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  1. I really enjoyed this story. You have great taste in reading material.

    I was able to read at least half the unfamiliar words, if we ignore proper nouns. These are the ones I had difficulty with and looked up the story online too soon. I'd appreciate your comments on my suggestions to make things more legible. They might actually make things worse!

    A list of unfamiliar words would help. If I find the key online, it's too easy to look up words I should be able to read without help, and to read ahead.

    Quarters. I think the W underline would help.

    Midst. Left-S-T often looks like O. Is there much risk if I always use right-S before T?

    I've gotten used to the way you start TH, TN, TM by going to the left. Sometimes THR looks like ALL, but it's always clear in context.

    Norway. The W-underline looked like disjoined T.

    Neighborhood. The disjoined D looked like it was a word on the next one. "Neighbor boys" worked and the next sentence didn't make sense.

    And I, aunt, darkly, emminently, less and less. I struggled with all of them. I wasn't familiar with the phrases. RK in dark didn't have much curve. I gave up too soon for aunt. Emminently is an uncommon word. 

    I'm not saying you did them wrong!! I need to practice them (aka read more shorthand) and/or not phrase them out in my own writing.

    I'm going to experiment with your way of doing RD & lLD. I curl the end of the line, rather than lifting it, out of fear that it will look too much like ND, but I can read your writing just fine.

    Thanks again for doing this. I'm getting much better at reading and making sense of it on the first pass.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I made some corrections to the plates for clarity. Realize also that books concentrate on Dear Mr. Brown letters with familiar business vocabulary, and the vocabulary in this story is much more varied. Selections such as these challenge the reader with new words, and it is one of the reasons I choose them.

      I don't curl the end of the rd or the ld for two reasons: (1) the original instruction is not to curl, but to raise the end of the stroke, and (2) if you curl, you will have difficulty connecting the following stroke in words like "elder", "boldness", "wildlife", etc.

      rk is written very shallowly, with a somewhat vertical beginning and ending, so that you cannot confuse it with o-hook-k (o-k) or r-oo hook (r-u).

      Starting the left th and the ten and tem blends slightly to the left has the advantage that you can really curve the stroke and take advantage of the space that you have. Plus you can then write "then" and "them" much easier if you do that. It is a technique that Mrs. Richmond used sometimes to make strokes distinct too. See this example (from the first edition of Gregg Speed Building):

      1. The vocabulary reminds me of test my husband took in 1987 for a job application. It was a standardized vocabulary test from 1960. He enjoys classic authors such as Lovecraft and Burroughs, so aced the test.

        There's a lot of curve in those examples. It's reassuring that I don't have to match Radar's shapes to keep it readable.

        That will also help with THE/THEN. I worry about those words, but they're different parts of speech so unlikely to be confused, at least in formal writing.

        I also see you go down and left for R and L. I'm always afraid it will look like OR and OL, especially after T or D, but, again, I can read it when you do it, so I'm probably worrying too much. I'm going to try relaxing about the R and L in isolation and increasing the curve of the O.

        At least two advanced teacher's manuals say that focusing on precise penmanship can increase tension and reduce speed. It's a tricky balance between relaxed writing and unambiguous outlines.

        1. "Precise penmanship can increase tension and reduce speed": that's true when taking dictation.  That doesn't mean that penmanship doesn't need to be practiced. See my answer about two kinds of shorthand drills here.

          1. True, it's a balance. If your default penmanship is good, there's more safety margin. I get frustrated when I write the same outline multiple times and it looks different every time. I don't have the patience to slow down enough to really train my muscles, with penmanship or with music, and it's getting worse now that most of my day is with keyboard and mouse.

            Must get summer backlog of email and accounting done so I can do more shorthand! (Less time online might also help, but I count this board as productive procrastination.)

      2. The shallowness RK blend makes sense when you describe the problems with making it deeper. It was clearly bent, but I gave up too soon due to lack of confidence that I identified the letters correctly. More reading will help, and less refering to the key at the least bit of difficulty.

      1. Still in Simplified functional edition 2, just a few lessons from finishing the theory. I've read and written all the theory once, nut not at speed. The last few chapters are mostly place names, which I'll rarely use. It's a busy few weeks for me, doing all the things I put off over the summer.

        The regular reading practice here helps me practice between sprints.

        Dictation is on my shelf. Does Dictation include a lot more to memorize? I want to stick to the main manual rather than use advanced features in my own notes, then not use them enough to remember how to read them.

        1. The dictation books reinforce the principles and present more reading and writing material with additional vocabulary. They are very helpful. No new theory is added.

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