Saturday, May 26, 2007

Favorite Fonts

I've been a Garamond guy since I first started using a PC. It is quiet, small, and understated--sort of how I like my fiction to be. It makes less demands of the reader than, say, Times New Roman, which sort of screams 'Do you hear what I'm saying?'

I am surprised, though, by the authors in this article who prefer to work with Courier. Sure, some of it comes from a nostalgia for the click-smack sounds of an old typewriter. but they also point to its temporary look. Courier does not look like something you'd read in a book and therefore looks less fixed. This should make it ideal for drafts.

I have some nostalgia for typewriters too. Somewhere there is a picture of me at age 5 or 6 with my brand new typewriter delivered by Santa. He even typed me a letter that still sat in it. That probably went a long way towards instilling this need to write, to see words of my own creation on the page.

When I finished my first book-length manuscript (a god-awful thing I'm sure it was), written out long hand, that second draft was completed on an electric typewriter. Those were the starving artist days. I'm sure the heat had been turned off and I was keeping warm with the assistance of discount whiskey while blasting away at that machine.

And then I moved on to one of those word-processors, a stand-alone unit that worked in ASCII that was really more frustrating than anything. And when it printed it was a really painful sound, so mechanical the sound of each letter smacking the paper at regular intervals.

Then I moved on to the PC and I know we should all be grateful for how they have eased the revision process, but I still cannot compose--or do not like to compose--on the computer. I need that slow pace of the pen scratching on paper. Though, when I do type that second draft into the computer, I'll have to consider using Courier.

It would make my manuscript much longer, I suppose.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of obnoxious stand-alone word processors - I always like to tell the story of when I was in college and used my Smith-Corona to bang out a 60 page paper, due the next day, working through the night and then lugging that beast down to the dorm lobby to print it, one staccato page at a time, so as not to wake up my entire floor - good times (?)