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May 30, 2007

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Real Writers Use Courier 12

Slate asks a bunch of writers to describe the fonts they use to compose new drafts. An astonishing number love Courier! Ack!

Here’s one of my favorite rationales, though:

I like Courier because it seems provisional — I can still change my mind — whereas Times New Roman and its analogues look like book faces, meaning that they feel nailed down and immovable. I also like the fact that in Courier each letter is accorded the exact same amount of space, which I think is only fair to the i and the l.

I have no special font preference but I do tend to draft things in 14-point instead of 12-. That way I can lean back a bit further… judge a bit deeper… also, it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing more.

How about you, Snarkmatrix?

Posted May 30, 2007 at 11:09 | Comments (13) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Briefly Noted


When I first started using a computer, I used Courier -- I'm probably the youngest person in the United States who spent most of their life working on a typewriter.

But now, it's

1) Garamond - pretty, and in 12 it's small and in 13 it's big, both of which come in handy
2) Times New Roman (it's default, and I'm lazy)
or lately 3) Optima Regular 18 point, which is what I use in Scrivener Gold.

Whoah! Scrivener! What does it do? (I mean obviously I can read the 'about' page. Maybe I should ask: How/why do YOU use it, Tim?)

Garamond, all the way. Especially Garamond Italic, which you know. My standard Web sans serif is Lucida Sans Unicode, which you probably also know. Gotham, the logo font, is ubiquitous. I've also got a crush on the free font Blackjack. Favorite fonts list on

I believe that the canny reader already knows my preferences.

Wordwright, you beat me to the Slate link! Had I known I would have referenced.

I use Scrivener to store and arrange snippets of research for my dissertation, so I can quickly browse through notes, etc. It's really handy to arrange a lot of little files at once, put each in multiple folders, but still have it available as one big project.

I'm hoping it will make the research-to-chapter process easier, too... although there doesn't actually seem to be a technical solution to that particular spiritual problem.

I, like Tim, am a user of Scrivener Gold. I don't use it for standard word processing (for that is my software), but I do use it for all of my playwriting projects.

My favorite features of the moment: 1) The cork board ("Hmm... maybe Act II scene 4 should really be Act I scene 3. Drag, drop, and done.") 2) The ability to store all research within the document in an elegant way. I'm traveling around so much these days that it would be nigh impossible to take the research for every writing project with me. And Scrivener saves me from both the physical paper and having the electronic documents scattered in various directories across my hard drive.

So I use Times New Roman (generally 11 pt.) for Open Office documents and 12 pt. Courier for scripts in Scrivener.

Always Verdana. Always 14.

It's a screen font, which is where I mostly read and write. It's described by Wikipedia as "a humanist sans-serif typeface." How can you resist that?

See, I associate Courier with the screenplays I see people writing in coffee shops around here. And because I tend to look upon anything that smacks of "the industry" with disdain (and because of a former "roommate" who neither paid rent nor had a job spent most of his time working on his screenplay), Courier and "serious writer" just do not go together in my brain.

Posted by: Laura on May 31, 2007 at 03:25 AM

I do have to admit, I look at Garamond, and it does seem very Tim. Almost like handwriting.

Late to the party, and behind the times, but generally Garamond. When I'm fidgety, and if I have it, Bembo or--wait for it--Caslon or Palatino. 14 point, sometimes bigger.

I use NeoOffice, a nice Aqua port of OpenOffice for the Mac, for looking at .doc documents, word processing, etc. And I kinda like TextEdit, too.

On my increasingly-lonely PC, I use MS Office. What can I say, it came with it.

My actual handwriting looks like Copperplate, Bold, 24 point. I don't fuck around.

Hmm, a couple of OpenOffice users here. I wonder if it's just a nerd thing, or if it's got broader adoption than is generally realized? 'Cause I use it, too! And love it, actually. I think it works beautifully.

It's not your 'handwriting,' Tim, if you cause the letters to appear in fire on a page by force of mind alone.

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