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pongo
Buy this book!


Oct 9, 2006, 9:56 AM

Post #51 of 709 (8169 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post


In Reply To
Has anyone considered using an unobtrusive, twelve point font other than Times New Roman? I've never read a book in Times New Roman. And leading scientonomers agree, everything influences reader perception. I'd like to experiment, pre-application, with a few alternatives. Anyone know any bookish fonts? Something in an early Barthelme, perhaps?

Or do you guys think anything other than Times New Roman is going to send Mary Gaitskill running?


In fact, professional manuscripts are often (formerly always) prepared in a monospaced font, such as Courier or Cincinnatus. As an editor and teacher, I am slightly prejudiced against Times Roman because it is denser and harder to read. One of the Bookman variants is much easier on the eyes.

But, whatever you do, don't get fancy. Your aim in choosing a face is to make it readable, not decorative. You want to highlight your writing, not your design skills.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


__________



Oct 9, 2006, 10:13 AM

Post #52 of 709 (8165 views)
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Re: [pongo] Fonts? Can't Post

Thanks, guys.

Very interesting. I do plan to avoid to getting fancy. Though I've always thought, in publishing at least, there's always a correlation between font and material. I notice, for instance, that funnier, postmodern stuff like Barthelme or David Foster Wallace often appears in a font with rounder, bubblier letters.

I don't like the way Times New Roman reads, either, but no way do I want to stick out...


six five four three two one 0 ->


sibyline


Oct 9, 2006, 10:13 AM

Post #53 of 709 (8163 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post


In Reply To
Has anyone considered using an unobtrusive, twelve point font other than Times New Roman? I've never read a book in Times New Roman. And leading scientonomers agree, everything influences reader perception. I'd like to experiment, pre-application, with a few alternatives. Anyone know any bookish fonts? Something in an early Barthelme, perhaps?

Or do you guys think anything other than Times New Roman is going to send Mary Gaitskill running?


Tricky question. Based on reading for Epoch, I'd say stick with Times unless you know what you're doing. I'm really sensitive to these things being a former graphic designer, so I have a lot of biases. I don't like photocopies or inkjet prints. I like nice paper, but not too nice (anything watermarked screams trying too hard). I think Palatino and Garamond and Bookman are all fine, though it depends on the author. Fonts other than times can look more professional, but also somewhat desperate. It's a total package.

I recently sent out stories to journals, and my formatting choices were extremely generic. I thought about designing letterhead for myself, but decided after a few tries that it has to be exactly right for it to read as professional rather than desperate. I thought about using nice watermarked paper for my cover letter, but ended up using regular nice office paper for similar reasons. There's still something really comforting about receiving a nice, professional manuscript with no bells and whistles, then being wowed by the prose.


sibyline


Oct 9, 2006, 10:18 AM

Post #54 of 709 (8161 views)
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Re: [pongo] Fonts? Can't Post


In Reply To
In fact, professional manuscripts are often (formerly always) prepared in a monospaced font, such as Courier or Cincinnatus.


I'd say about 95-99% of our manuscripts at Epoch come in a non-monospace font, and manuscripts that arrive in Courier are usually from older authors. So I think these days, Courier has become associated with a manuscript that's old-fashioned. I don't like Courier because it kills more trees. If I were running a mag, I would encourage authors to send manuscripts double-sided.


bighark


Oct 9, 2006, 8:09 PM

Post #55 of 709 (8129 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post

Don't be cute with fonts. It's not your job to set type, and doing so before acceptance is presumptuous.

Your manuscript really should use use Courier or Times. If you can 't use Courier or Times, use something that looks a lot like Courier or Times.

If you use anything else, pray that the editor/screener/adcom doesn't notice. Seriously. If you use something like Comic Sans, you may as well have submitted your story on a beach towel instead of paper.


(This post was edited by bighark on Oct 9, 2006, 8:13 PM)


bighark


Oct 9, 2006, 8:11 PM

Post #56 of 709 (8128 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Fonts? Can't Post

I was never a big fan of Courier until I had to scan hundreds of manuscript pages every day. Those old-time editors were on to something.


HopperFu


Oct 9, 2006, 9:57 PM

Post #57 of 709 (8112 views)
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Re: [bighark] Fonts? Can't Post


In Reply To
If you use anything else, pray that the editor/screener/adcom doesn't notice. Seriously. If you use something like Comic Sans, you may as well have submitted your story on a beach towel instead of paper.


I actually like courier, but I think about 90% of the submissions I've read are in Times New Roman. And you better pray hard, as Bighark says, because when you are reading a bunch of submissions in a row, you notice any deviation (including cheating on line spacing). Stand out with your writing.


pongo
Buy this book!


Oct 9, 2006, 10:35 PM

Post #58 of 709 (8107 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Fonts? Can't Post

Incidentally, the old preference for monospaced fonts was not for readability, but for the convenience of the designer. Twelve-point Courier, and most monospaced faces, give you ten characters to the inch, and the designer could run a ruler down the page and know pretty well how much space the text would take in whatever face she was using, based on known correlations.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


wilmabluekitty
Wilma Weant Dague

Oct 9, 2006, 10:38 PM

Post #59 of 709 (8105 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Fonts? Can't Post


In Reply To


Tricky question. Based on reading for Epoch, I'd say stick with Times unless you know what you're doing. I'm really sensitive to these things being a former graphic designer, so I have a lot of biases. I don't like photocopies or inkjet prints. I like nice paper, but not too nice (anything watermarked screams trying too hard). I think Palatino and Garamond and Bookman are all fine, though it depends on the author. Fonts other than times can look more professional, but also somewhat desperate. It's a total package.


Really? Paper matters? Good to hear about Palatino-- it's my default font and I'm always switching to New Times Roman because it's mentioned often as the preferred font.


pongo
Buy this book!


Oct 10, 2006, 11:32 AM

Post #60 of 709 (8088 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] Fonts? Can't Post

Paper doesn't matter that much. Just use a nice 20-24# bright white and you'll be fine. This is the same stuff you steal from the cabinet in the office.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


HopperFu


Oct 10, 2006, 12:50 PM

Post #61 of 709 (8076 views)
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Re: [pongo] Fonts? Can't Post

David is correct. I think Sib was saying that you want to search for that happy median - shy away from both the overly expensive (think resume paper) and the overly cheap. Really cheap paper doesn't read well (it's very thin and not particularly bright). David's reccomendations for weight (20-24 pound) and bright white are are the way to go.


sibyline


Oct 10, 2006, 8:39 PM

Post #62 of 709 (8045 views)
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Re: [wilmabluekitty] Fonts? Can't Post


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Really? Paper matters? Good to hear about Palatino-- it's my default font and I'm always switching to New Times Roman because it's mentioned often as the preferred font.


keep in mind that i'm super-anal when it comes to these things, but i think investing in a high-grade office paper is a good idea. hopperfu's right that it's a happy medium, but i would be more specific. most generic office paper isn't good enough, methinks. bright white 24 lb. paper works well for me. not 20lb., not regular copy paper. anything with a watermark like thesis or resume paper is too fancy.


__________



Oct 10, 2006, 10:52 PM

Post #63 of 709 (8031 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Fonts? Can't Post

Now I picture myself in latex gloves, spreading the manuscript over a scale, blowing off dust with one of those mechanized straws. All great advice.

I thought of another, related, issue, which I hope others might share. In certain stories I have a few small chunks I could set off in non-standard fonts. For example, things within the story that are typed on a label, written by hand, or spray-painted on a wall. In books I see this all the time. But then again, I fear it will look amateurish to the AWP, which seems to fetishize such things. You guys think it would really be so bad if had something like this:

...spray-painted on the wall was:

BLAH BLAH BLAH [typed in an expensive, commercial, spray-paint font]


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by Junior Maas on Oct 10, 2006, 10:53 PM)


rooblue


Oct 10, 2006, 11:34 PM

Post #64 of 709 (8023 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post

Amy,
I've had this problem. One of my stories has a hand-written sign in it. I ended up using courier bold, since the rest of the story was Times New Roman. This wasn't for my grad school app but still I felt funny sending it out. The story hasn't been accepted anyplace yet. I'm sure this font issue is the only thing holding it back! :-o


HopperFu


Oct 11, 2006, 10:26 AM

Post #65 of 709 (8001 views)
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Re: [rooblue] Fonts? Can't Post

Interesting question. Hmm. Do you describe the writing as "spraypainted on the wall" or whatever? I'd suggest maybe Italics of whatever font you are using.
By the way, I'm not basing this suggestion on any sort of professional credentials, but rather that you want your writing to speak for you, not your formating.
And please don't blow dust off the manuscript with a straw. Professors check for any biological matter, and spittle would immediately disqualify you.


Glinda Bamboo


Oct 11, 2006, 10:47 AM

Post #66 of 709 (7997 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post

I'm certainly no authority on this matter, but I would say do not use the fancy spray-paint font. I think that would look very amateurish. As someone else mentioned recently, it's not our job to design the type...whenever a story or novel is accepted for publication, the magazine/publisher worries about that.

Keep it in the same font as everything else. Maybe you could use italics or quotes or something, but I don't think we need to see a spray paint font to understand that those are the words spray painted on the wall. :)


bighark


Oct 11, 2006, 11:25 AM

Post #67 of 709 (7991 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post

If I were your editor, I would caution you against using fonts to do the job of your writing. As the author, it's your job to describe what the handwriting or spraypainting looks like. Using a goofy font cheapens your work--especially if the spraintpainted or handwritten phrase is the only place in your story where you plan to use a stylized font.

I can understand if you want to experiment with typography in order to make a philosophical statement about communication or epistemology or even ontology, but if the only point of using the "expensive, commerical, spray-paint font" is to show how something was spraypainted then I think you would indeed come off as amateurish.


__________



Oct 11, 2006, 11:31 AM

Post #68 of 709 (7990 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Fonts? Can't Post

Ah...that's what I feared.

Now that absolutely everything is available for free over the internet, I get tempted. In one story a character has something magic markered on his hand. And I'm telling you, Pirate Bay has not only given me handwriting fonts in the hundreds, but fonts where each letter comes with multiple, random variances. So it actually looks like handwriting, not a font. Amazing!

I certainly don't mean to contest anyone's advice (I happen to 70% agree)...but, with most things, I doubt my own doubting. Rainbow Stories by Vollmann is one of my favorite collections, and that book, I just now remembered, is littered with wacky fonts that do add something, IMHO. I guess it gets back to that essential problem most beginners struggle with, one of brushing up against 'the rules'. People are discouraged from the get-go from even trying certain things, like the character looking in the mirror, or just waking up, etc. It's easy to read Gardner, my favorite curmudgeonly authority on writing, and forget that someone like Vollmann breaks every one of his rules with such panache you never notice or care. I just hope, whenever I exit academia, I can remember to chunk the training wheels and live confidently by my own rules.

...which I think is related to fonts, somehow.


six five four three two one 0 ->


pongo
Buy this book!


Oct 11, 2006, 12:33 PM

Post #69 of 709 (7976 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post

The fancy typography you see in books is the work, usually, not of the author but of the designer. Unless you're selling your services as a designer -- or applying to schools to get an MFA in design -- leave that work to the experts.

dmh


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


sibyline


Oct 11, 2006, 12:49 PM

Post #70 of 709 (7972 views)
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Re: [Junior Maas] Fonts? Can't Post

The next story I"m workshopping for class (you get a sneak peek hopperfu) has several IM conversations in it, which I set off by one inch off the margin, single-spaced, and put in Arial 10 pt. In my opinion, it still looks professional while communicating that the mode of these sections are distinctly different from the rest of the story. I know this breaks typographic conventions, but I guess I'm a bit of a rebel that way. :) The good part is that epigraphs are often set off in this manner in professional manuscripts, so there's precedent.

If I were you Junior Mass, I would most likely just set the spray painted text in a larger, sans serif font, to demonstrate that it's spray painted and big. It implies that you're not being so unprofessional that you're elbowing in on graphic design territory, while communicating what you want to communicate.


hamholio


Dec 12, 2006, 11:57 PM

Post #71 of 709 (7833 views)
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Re: Writing Sample Can't Post

A more basic question: staples? paper clips? separate the two (or more) stories or bind them together? table of contents?

Perhaps that's getting a bit too anal. . .


(This post was edited by hamholio on Dec 12, 2006, 11:58 PM)


laughingman


Dec 13, 2006, 2:52 AM

Post #72 of 709 (7810 views)
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Re: [hamholio] Writing Sample Can't Post

I'm seconding the staples/ paper clips question. I'm sure they get both. I'm leaning toward staples. Can we get a concensus?



In Reply To
A more basic question: staples? paper clips? separate the two (or more) stories or bind them together? table of contents?

Perhaps that's getting a bit too anal. . .



HopperFu


Dec 13, 2006, 7:11 AM

Post #73 of 709 (7796 views)
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Re: [laughingman] Writing Sample Can't Post

It really doesn't matter that much, but use paper clips.
Either way, your name, title of work, and page number on every page.


Banyon


Dec 13, 2006, 8:08 AM

Post #74 of 709 (7791 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Writing Sample Can't Post

Hm... for poetry people, I assumed we didn't need page numbers. For my poems that exceeded one page I put a little note on top of the second page that said something like "Poem A, Page 2, no stanza break." But if we paperclip our poems together and don't number the manuscript pages, then the poems could get out of order and be read out of order. Which would completely defeat the point of me agonizing over which poems to put first!

I don't know if there's a question in here. Maybe the question is, "How strongly do committees prefer paper clips?"

Next year I'm sure I will laugh at myself for worrying about these things:o)


HopperFu


Dec 13, 2006, 8:11 AM

Post #75 of 709 (7790 views)
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Re: [Banyon] Writing Sample Can't Post

Yeah, if you want them read in a certain order, then page numbers. I mean, page numbers can't hurt. Also, if you have poems that are more than one page and the packet gets shuffled or dropped, it's easier to put them in the right order.
Paper clips are the standard for lit mag submissions, and for the most part, for writing samples, as well. Most people like having the option of putting pages to the side on a thick manuscript, or for poetry, pulling a few poems out to look at more closely.
Though, again, none of these things will affect whether or not you get in....
Still, it's more fun than obsessing about if your writing sample is good enough.

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