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I intend to write an extensive fantasy series. There is a plethora of different languages and cultures in the series, and I've developed language systems and alphabets for some of those cultures, including unique lettering. It is possible that at some point in the series, I would like to include samples of those letters.

What should I do to achieve this? Should I learn a font-creation software and make them myself? Should I hire a professional? Does the publisher take care of the whole thing? What's the best option, in terms of getting it done right (as opposed to just the easiest way to get away with it)?

Note: I do want a custom font, which I can safely and legally use on my own fan-site if I so wished. Not just the letters used in the novels, the whole alphabet.

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  • So not fonts so much as an entirely new language? – user18397 Oct 24 '17 at 5:20
  • I know my comment won't be on point, but just wanted to say tat one of the few books I bought and never got past the first chapter, had pages of dialogue in an original "language" . The story was supposedly very good, but I never got to find out. Still consider it one of the most infuriating and frustrating things I ever tried to read. – shieldedtulip Oct 24 '17 at 10:36
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    Be careful that your languages and fonts don't get in the way of the story. Not many readers will examine words and lettering that they can't understand; most are likely to skip that stuff and look for where the story picks up again. ("Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip." -- Elmore Leonard) – Ken Mohnkern Oct 24 '17 at 13:10
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    Don't worry, I know story comes first. I simply want the ability to use the fonts if the the need should arise. And I will not be writing whole dialogues with them or anything. Think more like LotR, with Gandalf's symbol being a Dwarvish and Elvish rune. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 24 '17 at 15:34
  • @Thomo No... I have the language. What I need is the font. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 24 '17 at 15:36
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Try using a font editor/creator software.

I installed one not too long ago on my own laptop because I wanted a more cursive look to parts of some of my chapters (for when someone is reading or writing a letter kind of thing).

You can create a complete "alphabet" with that, with as many squiggles and funny symbols has you might or might not need.

Font Forge https://fontforge.github.io/en-US/ is a free/open source software. And... there are tutorials for it as well.

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  • What about the legal side of things though? Am I free to use it however I wish? Will the publisher use it at all? – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron Oct 24 '17 at 15:35
  • Font Forge allows you to create your own fonts. You just draw them as you see fit, they are yours, your creation. Wether the publisher uses them, is up to you and the publisher. – shieldedtulip Oct 24 '17 at 15:55
  • Sorry, tablet not cooperating fontforge.github.io/editexample.html – shieldedtulip Oct 24 '17 at 16:01

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