The Leech Cloth (fiction)

This is something fictional I wrote more than a year ago for a site where we share ideas for tabletop RPGs. I copied a piece of it yesterday, the most shorthand I’ve done in one sitting for months. I had to keep the dictionary and my personal reference handy throughout. Even so, I’m pretty sure I missed a number of abbreviating principles.

The shorthand version, hand written and scanned: The Leech Cloth, or The Cloth of Souls

The original (longer) version, typed:

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14 comments Add yours
    1. Thanks for the compliment. It's good to know that all the hours of practice have paid off. I have never, ever received a compliment on my penmanship in longhand, and for good reason. Mostly I get snickers 🙂

      I'm still writing very slowly, probably slower than in longhand. I want to really burn the movements into my muscle memory before I try speeding things up.

  1. Any interest in seeing more of these? I'm going to continue transcribing other pieces for my own practice but I don't want to inundate the group with random stuff.

    Also, I am fully open to critiques on my shorthand. Are the outlines clear? How are the proportions? Any glaring mistakes?

    1. Any interest in seeing more of these?

      I welcome more reading material in Simplified!

      A fair amount was published in Anni, but for those learning later editions, there’s not a whole lot outside the business letters in the manuals themselves. (And the “fluff” pieces in Today’s Secretary.)

    2. I would love to see more of these!

      With respect to your shorthand, the outlines are very clear. At first glance, I saw some minor things, but these don't affect legibility. Another thing to improve is on the use of phrases. For example, "I was", "I believe", "every day" can be written as phrases very easily. "To know" should be "ten blend-o hook." Other things are just stylistic and do not affect legibility. For example, I see that you write consistently over the line of writing instead of on the line. That in itself is not a problem because it's consistent, but you use the whole space (as you should) for words like "violated" and "behind" (which of course need the whole space because of the v and the b). Why not write on the line itself and have that extra space for you to work? Write the n and the m on the line, and start the k, g, t, and d on the line itself.

      Your hooks are great! Those are the worst to make them small and narrow, and you have mastered them. In the word "cloth", the o-hook blends with the right-th. Writing the hook and the th without the blend as you did could mean "of their", but in the word cloth you can still transcribe it correctly.

      All-in-all, pretty good!

    3. I really appreciate the feedback. I will work on phrasing. For some reason I consistently miss the "to know" phrase (also "to me" with the tem blend.) And I had completely forgotten about blending the o-hook with the right-th.

      As far as placement, I guess I'm still a little confused about it. The manual talked about it but I didn't completely grok it. For instance, do I start a "b" right on the bottom line so that it dips down into the space below?

    4. Check here:

      (At the top of each page of this blog, there's a menu item "Common Questions". Some great info there!)

      Most books have review charts with lines at the beginning, end, or in the review chapters. Also hold a ruler against the page to see how things line up.

      From DJS Edition 2, para 95:

      Gregg Shorthand is equally legible whether it is written on ruled or on unruled paper; consequently, you need not worry about the exact placement of your outlines on the printed lines in your notebook. You will be able to read your outlines regardless of their placement on the printed line. The main purpose that the printed lines in your notebook serve is to keep you from wandering uphill and downhill as you write.

      However, so that all outlines may be uniformly placed in the shorthand books from which you study, this general rule has been followed:

      The base of the first consonant of a word is placed on the line of writing. When S comes before a downstroke, however, the downstroke is placed on the line of writing.


      By "placed on", they mean like we do in longhand — for the first consonant. In "name", the M and N cover the line, and the A drops below it.

      If a word becomes very tall (or drops down), just let it. They cheated in the book, and moved words around a bit to avoid collisions. I'm positive I've seen R ignored before a downstroke, but it's not part of the official guideline. Not something to lose sleep over.

      If a suffix or prefix or diacritical goes above or below a word, position the word normally, and position the other bit relative to the word.

    5. I don't have anything to post at the moment, but I have been playing around with placement based on information from the links posted. It's finally clicking with me and some of the statements in the manual are making more sense. I find that it certainly helps with proportions.

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