    You picked a really great concept for a NaNoWriMo that's very hard to screw up and very easy to do right. These little self contained stories are not only easy to fabricate, but they're a delight for a reader such as me to follow. You cut them off at a great point too. All of them give me just enough information to be emotionally satisfying, but to leave me eager for more at the same time. It's like an episodic TV formula and I wanna binge watch. All the entries here, yours might just be the easiest to pick up and the most immediately satisfying to consume.

    I commented earlier about how I had certain confusions about Anthony's first bit: What's with the pills? Where do the Tremors come from?
    You all wrapped it up nicely in the last entry and kept me in suspension to learn more all the way through.
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 19:37:28 3,210 posts
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    @The12thMonkey

    Is there a link your last year's nano?
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 19:40:43 3,210 posts
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    @The12thMonkey

    Re the pills. I took it they were foreshadowing. Looks like someone is very unwell.
  • Skirlasvoud 9 Nov 2017 19:41:38 2,938 posts
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    My opinion on dialogue:


    I tend to try and avoid it wherever I can.

    The thing is that us human beings, and therefore the reader, have been in thousands of conversations across our lives. We can feel where a conversation is heading, or whether or not it's interesting, very quickly.

    If dialogue or conversation in a story isn't more informative than normal banter, I leave it out. The only exception is when there's no other natural way to pass crucial information to the reader, if it informs the reader about the nature of the person saying things instead of what the person says, or if it breaks the storyflow in a welcome manner. Dialogue is VERY RARELY about what is being said.



    I usually exchange superfluous dialogue, by simply telling the reader what happened.

    "Hi", I said to the guard.
    "Mornin'" the guard grunted back.
    "Do you know where the jails are?" I asked.
    I walked up to the guard, exchanged the usual pleasantries and asked him where the jails were.
    That is, unless the mannerisms of the guard are any bit interesting.


    For a bit more subtlety, I also use internal monologue/ponderings/feelings to allow the reader to fill in the blanks left by removing dialogue. I also use it to break up dialogue. The dialogue then becomes the punchline, rather than the main focus.

    There was a full moon out that night. Dark clouds occasionally slithered past its light.
    "I love you silvia."
    "I love you too Tommy."
    "But if that's true, why do you hang out with Jimmy?"
    "You will just have to trust me Tommy."
    Tommy fell silent for five minutes, but had a hard time letting go of the fact her ex was still around.
    "I can't be with you while he's still in your life," Tommy finally dropped the bombshell.
    On a clear dark night, under the light of the moon, two lovebirds ambled hand in hand across the boulevard, whispering each other sweet little nothings. It was the happiest night of Tommy's life, but as a pale-black cloud slithered in front of the moon, his thoughts drew back to a place of jealousy that proved increasingly hard for him to escape. Jimmy, her ex, was still there. He had brought it up on earlier occasions, but perhaps this beautiful night, was meant to be break or make moment.
    "Silvia, I want you to break up seeing him."



    As an example of where dialogue breaks up storyflow in a pleasant manner:

    ‘We thought it was under control, but then it started spiking,’ Steve explained. ‘We called Chirag in, and he got down into the Pit to see what was going on.’
    ‘Then what?’
    Steve looked shell shocked. ‘We found out what the spiking was…’ he said, wringing his hands. ‘Pressure was looking for another way – any damn way it could. Chirag got on the geophys and started looking…’
    ‘And…?’
    12thMonkey uses dialogue not to say important things, but to add suspense. The dialogue slows down the storyflow in a positive way.

    Edited by Skirlasvoud at 19:47:27 09-11-2017
  • The12thMonkey 9 Nov 2017 20:01:43 490 posts
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    @Skirlasvoud I've always thought of the difference between conversation and reported conversation.

    I first realised how powerful the difference could after I'd read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I had seen the Alec Guinness version before reading the book. Without spoiling, the second episode starts with a character explaining why he has been missing for six months. In the dramatisation, it takes about 25 minutes to go through it all, but when I read the book, I was really looking forward to that section.

    However, when I got to it, it was very different from what I had expected. For a start, it was pretty short, and mostly reported conversation, but I realised that details inferred from a reported conversation had suggested what ended up on screen. Pretty much since then, I've relied on the stuff, broken up with direct dialogue, because I think it leaves a space for the reader to embellish the scene.

    Edited by The12thMonkey at 20:02:19 09-11-2017
  • Carbon_Altered 9 Nov 2017 20:40:27 864 posts
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    First things first, how about a trip to London

    Secondly, jeez I like reading your discussions! Feel like I become a better writer almost by osmosis from it.

    Wish I had the ability to add more to the debate on writing conversation - I do write a hell of a lot of it, but not really with any rhyme or reason. Others are right that it is a massive balance between brevity and depth of character.
  • rice_sandwich 9 Nov 2017 21:26:56 3,210 posts
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    Day 9. Not great at all today but hey ho, it's some sort of progress.

    http://nanodrivel.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/day-9.html
  • Carbon_Altered 9 Nov 2017 21:34:01 864 posts
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    @rice_sandwich I'm up to day 8 of yours, and wow, what a turn that day took! Just as I was becoming a little unsettled by Harry's new surroundings at the hotel (excellently described I might add) then we have a new character chomping down some soil. The start with I thought I'd miss-clicked a link and ended up in some other blog, but then a familiar Germanic name. All very interesting, and nice use of a (so far) side character to weave the thread between the 2 parts.
  • Carbon_Altered 9 Nov 2017 22:15:51 864 posts
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    @sunjumper 002 - slight typo in the first para confused me (you referred to windmill and watermill, but meant only the latter I think) but then I was right back under your spell.

    Your blending of the mundane and what is almost ethereal is completely on point. The chat with her friend (business chat versus fading away) and the "Clerk people" being my favourites.

    This could end up being a small business documentary, or a trippy journey through some bizarre other universe. Can't wait to find out what you do (or how you blend them both)
  • rice_sandwich 10 Nov 2017 07:07:21 3,210 posts
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    @Carbon_Altered

    "The difference in emotion between father and son had rarely been more stark in the Jacoby household."

    Emotion doesn't seem like the right word. As it's the first sentence of a new chunk it stuck out a bit. Maybe temperament or something similar would fit better.

    As for the rest, it has plenty of humour and I like the character development of Jack. The Don Quixote like pilot is a laugh too. Interesting plot developments but I won't say too much in case I spoil it for anyone else. A lot happens in what seems like short spaces of time. You've definitely know how to move things forward at a good clip. All in all it's flowing smoothly. I've rarely been confused about scene transitions as you have a lot of good clever ways of saying 'and this happened next'.
  • rice_sandwich 10 Nov 2017 08:15:36 3,210 posts
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    Right, so how do you go about getting a character to talk about some pretty weird, rather fantastic stuff that they've never talked about before without it seeming forced or totally unrealistic? Essentially an eye opening revelation that they've kept to themselves but which moves the story into a new arc.
  • Skirlasvoud 10 Nov 2017 11:02:17 2,938 posts
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    Write it. We'd have to know what it is first!
  • rice_sandwich 10 Nov 2017 12:21:15 3,210 posts
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    I figured it out. Instead of telling that a character is a time travelling space vampire via a conversation, I just show it. In a mundane world I suppose character a undeniably witnessing that character b is a time travelling space vampire will work. They might not understand everything but it'll be clear that things are far from normal.
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