Re: Fanfiction for adults, part two...

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by twowolves, Oct 9, 2013.

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  1. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4
    (Now that I've had my wrist slapped by one of the moderators...Sorry, Briannikin! lol Allow me to repost this in proper form!)

    This may seem asinine, but why is there no official Star Wars fiction that is geared towards adults? I'm not referring to porn, either. Basically, I am referring to adult themes that the movies hint at, but never discuss in detail. It seems like all the novels are written with a pulp fiction mentality, with shallow characters.

    Specifically, how about addiction to drugs? There are many references to the drugs in the Star Wars universe, but no novel ever delves into a person's addiction. I think it would be interesting to see someone write a novel with Stephen King's eye for detail and storytelling ability, with Tom Clancy's gift for integrating actual naval service protocols into his books.

    To that end, I am writing a bit of fan fiction and posting it chapter by chapter on a blog; it's a bit darker than the usual fare, and I introduce what I believe to be a unique twist on droids that shoehorns into canon almost perfectly, though I won't discuss it here because I'm a bit protective of this concept. One of the Imperial characters is an Adjutant to an Inquisitor, though she has been turned by the ISB, and is a ryl kor addict hiding her addiction while serving aboard a Star Destroyer.

    I just think it would be nice for an author to go into great depth about the characters themselves. It can't all be action, and when there is action, at least go into more detail so that it is as realistic as possible within the physics framework set forth by Master Lucas (a la Tom Clancy). There is much to be said for the way he describes his naval combat, which would fit perfectly into Star Destroyer combat, I think...
    Last edited by twowolves, Oct 9, 2013
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  2. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I think the Star Wars novels started out being written for 12-year-old boys, but they have been getting a bit more 'adult', but that is usually restricted to violence. The last novel had torture. Death Troopers had zombies. There still isn't any sex in Star Wars. That might be because the books are expected to be read by teenagers along with adults and Americans seem to be more tolerant of their kids seeing violence than sex. When my kids ask me to buy a M-rated video game I look at the reason for the rating: violence, gore, decapitations....that's okay. Oh wait, it says there is sexual content. Nope, I'm not buying it (when I lived in Germany I found the Europeans had the opposite view).

    The bottom line is the books are written for a wide audience to include youngsters, so the books are going to be written in a way that American parents won't be upset by the content. I really don't think we will ever see a Star Wars version of Breaking Bad.

    If you want to see these deep issues discussed you need to look to fan fiction. I have seen every plot imaginable written (and many of the stories are written by excellent writers). The ones discussing drugs, sex or extreme violence can be found over at FFN or other websites. These forums are more family friendly.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Oct 9, 2013
  3. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4

    I know what you mean. It seems like everything is going in that direction, though the movies certainly hinted at such themes for those of us with enough life experience to notice them, whereas children thought the death sticks scene was just humorous for the way Obi-Wan handled it ("You want to go home and rethink your life." lol.

    It's not that I want to read about sex, drugs and rock and roll in Star Wars, I just want to read about people that are real, that have made bad decisions and struggle with the consequences of them, sometimes even achieving redemption in one form or another. Nothing is more heroic than the character who overcomes their flaws to find greatness within themselves. Basically, less pulp fiction, and more complex characters and themes would be appreciated.

    What do you think?
  4. windu4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    Just because something is "adult" doesn't mean that it has to have extra gore, or heightened sexual activity or drug addictions. I believe that the vast majority of people live "normal" lives and don't have to deal with these kinds of issues. They might know family members who do or hear about it on the news but they're probably far-removed from these situations. I can understand having these kinds of elements in your stories but I don't think you automatically need to look for dramatic and heavy topics to throw into your stories. These kinds of things should come up organically.
  5. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I think to go in depth like that you need some more stand-alone books that focuses on a particular person, such as I, Jedi. Of course, that was done in the first person, so it is easier to get into a character's head. Shadow Games with Dash Rendar was good. I really started to like the character...which was surprising because I didn't know a thing about the man prior to reading the book. I also liked Javul Charn and wondered what happen to her. The Jaden Korr books are also good, although I think Dash was written better than Jaden. I think this is because Korr was in a video game and the writer may have thought the readers would know a little about him. Since I don't play video games he was a complete unknown to me before I picked up the novel. Still, I enjoyed the books although I have no idea why his Master Kyle was always saying "There be dragons here" (or something like that).
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Oct 9, 2013
  6. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4

    No doubt. I don't actively seek to throw these kinds of elements in, and as far as the sex goes, I keep it very muted and PG-13-ish. There is a certain dynamism, though, to having flawed individuals as the main characters in a novel (or movie for that matter...Blade Runner, Punisher, and Catch Me If You Can, to name a few). Even Han Solo was more of an anti-hero; he drank, he gambled, he smuggled...lol Plus, he associated with Hutts, notorious criminals themselves.

    The key to balance, I believe, is not glorifying the actions of the characters as they get high, or indulge in other vices, but to portray them realistically and show the consequences of them. My one character who is an Imperial Adjutant to an Inquisitor, is also an ISB spy, and the ISB is using her addiction to ryl kor to keep her in line. She works on a Star Destroyer, and has to carefully retrieve more ryl kor from an agent every time they come to port, avoiding getting caught and also having to keep the Inquisitor from discovering her addiction. I go further, though, and show her thoughts to the readers, and they aren't pretty. She is fatalistic, and hates herself because she was never able to achieve her dream of joining the 501st Legion because they are the best of the best, and she idolized the clone troopers as a little girl. She's been broken spiritually, and wants off the drugs, but is between a rock and a hard place, and can't get out.

    I am unflinching in her portrayal, but I do not glorify her addiction, either. I attempt to show a human being who has made some terrible choices, and who only seeks to find some kind of peace within herself. This is the kind of dynamic character I would like to see more of in the Star Wars universe, where their lives are put under the microscope, because it makes the EU that much more real in our minds, that, hey, these people are just like us. We might not share in their addictions or vices, but we can see that they think just like us, and want to be loved and have friends, and be accepted by others, just like we all do. They have goals and dreams like us, and sometimes, those dreams don't always work out, and they must then find a balance.

    And absolutely, they must come up organically. Nothing is worse than reading fiction that is "forced." However, I think there is a lot of room for more in-depth characters, whose lives are examined down to the minutiae in the same vein of authors such as Dean Koontz, Stephen Donaldson, Robert Jordan, and Stephen King, to name a few.
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  7. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Of course some of us read Star Wars for escapism. If I wanted to see alcoholic, drug addicted idiots who hated themselves I could look to some members of my own family...but nobody in my family has a spaceship and swings a lightsaber. ;)
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Oct 9, 2013
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  8. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I've touched upon the violence subject in my "Violence in Fiction" topic buried somewhere around here. Just because something is violent doesn't make it mature.

    The thing is, "adult" isn't necessarily linked to rating. You can have an adult storyline in a G-rated work. You can have adult themes in a G-rated work. Violence, sex, and a ton of political intrigue and socio-economic stances doesn't necessarily make a work "adult," and the adult movies that we watch with those themes can still be more childish than a kid's movie that explores situations that adults come across more often.

    For example, you have a shocking expose about a drug addict and their struggles. On the other channel is a kid's movie dealing with themes of life's meaning, one's purpose, and the loss of loved ones. In my opinion, that kid's movie has more adult themes than the story about the recovering crackhead that echoes the same exact path as whatever I saw on Behind the Music last week. The kids may not understand the deeper philosophical themes in their movie as I would, and thus as an adult who had experienced the loss of loved ones, I would draw more from the kid's movie than they would.

    Most kids, however, know that drugs are bad and they'd be able to very easily see that the expose about that recovering drug addict is a big message to tell them to stay off drugs, else their life would be a mess. The concepts of money troubles, problems with family and friends, and how drugs take a toll on a person's body are painted pretty clearly for them to understand. Deeper themes such as one's purpose in life, not so much. Most children I've seen usually don't spend hours pondering exactly why they are here.
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  9. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    [IMG]
    (taken from Peopleareidiots.com)
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  10. DARTH_MU Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2005
    star 4
    It all boils down to whether your 'adult' fic can stand on its own without so called 'adult' elements.
    Ask yourself what kind of story you are trying to write: the MICE quotient.

    Can your story survive without some character with drug problems? If not, then your story isn't interesting to begin with.

    Do not include adult elements for the sake of having them in the story.

    Do not pad your story with unnecessary details. I read a few pages of Tom Clancy's the Hunt for the Red October, and was turned off by the 'details' Some of which obviously wrong and catering to 'Western' sensibilities. It was much better if Clancy didn't write whole pages. They were totally unnecessary, and when I read a book that has so much wrongness. The story IMHO is totally fake and can't offer me the escapism I was after.

    So:

    Example: Did the turbolaser fail to fire leading the enemy ship to be able to ram the star destroyer, killing every single innocent souls onboard, because the operator was so stoned out of her mind after some deathstick use an hour before....
    Or did the turbolaser, fail to fire because Luke Skywalker infiltrated the ISD and sabotaged the firing mechanism? Ships ram together, killing every single one of them evil Imperials. Luke survives.

    Is the theme of your story about the evil of drug use and love your enemy or is it about the heroic Jedi overcoming enormous odds and the only good enemy is a dead enemy?

    It all depends on the plot of your story. Honestly, if it can't survive without the adult elements, your story isn't interesting enough.
    Unless of course, it's porn ;)
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  11. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    That is true...PWP is often interesting enough on its own.
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  12. Chilla Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Actually, one of the reasons why I own about 80 SW books is that I dislike reading very brutal or gory stories and don't want to/need to read about sex in great detail. With SW, I always knew what I would get.

    By now, I don't buy any (non-SW) books without having read several reviews on Amazon. I've had some books that I bought on a whim and I was usually disappointed or shocked by the content. Hence, I usually only buy from the Young Readers's section. And then I'm annoyed because the content is a bit too....immature in some novels. Mostly too much pointless High School drama....
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  13. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4
    Point taken and conceded about the excessive use of such plot mechanisms. I do believe the story I am writing can stand on it's own. The drugs in the one character's case merely set the tone as she tries to find a way to get clean, and in the process, begins to see the true nature of the Empire. It begins to dawn on her over the course of the book that she's been idolizing the wrong people (Vader, 501st) and eventually comes to the decision that she must defect if she is not to be ground into the dust by the ISB. To them, she realizes, she is nothing more than a disposable tool.

    I know that the Empire is sort of the standard black hat evil in SW fiction, but I wanted to show the people behind the scenes who make everything run. I didn't want the throwaway, faceless evil guys, I wanted human beings who have reasons for doing what they do that they believe is just. The reason I brought up Tom Clancy was merely comparative. He does tend to be a little long-winded, but I was referring more to the operations he describes of how a submarine is run, for example. I thought it would be interesting to see how a Star Destroyer is actually run, and I came up with what I believe is a kind of cool way that ships would orient in space, calling it the "galactic compass" which orients on Coruscant. Going above or below the galactic plane would be accomplished by positive or negative angle on the bow of the ship. This would also explain why all the Star Destroyers seem to be "upright" in the original three movies.

    To me, The day to day operations of how such a military service is run is interesting and would make a good backdrop for a story.
    Last edited by twowolves, Oct 9, 2013
  14. mavjade It's so FLUFFY Fanfic & New Movies Manager

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    Sep 10, 2005
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    I'm going to leave this thread open as there is some good discussion on fanfic, but let's remember that any discussion on the novels needs to also be in relation to writing fanfic. Discussion purely about the novels needs to be in Literature.
  15. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4

    Point taken. The main thrust of the topic I was trying to convey was that when we get inside the head of bad guys (and the good guys, too), we begin to see how they think and why, which makes their villainy that much more interesting to read about because it's not just the generic, faceless evil. In the Dark Lord trilogy, we see a great example of this as Palpatine's motives and thinking is laid out as he corrupts Anakin. That is the kind of character that is interesting. If writing about someone with an addiction, it stirs deeper emotion in us as we come to pity them and root for them when they finally are able to overcome their demons. It is the joy of seeing a lost soul reborn when they find themselves.
  16. TrakNar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    One can overcome other types of inner demons; it doesn't necessarily need to be a drug addiction. You can tell a mature story without "adult" themes such as that. If your character cannot stir the emotions of the readers without this addiction and recovery as their crutch, are they worth rooting for? Are they more than a label? Or, are they just an "adult" theme for the sake of an "adult" theme?
  17. Chilla Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Sorry, mavjade!

    I guess when I write, since I dislike writing violence or sex scenes in detail, the thing I would consider "adult" in my fanfics is the realizations my characters go through that there is no black and white. I don't want my villains to be evil for the sake of being evil, I want them to have motives or a background that explains how they became who they are now. As for my protagonists, I have them realize that the distinction between good and bad is not that clear-cut, that many people fall in-between, and that they also carry some darkness or potential for bad actions within themselves. In fact, my last NaNoWriMo protagonist is fully aware of that because she has done some bad things in the past. She now carries that regret with her and is wary of her ruthless side.

    I don't know if other people would consider this "adult" or more along the lines of "coming of age/realizing things about yourself and the world", though.....
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  18. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 6, 2013
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    That is it exactly! Yes! I dislike writing the scenes that make you squirm, too, and end up feeling sorry for my characters, but sometimes, the story calls for them to go through such hardships so they come out better at the end. I like writing villains that if you don't end up liking them, you can clearly see and understand their motives, and see how logical it was for them to make such decisions based on their experience. Thrawn is a perfect example of that. He fully believed in the Empire's cause of bringing peace to the galaxy by pursuing what he saw as the criminal actions of the rebels.

    The same goes for the protagonists, too. A deeply flawed character who finds him or herself and becomes the hero is much more interesting to read about than the hero who is always clean and shiny and perfect.

    And does no one think it would be interesting to see what Tom Clancy could spin out for a Star Wars novel (if he was given a word limit...wink-wink, Darth_Mu :) )?
    Last edited by twowolves, Oct 11, 2013
  19. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    And does no one think it would be interesting to see what Tom Clancy could spin out for a Star Wars novel (if he was given a word limit...wink-wink, Darth_Mu :) )?

    Politics and Intrigue... actually, I think we've got a few of those here. But it would be interesting, yes. (Also: Rest In Peace, Mr. Clancy. @};- )
  20. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4
    Robert Jordan would have been another great author for Star Wars. Alas, he woke from the dream too soon. Requiem en terra pax, dear sir.
  21. Chilla Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Yes! That is great characterization right there!
    And yes, Thrawn is a good villain because you can clearly see how he started out with a good goal, but he justifies too much and ends up being "corrupted" (for a lack of better word). In the end, he resorts to manipulation, deceit and exploitation because he hasn't got any lines that he is not willing to cross in order to save the galaxy.

    I like reading about the thoroughly good characters, too, but I think an entire cast of them would be too much. And frankly, it is much more relatable for us readers if the protagonist is flawed as well. Not too badly flawed, though, because then readers can't really connect to the character. (I actually have problems with Anakin Skywalker because I consider him to be too flawed, with too few moments to shine.)
    However, a character that struggles or makes bad/wrong decisions is good, in my opinion. That's why I think your idea of including a drug addict who is struggling with that addiction is a good idea. I probably wouldn't make it the main point of the story, but part of that character's background and thus shaping her actions.I know the other comments were rather critical, but I'd say go for it. :)

    I think in a way, Star Wars still has very much naivety - no addicts portrayed (although you hear abut them), almost all Imperials are bad, Sith want galactic domination (....why?), our heroes make good decisions all the time.... Star Wars also does not really include divorces or homosexual pairings (only one or two canon one), avoiding those sad (divorce) or controversial (homosexuality) topics. (I guess there might be concerns about those two not being topics for children.) But then again, our society is such a diverse community with many different stories and fates, and I think it would be nice to have this echoed in Star Wars. As for now, we can write about it in our fanfics while we wait for the novels to "catch up". :D

    And yes, reading about the redemption of a flawed protagonist would be very awesome.
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  22. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4
    Rather than quote you to reply, Ms. Chilla (thank you, by the way), I will reply this way. I was trying to figure out what to quote, but your whole reply is so salient that I didn't have the heart to edit it, and thus, this form of answer...It is so gratifying to know I'm finally understood. I think the fault was mine for not conveying the sense of it correctly, though I get a A for effort, right? lol This is what I was trying to say all along--sorry guys for bungling things!

    Yes, it would be very nice indeed to see more real world themes expressed in Star Wars. I think the fact that it was so gritty in the first place (Solo shot first, blast it!) is what makes it alive. Han Solo was a criminal. Jabba was a murderer. Bib Fortuna engaged in the exploitation of his own race. Oola was a stripper. Wuher was an alcoholic. Tarkin was a sociopath. And don't get me started on death sticks and Algarian torve weed... I've said it before and I'll say it again: Mr. Eisner, Ms. Kennedy, if you are listening, please, please, PLEASE don't try to pacify the parental demographic by making Star Wars too kid-friendly. Yes, there's room for all ages to enjoy Star Wars, but don't alienate some of your audience to ensure that everything is PC! Do the animated shows, but put one on HBO for the older generation to enjoy, too!

    Another critical piece to this is that a plot doesn't necessarily have to revolve around saving the galaxy, either. Sometimes, the redemption of a flawed character is saving the world--their world--and that focus on characters other than major heroes and villains is what makes everything more real, for lack of a better term.

    Moreover, finding these little nuggets of inference in the encyclopedias and other books makes it that much more fun! I never even knew about something so obscure as the term, "cat-and-mouse" being referred to in SW as "felinx-and-rodus" until I saw it in Star Wars Insider. And being able to incorporate such terminology (within reason, of course!) adds a further degree of psychological immersion into the fictional reality of Star Wars.
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  23. Chilla Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Wow. [face_blush] A high compliment there. You just made my day. Thank you!

    It is very easy to be misunderstood on the internet. A slight vagueness in the phrasing of a comment is all it takes.... That being said, I was a bit surprised by the other comments because I pretty much understood your opening post like that: You want to show the grittier, darker aspects of life in your fanfiction. The route you want to take is by writing about a drug addict (whereas I like to paint in different shades of gray).

    So you basically would like Star Wars to include the harsher realities of life without making this "adult" part solely about sex and/or violence. I think that's a great idea and I'm sure many other fanfic authors will agree with you. :)

    Wow, there was a lot of grittiness about the Old Trilogy that I forgot about.

    Yes! Beautifully said! @};-

    I admit I fall for that trap too - it's too easy to write about the Solo kids saving the galaxy. But lately I have grown tired with the galaxy not staying saved for once. But writing about a local conflict or saving a single person is so much more intimate. And how amazing is it when the great hero takes the time to save a total stranger at the side of the road. Speaking about Real Life, it really makes me sad to see so many struggling souls today (especially on Youtube!). I think what you really want then is for someone to notice you and help you. It would be wonderful to see one of our Star Wars heroes become the heroes not for thousands of faceless beings, but for one single person. (Next time you read a comment by someone who is struggling, take the time to leave a kind word.)

    I'm waiting for the day when depressions, mental issues, torn families and dealing with the loss of loved ones enters into Star Wars, even though none of that is pretty. But it is a reality for so many readers. The New Jedi Order was great that way because it showed us a grieving Han Solo, how his marriage was almost ruined and how he made it out of that hole, with his and Leia's love stronger than ever. But then again, we never saw Leia deal with the destruction of Alderaan and the loss of her family. I think it would add even more to the universe of Star Wars to include more of those rough patches of life.

    (I'm beginning to realize some things I may want to change in my own fanfics. :p A little bit of imperfection to add to the realism. As for the saving someone fanfics, I should probably read more "Hurt & Heal" stories. [face_laugh])

    That is part of what makes writing in the Star Wars universe so amazing: There is such a wealth of people, planets and things there. It's almost like our world. In a way, that makes is all the more puzzling that some things are still largely missing.
    Last edited by Chilla, Oct 14, 2013
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  24. twowolves Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 6, 2013
    star 4
    This thread hasn't been commented on in awhile @Chilla, but now, I fear with Disney's expulsion of the EU, we are only going to see more of the kid-friendly themes water down the reality of Star Wars. I think that is the worst part about it. It is a theft of the EU's psychological immersion because yes, while we can all see ourselves in kiddy-land characters, it doesn't accurately portray the real world. God forbid, though, if the kids get a dose of reality...I can only hope that the core of LucasFilm pushes back and says enough is enough. We need that reality to be an analog to our own simply so that we have touchstones by which to compare and inspire us. It is of vital importance that the good guys don't always win because that is reality, but is also of vital importance to show that despite not winning, the good guys will always struggle to do what is right, and that's a great deal harder to show when the Star Wars universe becomes so kid-friendly and PC that the conflicts within the plots become superficial and banal.
  25. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

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    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Disney owns Marvel and they did a good job with movies like The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy. I don't think Disney owning Star Wars will mean we will have G-rated adventures. I am hopeful we will have a spectacular adventure...unfortunately, with the EU not being canon I am sure aspects of the film will be disappointing on some level.
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