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- follow the instructions. make sure it works the way the author intended first. arrive at a working state. this is usually not trivial.
- study its structure. change something small that is a step towards making the thing you are after.
- test to see if it still works.
- if it does, keep your change. if it does not, undo it to return to a working state.
- repeat from step 2 until you either give up or arrive at the thing you were after.