A short while ago, I mentioned I had begun writing on my new novel project (tentatively entitled Surgeburnt), and a crucial part of that process was choosing a font.
I was speaking somewhat tongue in cheek, but not entirely. Whenever I start a new piece, I do spend a few minutes fiddling around with fonts until I hit one that seems right. Some fonts just seem more sterile, more elegant, more humorous. Now, I'm staying mostly with the mainstream fonts - Times New Roman, Arial, Trebuchet MS, Book Antiqua - though for a while, when I was going through a phase of letter stories, I favored Monotype Corsiva, which looks like handwriting while still being easy to read.
I don't have any kind of codified system - this type of story should be written with this font, contemporary should always be this, etc. It's not an organized process, but rather a feeling, and here comes the real reason for it ... for me, the visual change on the screen serves as a subliminal key for the mindset of that story. I'm a kinesthetic person, so it's all about feel. A page in one font looks subtly different than the same page in another. Rather than being a conscious flag, it becomes a subconscious reminder of where I am, fictionally.
(Of course, it should be noted that translating to standard manuscript format is part of my pre-submissions process, but I cannot write in it. I loathe Courier. It just looks thin. I can't concentrate on text written in Courier. I can't written in double spaced lines, either: there's too much space in the middle of thoughts!)
As far as Surgeburnt is concerned, I had to choose this font. Come on, it's called Centaur. Centaur. It would be a crime not to.