adventures in dysthymia

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Schoolbook

After gushing about the new-ish Sitka as an on-screen typeface, I have to admit that I quit using it for my writing. Oh, I still use it for notes but not for drafts of stories or novels.

Or poetry or songs, for that matter. For those, I had been working with Courier New. I have also dropped that and gone with one monospaced font for all my writing — Century Schoolbook Mono (from BitStream). I find it easier to edit, especially in a large size (I use 12 point normally, 13 for book drafts). The mistakes show up better in a monospaced draft and it is easy enough to read — maybe not quite as easy on the eye as Sitka but more versatile.

I had the same problem with Sitka that I had with my previously favored default typeface, Palatino (or URW Palladio, to be precise), and that is that certain mistakes did not show up well due to the idiosyncrasies of each font. E.g. with the Palatino-style type, quotes were hard to see properly and one could end up missing a backward quotation mark. With Sitka, the capital letters are rather short and mistakes there are easy to overlook. There are other concerns, but those are two of the biggest for those particular typefaces.

As always, I like a monospaced font for writing songs and poetry, and the reason is exactly the same as why they are favored for writing code: the letters and breaks always line up vertically. That makes it easy to set up a metrical form in poetry or bars in music (which are really the same thing). Of course, I do not keep the Century Schoolbook font for the finished products. Poems end up in Palladio for my files, songs in Courier New (because everyone has it and I can send properly aligned lyric sheets to others).

Sitka may be TOO easy to read. One skims over it too quickly. Indeed, it seems a good print typeface as well as an online font, though I would probably use the very similar Charter in a book (or the open source variant, Charis). Schoolbook slows me down but I do find it easier to read than the ubiquitous Courier. Looks nicer, too; indeed, the non-monospaced variant is a perfectly good type for print use. Not a good choice for code, maybe, but I haven’t done much of that in a long time.

Anyway, back to the actual writing of the latest book, now. Ted is about to propose to Michelle!

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