Using different fonts

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Using different fonts

Post by klbritt » September 19th, 2012, 7:01 pm

In my current WIP, there are several letters that are exchanged between the MC and other characters. In current published YA books I've read, I see they are printed with fonts that tend to look handwritten. When writing my MS, is it okay to change fonts for the letters or is it best to keep the whole MS in Times New Roman and let agents/publishers decide to change the font?

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Doug Pardee
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Re: Using different fonts

Post by Doug Pardee » September 19th, 2012, 7:43 pm

Here's a long answer to the question (it depends on a bunch of things):

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Re: Using different fonts

Post by paravil » September 20th, 2012, 10:50 am

The goal of manuscript formatting is clarity and ease of use. I don't think there's any sense tinkering with fonts when it's all going to be changed when the book is printed. Italics (or underlining, depending on which you're using) the sections in question should suffice.

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Re: Using different fonts

Post by polymath » September 20th, 2012, 5:28 pm

Manuscript formatting in plain wrapper is a best practice. Publication format is a publisher's design discretion. The standard manuscript format for letters is block indent. A publisher might consult with a writer about the context and texture of letters and other epistolary passages to determine if a cursive or italic typeface font is meant to signal a handwritten letter, as a personal letter should when following properly gallant etiquette and manners, or if the letter is impersonal correspondence, if it might be done in a roman sans serif or alternate typeface to the book's body typeface. Block indent simulated below.

  Mary Does do-see-dohs all the live long day, waiting for a letter from her true love interest, dancing a lambada on the front lawn. The mail carrier comes at five o'clock. A letter from Hamilton arrives Monday.

    Dearest Mary,

      I await the summer corn waving tassles the color of your hair,
    and the fall for the colors of your blushing cheeks, the winter
    for when we will at last come together again. I remain, yours,

    With all my love,

  The letter gave her hope the killed in action telegram had been in error. That he was alive on the Tandolin Front. She would hold him living in her heart until she felt his cold, dead hands, the warrior home from the war carried on his shield.
Spread the love of written word.

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Using different fonts

Post by Sommer Leigh » September 21st, 2012, 12:54 pm

I think you can do what you want to do, because they'll change it to suit themselves anyway. But if you plan to self-publish it at all, fonts get tricky and not all are supported.

If you choose to pick a different font, keep two things in mind:

1. Make it legible. I mean, really, really legible.
2. As you will be sending a word document to an agent, if you send a font that the person receiving the document does not have, word will substitute the font with something else and you'll have no control over how bad/good it looks. If you really want to change the font, make sure it is one that comes preloaded on all Microsoft Office installs. To be on the safe side, just change the color or italicize those sections.
May the word counts be ever in your favor.
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Re: Using different fonts

Post by Shipple » September 28th, 2012, 11:13 am

Not sure it will help, but I have a few letters that are received in my book. What I did to differentiate from the rest of the book was I put the body of the letter in italics.

I'm not sure that's the right thing to do, but it leaves the manuscript in the same, easy to read font and still makes the letter look like a different part of the book.
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