Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Font of wisdom

My writing buddy Caroline Leavitt, that is! She suggested that while I'm revising my current WIP, I print it out using a different font. No matter how familiar I am with my own work, she told me, it would look different this way – and I'd be able to catch more things to change. Usually, I print everything out in Times, a classic font that I love. But this time, following her advice, I printed out the first 60 pages in Courier, which looks a little like an old-fashioned typewriter. I wasn't sure her system would work for me, but I figured, well, I can try 60 pages this way. That's not that much paper...

But much to my surprise, she's right! I'm catching everything from dull sentences (well, I hope I'd catch those anyway) to repeated words, bad punctuation, you name it. I'm printing out the rest of the manuscript in Courier right now, and when I read it through again I'll try yet another (Helvetica perhaps? Arial? Or elegant-looking Copperplate?). In retrospect, I can't see how I ever re-read my manuscripts before, and I'm definitely incorporating this smart tip into my UCLA writing class.

Anyone else have any tips to share? Any favorite fonts?

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