Category Archives: General

On Fonts in ePub

As I began my art career in Layout & Design, I learned to use fonts as a design element in advertisments, business cards, and posters.  I learned that design work takes a particularly good eye for composition, and a love of shapes.

As a writer, I like to use New Times Roman as I pen my novels and short-short stories.  It is easy to read, smallish, and clean.  I try to avoid the overuse of italics and fonts that are scriptlike with lots of flourishes.

When I began formating my novel, Whispering, Idaho, for eBook publication, I researched the web and found Arial suggested as a good font to use for ePub.  I think it looks decent and is easy to read.  The suggestion is to choose a font sans serif (without serifs).  Serifs make the type harder to read.

Upon discussing this with a friend recently, I was informed that she loves Georgia for her ebooks.  She says Arial is boring.  I tried it, but decided to go back to the Arial.  Simplicity is akin to cleanliness and Godliness in my book.  However, as I continue to ask around, I see that font-use is a personal choice…and though there are no hard and fast rules (except from publishers) we want people to be able to read our work.  I’ve heard of people giving up on a book because of the typeface used.

What typeface are you using for your ePublications?  Comment, if you like.  I’d love to hear your opinion.

Cheers,   Nancy Canyon, MFA I’m featured artist for Volume #65 of Bellingham Review.  Here’s the link





Simple Structure for Your NaNoWriMo Novel

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo  this November, here’s a simple structure to help you manage 1666 words per day: write your novel in the three-act play format.

Here’s how: 50,000 words turns into approximately 200 pages…if we divide this by four, we have four 50 page sections.  You could write one section per week.

Imagine in Act 1, you hook the reader, get down the premise of the story, and begin building dramatic conflict.  At the end of Act 1, you have a Big Scene where your character must deal with a crisis of some sort.  The curtain closes.

Act 2 is 100 pages, the character is reeling from an unexpected event.  At mid-point (another 50 pages of writing) you have another Big Scene. The character is forced to take action.  This should be major, forcing the character to deal with life issues, personality issues, a life and death situation, in other words, serious conflict.

Another 50 pages brings us to the end of Act 2 and another Big Scene.  The character has made a decision, hoping for resolution.  Curtain closes.

Act 3, the last 50 pages, brings us up to the end of the book.  The Big Scene at the end of the book should resolve the crisis, unless you’re writing a tragedy.  Then the denouement, the final outcome of the main dramatic complication.  Curtain closes.  The end.

I like this structure, particularly since I write without an outline.  In my daily writes, I write scenes which make up chapters.  The scenes do not have to be in order…they can be ordered later when the rewriting begins.  Each scene you write will trigger another scene.  Oh, this happened, now this must happen.  Or that happened, but what led up to it.  Just remember you must continue to up the stakes for the character.

Novels takes time…but generating with NaNoWriMo, you get the raw material down in one short month, then take your time with revision.  Are you ready?

Nancy Canyon, MFA

Honey Salon Art opening this Friday, 6-9, Art Walk.  Right next to Rocket Donuts on Holly.

Solo show, Honey Salon.  Opening Friday during Artwalk 6-9.  Stop by and say hello!

Cottonwoods, by Nancy Canyon

Develop Your Writing Voice by Embracing Sarcasm

I used to write with a friend who had the most sarcastic voice I’d ever heard.  Instead of finding this distasteful, I loved how irreverent her characters were and admired the conflict she developed in her short stories. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I felt bad about myself when we wrote together, since I realized from listening to her character’s taunts, that I was holding back.

Growing up, I was encouraged to be a good girl, to not do or say anything that would reflect badly on my family.  At the same time, inside my head, I had great comebacks that I didn’t let fly.  I contained my wicked sarcasm in order to preserve my place in the family.

By being herself, my friend helped free a part of myself.  What a relief it was to embrace my sarcasm.  As I practiced saying whatever came to mind, astoundingly, humor developed in my writing.  Be it dark humor…yet humor.

I guess it’s like any gift we possess, if we don’t try, we’ll never know the fullness of our ability. In Wild Mind Writing, I encourage writers to say whatever they want to say on the page.  This means, anything that you wouldn’t want your mother or grandmother to hear you say, you can write in your journal…and read aloud. Once you free every part of yourself (whether you share this writing with the public or not) your writing voice will develop a richer texture.

I’ll leave you with these questions: Where in your life do you hold back?  How do you judge others, because you’ll judge yourself in the same way?  Are you willing to embrace that part of yourself in order to develop your writer’s voice?

Nancy Canyon, MFA

New Class: Wild Mind Writing (based on Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones) begins this Thursday 10/11, 6:30-8:30 at Whatcom Community College.  To sign up, call 383-3200.




RWA meeting tomorrow: not just for romance writers!

Join the local start up chapter of the RWA, tomorrow, Wednesday, August 8th at 6:45 in the Bellingham Yacht Club.

Meet other local writers, get involved in a supportive and resource-rich group.  The Romance Writers of America has always been a group for writers of any genre, and is well known for providing excellent tools for professional development and learning the craft of writing.

Non-members are encouraged to come and check us out. Questions email Kathy.