Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Font Composition!

Slate has polled various authors on what fonts they compose in. Of course, the majority winner was Courier, ye olde typewriter font that is so squat and square on the page.

I can not stand Courier; it pains me to even look at it. If someone emails me a manuscript in Courier the first thing I do is change the font. Otherwise, I just can't read it.

Traditionally, submission guidelines have requested that manuscripts be presented in Courier 12. Courier is a monospace font, which means that each letter is exactly the same size. Editors, supposedly, like monospace fonts because it makes it easier for them calculate the length of a book. Of course, few books are actually printed in Courier, because it's not very aesthetically pleasing.

I write in Times New Roman 11, which I then bump up to 12 before printing and sending. So far no editor has complained. And every time I see something in Courier, I shudder. For some reason, the way in which those blocky letters march across the page makes the words almost impenetrable to me.

But then I'm fussy about fonts. I have not bought books because of the font, or because I didn't like the line-spacing. I've even put books back on the bookstore shelf because I didn't like the paper the book was printed on.


Farah said...

I use Times New Roman 11 for admin, and Arial 11 for non-fiction writing.

Tricia Sullivan's Double Vision was wrecked for me because the conventions of the three fonts she used gave away the plot.

Ysabeau Wilce said...

Now that's annoying. I just bought "Maul." I hope it has no font spoilers! I don't like novels that use more than one font within the text; it ruins the flow for me. Every time I have to shift fonts, its jarring, and not in a good way. Maybe the author wants that jar, but it jars me right out of the book, which I'm guessing would not be the author's intent!

Unknown said...

I use Times Roman 12 for my MSes, and get pissed off when the font alters for pdf versions. Right now I'm reading contest entries and it's amazing how much easier my brain enters a story when my eye is being embraced rather than poked with the rusty fork of Courier. My cousin did her book Goose with alternating fonts to delineate first person POVs. I think she now regrets it. I hope you don't let it stop you from reading it if you ever get the chance.