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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Shannon Ka Yoru, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Practice Makes Perfect? Maybe Not!

A book published in 2008 made the claim that, in order to be great in any field, you needed to put in about 10,000 hours of practice. It applied to musicians and writers and doctors–anyone wanting to get better in their chosen field.

However, in a recent newsletter by Scott Young, he pointed out that the author’s research has been misinterpreted. (The book was Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell.)

Young makes a very good point, one I had suspected for a long time. It isn’t just about putting in the hours working. It is about practicing our craft.

Aren’t They the Same Thing?

Working and practicing are NOT the same thing. That’s why 10,000 hours of writing might turn one writer into a mega seller, and the other writer might still be unknown.

What you do with those 10,000 hours (or however many you spend writing) makes a lot of difference.

Work vs. Practice

What is the difference between work and practice? According to Young,

Many professionals confuse the two, and as a result their skills stagnate even though they’re investing considerable time. 

Elite athletes don’t get better at their sport just by playing a lot of games. They do drills. Drills are highly focused activities designed to rapidly build proficiency in one minor detail of their sport.

Violinists don’t play every song start to finish to practice. Instead they identify the hardest sections and practice them endlessly until they’ve mastered them.

Yet, when we want to be a better programmer, writer or designer, what do we do? We just work. We don’t practice the highly specific, immediate-feedback oriented tasks necessary to cultivate mastery.

The fix is simple: if you want to get better you need to adopt the mentality of an elite athlete or musician and actually practice (as opposed to just work).

Get the Most from Your Writing Time

None of us have much time to waste. We want to make the precious hours we save for writing really count. How do we do that?

First, much of your writing time will be working time (planning and writing rough drafts and revising).

However, you’d be wise, if you want to be published and build an audience and sell lots of books, to set aside a portion (the bigger, the better) of your time for honest-to-goodness practice. Like the pianist and violinist who practice the hard parts over and over, we writers need to do the same thing.

Tasks to Master

We probably all could name several writing areas where we are weak. If we don’t know, we can ask our critique people. These are the areas to practice.

For example, one of my weak areas is writing figurative language. If I think of one original figure of speech per book, I’m doing well. So what’s my plan?

I’m going to take regular time to practice, using Cindy Rogers’ excellent book, Word Magic for Writers, which is chock full of exercises in every chapter. For feedback, I’ll probably ask a writer friend to look at my exercises (a writer who is especially good at figurative language).

Target Your Practice Time

If we spend our writing time doing the same kind of writing in the same kind of way, we can’t expect to improve very quickly. But if our practice time is intentional–if we target specific weak skill areas–we’ll make observable progress.

How about you? Is there one specific area you could study that would make a big difference in your writing? Or two or three areas that could become goals for 2013? Please share!

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2. On the Second Book Funk

by Deren Hansen

I've heard a number of published authors say they had a major crisis of confidence when they started their second book. They're haunted by the fear that they had only the one book in them and will never again be able to produce anything as good.

Why are writers susceptible to such fears?

Putting on my amateur therapist goatee and breaking out the bubble pipe, we have not one but two potential pitfalls awaiting us when we finish a project. The first is psychological and the second structural. They're a nasty pair because they feed off of each other. If you're not careful, you'll find yourself immobilized.

The Psychological Problem

In other professions, one can use a title only after a significant and demonstrable achievement. Lawyers have bar exams. Doctors have medical school, and internships, and residencies. Many other professions can't be practiced without a license. It's natural to assume that a published book is the writer's equivalent of professional certification.

Then there's the arduous process of turning ideas into prose, polishing the manuscript, and persevering through the publishing process, and you have every right to think that you've accomplished something significant. When you've done that, it's natural is to believe that you've learned something and are better at what you do.

The net effect is a tendency to believe that now you're good. You may have given yourself license to suck when you were starting out, but you're beyond that now, right? So you bang out the first few pages of the new project and ... they're not very good. And suddenly you have to question everything you assumed about your new identity.

The psychological trap is believing you've become something different than you were when you started your first project.

The Structural Problem

The more fundamental mistake is to forget the process by which you created your first book--the multiple drafts, the rounds of revisions, the hours spent agonizing over a key word or phrase.

You'll only succeed in depressing yourself if you compare your new project to the book you just finished. A project that's only a month old will always look primitive compared to one you've revised and polished for a year or two.

If you must compare something, compare first drafts. Chances are you'll find that the first draft for your second project is better than your first draft for your first project.

So What Can You Do?

Doctors, who have real credentials, practice medicine. Writers would do well to follow that example: we should see ourselves not as a someone who possesses some expertise but as someone who practices the art of refining words into stories through a patient process.

1 Comments on On the Second Book Funk, last added: 5/23/2012
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3. Whether You’re Warmed Up or Not

 

Today’s entrée is a set of exercises meant to help the writer shift perspective and get those creative muscles flexed and toned.

These small forays into new territory will, hopefully, help you gain in your battle with daily wordsmithing. Are you ready? Here goes.

Circumvent the cliché. While Little Johnny can’t read, does that mean that Little Jill has educational challenges as well? If all of your eggs are in one basket, will they all break when that basket is dropped?

We live with hackneyed and cliché phrases every day. They speak to the simplistic and real metaphors of our lives. That’s the reason they still hang around our necks like a broad-winged bird descended from a pterodactyl.

Take each of the following adages/sayings/clichés and devise three ways of saying the same thing, with the same semantics. Make each new “saying” as fresh as possible.

  1. Rolling stones gather no moss.
  2. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
  3. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

Recast old characters in new roles. Most people can hear a line of dialogue or see one frame of a favorite movie and give you the name of the characters involved. Like favorite books, the stories that flow across a screen at the theaters make a place for themselves in our mental storage lockers, waiting for future review.

The following exercise is meant to help the writer change well-worn paths carved out by characters we know well and as an exploration of possibilities for such characters that wouldn’t otherwise be tackled.

  1. Most adults over the age of 35 will probably remember the character name “Maverick” as Tom Cruise’s character from Top Gun. The exercise is to recast this character as a “Cowboy,” complete with name. If it helps, picture TC when you’re putting together an action scene in the old/new west. Only one scene is necessary to write, but if a full story evolves from this exercise, so much the better.
  2. C. S. Lewis’s character of Lucy in “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” presents us with a sweet child of remarkable resolve and steel spine when faced with adversity. Yet her complex personality allows for uncommon loyalty, self-doubt, and approval-seeking behavior.

Recast Lucy’s character, complete with name, as an adult. Place her in a           romance where finding her soul mate and an unforeseen future is the goal           of the scene. This will b

1 Comments on Whether You’re Warmed Up or Not, last added: 3/15/2012
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4. The Virtuous Psychiatrist: Patient Autonomy

medical-mondays

Jennifer Radden is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Consultant in Medical Ethics at McLean Hospital.  John Z. Sadler is the Daniel W. Foster, M.D. Professor of Medical Ethics and Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Sciences at 9780195389371UT Southwestern.  Together they wrote, The Virtuous Psychiatrist: Character Ethics in Psychiatric Practice, which presents virtue traits as habits, able to be cultivated and enhanced through practice.  The book describes these “virtuous” traits and how they can be habituated in clinical training.  In the excerpt below we learn why these traits are so important through a case-study example that has no obvious answer.

Some of the dilemmas and problems around patient autonomy that are so distinctively psychiatric can be most readily revealed through a case example:

An adult patient with paranoid schizophrenia has discontinued her antipsychotic medication and has threatened her aging parents at knifepoint because” they are the toxin people who want me to be a good girl.”  Her parents obtained a mental illness warrant (court order) for a brief psychiatric evaluation, and you, her long-standing doctor, are familiar with the following clinical pattern.  She will agree to resume taking her medication to stay out of the hospital, but not follow through with this commitment until involuntarily hospitalized and medicated back to her baseline nondelusional state.  The patient’s parents are urging you to again seclude the patient without her consent.  Moreover, the managed care reviewer who would permit reimbursement for care refuses to “certify” (endorse) hospital care because “the patient is willing to take medication as an outpatient.”

This case raises many questions.  Most broadly, is this patient rightly seen as an autonomous person, a rational agent capable of determining her own interests, an informed consumer of medical services, and one able to enter into an agreement about taking medication as an outpatient?  How, more generally, should the parents’ physical safety be balanced against the patient’s individual rights?  Indeed, given the hardships of living with a schizophrenia sufferer, how should the parents’ interests and stake in this decision be ranked against the patient’s own?  Ought the practitioner’s prediction of outcome be honored over the assessment proffered by the managed care reviewer?  How do we regard the professional role conflicts imposed on the psychiatrist, who is caught between the goals of ensuring safety for the parents and the patient, maintaining the critical “alliance” with the patient necessary for any long-term therapeutic success, and using whatever means to reduce her dangerous, delusional thinking?

Some of these dilemmas and difficulties, or closely related ones, may have complements in other specialties of medicine; others have none, or at least very, very few analogies in other medical fields.  An, as this example illustrates, these are quandaries amplified, rather than reduced, by managed care medicine.

The principles governing all biomedical ethics are undeniably useful for the practitioner dealing with cases such as this one. 

0 Comments on The Virtuous Psychiatrist: Patient Autonomy as of 1/1/1900
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5. A Brief Look Again at Cover Letters

The first part of any book proposal (or submission for that matter) is the cover letter.  A query letter is also, in many ways, identical to the cover letter.  Basically, these are incredibly important things to be able to write.  Also, you're going to be writing quite a few of these over your professional career, so you might as well learn how to write them now.

Of course, I talked extensively about cover letters during the picture book submission process back in January.  To review that post where I talk in detail about cover letters (electronic, query, or otherwise), click here.  Today though, we are going to quickly review the parts, and then do a little practice.

Again, the parts of a cover/query letter are:

  1. Introduction
    Where you explain how you know the editor/agent and why you are submitting/querying.
  2. 1-2 paragraph pitch
    Where you sell the book.
  3. Series Pitch
    Where you define and explain the series.
  4. Biography
    Pertinent information about yourself.
  5. Conclusion
    Thanks for allowing to submit/Ask politely to send the manuscript.
Again, for more detailed explanations, go here.

By far, in my opinion, the most important part of the letter is the 1-2 paragraph pitch.  You really have to make the book sound intriguing, yet not give away everything.  You don't want to rid the book of it's suspense.  You need to try to convey the voice of your writing, but still keep everything in a short 1-2 paragraphs.

Since I consider this section so important, I thought that for the rest of today and tomorrow we could practice writing these.  If you haven't already, join the Facebook Buried in the Slush Pile Page.  Click on the discussion link in the left hand box.  I've already started a One Paragraph Summary discussion thread.  To post your own one paragraph summary of the book you're building your book proposal for, click "reply to topic."  Although in the cover letter you can take 1-2 paragraphs, for this exercise, try to limit yourself to only one paragraph. 

After that, look at other people's summaries and offer them feedback.  You can do this by hitting reply just under their paragraph.  And if you don't want to post a paragraph right now, still feel free to offer feedback to others.  I'm sure everyone will appreciate it.

Of course, that being said, let's remember some critique rules while we're at it.  Positive comments are always encouraged, but of course negative comments are necessary for growth.  When posting a negative comment like "This summary doesn't work for me" always follow it with an explanation.  Was the plot arc unclear?  Could you not tell from the paragraph which character was the protagonist and which the antagonist? Things like that.  And at no time is flaming or general "this sucks", "your writing is terrible", "find a new pasttime" allowed.  Those types of comments are absolutely prohibited.  The children's writing community is about fostering new writers and supporting one another.  It is not about bolstering your own ego while tearing someone else's down.  Let's continue that tradition.

In the past I've allowed people to critique one another's work on this blog without incident.  Let's keep in that way.

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6. Meme's Bragging Post

I have six wonderful grandchildren whom I adore. [Let's hear it for grandmas, folks!] Each one has been gifted by God and, I must say, their parents are doing a terrific job of following the Scriptural principle of finding their gifts, their "bent" or "way" as it says in Proverbs 22:6, and cultivating those gifts. "Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart

1 Comments on Meme's Bragging Post, last added: 6/1/2011
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7. My first attempt at a “Chinese” style painting....



My first attempt at a “Chinese” style painting. Actually, I’ll be honest and admit that I pieced this together from my practice paintings. I’ve been teaching myself some Chinese painting techniques from library books (which I can’t read because they are in Chinese). To practice I did a whole sheet of just rocks, just ducks, just trees, etc. I cut these up to put my favorites into my sketchbook, and then I realized that if I arranged and glued them on to another piece of rice paper they go together rather seamlessly. I like this technique until I get the skills to do a whole painting from start to finish. 



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8. Some more practice ducks from my attempts to learn some Chinese...



Some more practice ducks from my attempts to learn some Chinese painting techniques. I like these two guys so I cut them out pasted them in my sketchbook.



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9. Whether You’re Warmed Up or Not

 

Today’s entrée is a set of exercises meant to help the writer shift perspective and get those creative muscles flexed and toned.

These small forays into new territory will, hopefully, help you gain in your battle with daily wordsmithing. Are you ready? Here goes.

Circumvent the cliché. While Little Johnny can’t read, does that mean that Little Jill has educational challenges as well? If all of your eggs are in one basket, will they all break when that basket is dropped?

We live with hackneyed and cliché phrases every day. They speak to the simplistic and real metaphors of our lives. That’s the reason they still hang around our necks like a broad-winged bird descended from a pterodactyl.

Take each of the following adages/sayings/clichés and devise three ways of saying the same thing, with the same semantics. Make each new “saying” as fresh as possible.

  1. Rolling stones gather no moss.
  2. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
  3. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

Recast old characters in new roles. Most people can hear a line of dialogue or see one frame of a favorite movie and give you the name of the characters involved. Like favorite books, the stories that flow across a screen at the theaters make a place for themselves in our mental storage lockers, waiting for future review.

The following exercise is meant to help the writer change well-worn paths carved out by characters we know well and as an exploration of possibilities for such characters that wouldn’t otherwise be tackled.

  1. Most adults over the age of 35 will probably remember the character name “Maverick” as Tom Cruise’s character from Top Gun. The exercise is to recast this character as a “Cowboy,” complete with name. If it helps, picture TC when you’re putting together an action scene in the old/new west. Only one scene is necessary to write, but if a full story evolves from this exercise, so much the better.
  2. C. S. Lewis’s character of Lucy in “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” presents us with a sweet child of remarkable resolve and steel spine when faced with adversity. Yet her complex personality allows for uncommon loyalty, self-doubt, and approval-seeking behavior.

Recast Lucy’s character, complete with name, as an adult. Place her in a           romance where finding her soul mate and an unforeseen future is the goal           of the scene. This will b

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10. We hope you enjoyed Ten Update Friday!


Leila Hakumei

“We did it. Another Ten Update Friday.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“We’re already gearing up for tomorrow’s comic updates.”


Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“There’s a lot going on around here, that’s for sure.”


Leila Hakumei

“Have a good weekend, everyone.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“See you soon!”

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11. Cici introduces the new All About LadyStar Page on Ten Update Friday!


Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
“Hi I’m Cici. We made a new menu and put it on all of our pages even the ones with comics. My part of the menu is a new page that’s all about LadyStar and how we get to be warriors and stuff. Jessie says that if you don’t know very much about our stories and comics you should read that page ’cause it has everything about our books and our site too.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Good job, Cici. The new page has a lot of good links too if you’re new to the site and need to find your way around. Have fun!”

Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
“Yeah!”

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12. Talitha Hayashi has an announcement about the LadyStar Web Site Update Schedule on Ten Update Friday!

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“I have an announcement.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Really? Tellmetellmetellmetellmetellmetellmetellmetellme”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Wow, Hayashi doesn’t make announcements very often.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“So listen up.”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“We’re going to try a new update schedule because we have two comics now. On Monday, we’re going to update the Varcarel Jade with a new page, and on Tuesday, we’re going to publish new chapters from our book series.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Solid.”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“On Wednesdays, we’re going to have Teko’s Magical Treasure of the Week from our Gift Shop and a Gamepowa update with Commander Acey and Z-bot, and on Thursday, a new color page from The Fury of the Venom Legion web comic. Then every Friday is…”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Ten Update Friday.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Booya.”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“And on Saturday we will have previews from the next week’s comic pages.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“That’s a good schedule, Talitha-chan. We should start today.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Stay tuned folks. There’s more on the way on Ten Update Friday!”

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13. Ten Update Friday continues with the LadyStar Chapter of the Week!


free comics to read online free adventure stories about myth and legend powerful magic spells and fantasy crown princess


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Hi everyone! It’s me Jessie! We’re starting a new thing on our site because we like having new stuff. So we’re going to do something called the ‘Chapter of the Week’ from all our best stories. This week is Chapter 15 from The Palace in the Sky which is the second book in our series.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“The chapter is called ‘The Solar System Reconstruction Committee.’ It’s about the time we helped Cici build a new model of the solar system ’cause some mean kids at her school broke the first one.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“And the best part is you can read it for free just like all our books! We’re gonna have a new chapter every week, so be sure to check back soon for more stories!”

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14. Ten Update Friday Astronomy Update

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Ever heard of Pluto?”

Irina Dobreczowski
“Yes, it is planet.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“BOOYA! MEGA-SHOUT TO THE OBSERVATORY!!”

Irina Dobreczowski
“Errrr….”

Daphne Benning
“Why do you guys get so worked up about Pluto?”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Well see, Hayashi is super into planets and telescopes and stuff and when they said Pluto wasn’t a planet she got mad so Yorozu decided to try and cheer her up and it’s been a running joke ever since.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Yeah and now it’s a whole category on our site.”

Tara Blaylock
“You made a Pluto category?”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Around here, it’s a planet, so it gets its own category. The Professor will tell you all about it. She knows like the whole history of how it was discovered and everything.”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“Yeah, it’s a planet.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“See?”

Tara Blaylock
“You guys are crazy.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“We know.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Hehehehe….”

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15. Ten Update Friday Continues with a Bonus Kitteh!

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Hayashi humor, am I right?”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
*giggle*

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Winner.”

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16. Ten Update Friday Continues! LadyStar Video Alert: The EEb Contrabass Saxophone

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“No way. That is not a real saxophone.”


Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“Check it out! That’s a contra-bass! There’s only like ten of them in the whole world or something.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Where’s Goofy? She’s the saxophone expert.”


Leila Hakumei

“She ran off with that ring, I don’t know where she went though.”

Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
“I’ll go find her!”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“That thing is seriously frightening.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“That guy can play, though. That’s the Aadams family theme from television.”

Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
“I found Jessie!”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Hiii everybody oooh looky a contra-bass saxophone. Super cool!”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Okay what’s the deal with this thing?”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Well, there’s a whole bunch of saxophones. I play soprano and alto. Those are the highest pitched ones. Soprano is B-flat a major second below concert pitch. Alto is E-flat a major sixth below concert pitch.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“But this one is double E-flat.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Yeah, it’s two octaves lower than my alto. You transpose music for it up two octaves and a major sixth.”


Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“That’s all pedal range stuff about an octave or more below the bass clef.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“How do you know all that?”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“It’s music! It’s easy! There’s four E-flat saxophones and three B-flat. Sopranino, Alto, Baritone and Contra-bass are the E-flat ones and soprano, tenor and bass are the B-flat ones. I played a bass sax one time at the music shop and it had an ‘A’ key so I could make it sound like a big truck horn!”

Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
*giggle* “Jessie’s funny.”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“I wish she was that good at her other classes.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Well there you have it, folks. The giant saxophone attack from the land of Goofy. We out.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Ja!”

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17. New Ajan Warrior of the Sunrise Design

beautiful flowers beauty best webcomic color comics dragons enchanted jewelry fantasy adventure free manga girls adventure stories magic spells myths legends fables best friend


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“yeep!”


Leila Hakumei

“Something good is about to happen to the Warrior of the Sunrise page.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“No kidding. Wow.”

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18. LadyStar Fury of the Venom Legion New Color Webcomic Update! Page Three!

beautiful flowers beauty best webcomic color comics dragons enchanted jewelry fantasy adventure free manga girls adventure stories magic spells myths legends fables best friend


Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“Okay, now I’m starting to wonder who he is.”

Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
“What does exsamency mean?”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
“‘Excellency,’ Cici. It’s a way of addressing nobility.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“She’s a noble?”


Leila Hakumei

Page three is up. Fury of the Venom Legion updates every Thursday with a brand new color page.”

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19. Sort of Life-ish Drawing



















These are sketches from a little over a week ago, drawn from a children's clothing catalog. (Though two of the kids are from my head... can you tell which?)

Someone on a list I follow suggested drawing from catalogs when you don't have access to live models. A good idea! Every little bit of practice helps.

I found pencil easier to work with for these. Sometimes the kid's faces look like aliens, after inking. I'll have to work on that!

4 Comments on Sort of Life-ish Drawing, last added: 4/6/2009
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20. German Lesson Two: Deutsch Lektion Zwei

In the first lesson we covered how to say “Hello, how are you?” and “What is your name?” in German. In this lesson we will look at possible answers to general questions. Phrases in brackets are the pronunciation of the adjacent word. NOTE: In German you may come across an awkward character (ß) it may look like the letter B but actually represents a double s. But this character is now only used in special circumstances. For the sake of this lesson we will use ss instead of ß so you don’t get confused.

The most simple of answers are “Yes” and “No”. Which in German are “Ja” (Ya) and “Nein” (nine).

Out loud or in your head say “Yes” and then “Ja”. Repeat this three times. Do the same with “No” and “Nein”.

If your not sure how to answer something I suggest three phrases. “Maybe” - “Vielleicht” (vee-liked), “I don’t know.” - “Ich weiss nicht.” (Ick vise nickt) or “I don’t understand.” - “Ich vestehe nicht.” (Ick ver-shter-hir nickt). Now these are slightly harder phrases to learn if you are not yet familiar with German. Start by revising “Maybe” and “Vielleicht” over in your head.

It should become clear by looking at the other two phrases that “Ich” means “I”. Also you might have been able to tell that “nicht” is “not”. We have “I do not know.” and “I do not understand”. In German, however, they literally say “I know not.” or “I understand not.”. Once you know “Ich” and “nicht” these phrases should become easier to learn.

All you have to learn now is “weiss” and “vestehe”. “Weiss” meaning “know” and “vestehe” meaning “understand”. Write these words down if this is hard to memorise and use this to revise at various points during the day.

Remember to try and practice these phrases with a partner for more practical learning. Thank-you for reading my article and hopefully you can catch the next lesson.

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21. The Peak-Performance Myth

Gerald Klickstein is Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and 9780195343137a renowned classical guitarist. His book, The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness, is a roadmap to artistic excellence which provides an inclusive system for all instrumentalists and vocalists to advance their musical abilities and succeed as performing artists.

When I play, I make love – it is the same thing.
-Arthur Rubinstein, pianist

If you’ve read much about performing, then you’ve probably run into the terms “peak performance,” “flow,” and “being in the zone.” Those synonymous labels refer to a zone of optimal functioning, an ideal inner state in which a performer achieves maximum fluency with minimum effort. When you’re having a peak experience with your music, your creativity seems boundless, and, technically speaking, you feel as though you can’t miss.

Discussions of peak performance now appear widely, and all of the talk has spawned a problematic myth. The premise of the myth is that all high-level performances are peak performances and that, therefore, unless a musician attains a peak inner state on stage, the performance falls short. Nothing could be further from reality.

Musicians deliver inspired performances when they’re in all sorts of inner states. Sometimes things flow easily, sometimes they don’t, and a performer works harder to execute with artistry and precision. Being in the zone is pleasant, but it’s beside the point. Art is the point, emotion-laden, penetrating art, irrespective of whether the musician is in the zone.

To put it another way, when you perform, the music and the audience are what count. Whether you’re cruising effortlessly or working through every phrase isn’t relevant to the music’s impact or the audience’s experience. An analogous example would be the athlete who scores a winning goal. The team is victorious, and no one cares whether the scorer was in the zone or whether she wrestled with a throbbing headache and a loosely tied shoe. Correspondingly, when an audience is transported by beautifully presented music, it’s unimportant whether the musician performed with ease or had to content with distracting thoughts and a stubborn itch. Of course, every performer wants to be as free as possible on stage. But if you can’t perform well unless you’re in a peak state, then you can’t function as a professional musician.

To reach professional standards in your music making, you have to be able to prepare such that you don’t require ideal circumstances to play or sing expertly. You need the flexibility to adapt to varied internal and external situations and then perform without a fuss. The musicians who lack preparatory skills fall apart when things aren’t just so. After going bust on stage, they often claim that in an earlier practice session they were in the zone and performed flawlessly. Actually, their fragile learning creates only an illusion of control. Because of their belief in the peak-performance myth, however, rather than improving their preparation skills, such musicians look for extraneous ways to induce a zone-like sate in which their flimsy foundations might somehow hold up.

To counter the peak-performance myth, I propose the thorough-preparation principle: When you prepare thoroughly, you don’t need to be in the zone to excel in performance, yet your security provides you with the most direct route into the zone (not that being in the zone matters). For example, if you’re a thoroughly prepared string player performing in a cold church and your fingers feels tiff, you don’t despair. You breathe and lead yourself through the music. Your fingers may by icy, but your spirit catches fire, and the music soars. Were you in the zone? Nobody cares, including you.

The peak-performance myth infects countless budding artists with a self-defeating attitude toward public performance. First, musicians may wrongly believe that getting into the zone is essential to performing. Second, instead of celebrating concerts as unique events, they rate them as peak or not peak, and by default, as either acceptable or unacceptable. It’s perfectionism by another name.

To make the most of a performance, the key is to be open to your experience and to discover new things in both the music and yourself. Author Jack Kornfield wrote, “This capacity to be open to the new in each moment without seeking a false sense of security is the true source of strength and freedom in life.” It’s also the true source of artistry on stage.

That brings me back to the quotation that begins this section. For Arthur Rubinstein, performing and lovemaking were of the same stuff. What did he mean by that? For one thing, I think he was conveying the sense of immersion that an artistic performer enjoys on stage. That is, when you hold someone closely, you don’t judge; you hug and let your emotions take over. As you perform, adopt an equally accepting attitude. Prepare thoroughly, and then embrace the music, audience, and performance situation, whatever they bring. Your listeners will thank you for it.

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22. Fury of the Venom Legion Color Update! Page Two!

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Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“I wonder who she is…”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“She looks really sad.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“I’ll bet you anything that’s that Vicereine person from those chapters in Miss Shannon’s book. She’s like scary powerful.”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“I hope we don’t have to fight her.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
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Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“Well, let’s at least find out what’s going on first. She might not be trying to destroy our treasures like that Cryptic was.”


Leila Hakumei

Fury of the Venom Legion updates every Thursday with a brand new color page.”

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23. Ten Update Friday Continues with All-New LadyStar Concept Illustrations!

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Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
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Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“She gots a new warrior page too. It’s super cool!”

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Leila Hakumei

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Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
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Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
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Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

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Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
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Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Is it for meeeeeee?!?!?!?!”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“Oh no.”


Leila Hakumei

“Heh.”

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24. Ten Update Friday kicks off with teh kittehs!

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“HA! Winner.”

Talitha Hayashi a shy and brilliantly intelligent girl
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Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
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Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“Can never have too many.”

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25. It’s Friday!


Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“It’s Friday, and you know what that means.”

Ranko Yorozu an athletic and strong girl
“It’s not Saturday?”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“heheeee….”


Alanna Kawa a loyal and compassionate girl

“Very funny.”

Shannon Ka Yoru an artistic and thoughtful girl
“It’s TUF day.”

Cecilia Daichi a happy and brave girl
“Ten Update Friday!”


Jessica Hoshi a cheerful and optimistic girl

“Yay! Have fun minna!”

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