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Graphology and Fiction

What kind of handwriting do your characters have?

Graphology (commonly known as handwriting analysis) was long ago discredited and labeled a pseudo-science: The only characteristic of a writer that it could forecast with any degree of accuracy was the sex of the person who wrote the sample, although it has been used in some countries as an adjunct to clinically proven assessment tools in the treatment of some psychological disorders.

But that’s no reason why novelists and other writers of fiction can’t play with it! 😉

The forenames listed above are the names given to about three dozen fonts that are available in my computer. They didn’t come with this machine; I’ve noticed that over the years, manufacturers and programmers have become stingy with the fonts they install (they’ve done the same with clip art). These apparently handwritten fonts were included in a very large font library that was included in a computer I’d bought in 1997, and each time I had to replace my hardware, I migrated the fonts along with the rest of my files.

When I was designing a special illustrated edition of Irish Firebrands, I transcribed the epistolary elements that were noted as having been handwritten into different fonts, to see which one seemed to best represent the handwriting of the characters involved. It was an entertaining way to get a different “you are there” feeling for the novel.

If you’d like to do handwriting “analysis” for your characters, but you don’t have this kind of variety in your computer’s font library, you can look online for shareware fonts you can collect. For my current work-in-progress, The Passions of Patriots, I’ve downloaded some traditional German handwriting fonts, to get a better idea of how my German characters might have written, a hundred years ago.

Have fun getting to know your characters better through their handwriting! 😀


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