How Tone Improves Your Writing

Hi lads and lassies! Today I'm doing more of a writing advice post because I feel like I have a lot to say about writing sometimes!

So let's just get into it! What is tone and why is it important for your writing??

Tone and voice are very much intertwined, but the more I try to figure them out, the more confused I am. So let's start from the very basics, because although tone is a very simple thing, it can be complicated. Because there are no real rules.

Tone is essentially the 'aesthetic' of the language you use in your story. But it's what the world and the characters feel like, not what they look like. Tone is created by a consistent choice of words that in turn create a clear image in the reader's mind about how things feel like in your storyworld. It's the general mood of the story.

For example, it isn't usually important for the reader to know the floor plan of your character's house. Unless the character is very analytical, emotionally distant and fact-focused. Then it makes sense.

The words and specific details you choose to describe the house builds the tone of your story. It's all about the mood! And this house example shows that tone ties in very tightly with the POV of your character and how they view the world.

Towards the Highlands! In Scotland!
Tone is like a pair of tinted glasses on a person, while voice is the person's thoughts describing what they see.

This means you can change the attitude (glasses!) of the POV character. But changing personality (thoughts!) is difficult. That's why tonal changes through the plot can be done, but changing the voice completely is disorienting. Attitude = tone. Personality = voice.

Get it?

Tone is basically an overall feeling. Just remember that.

That same feeling/mood should be SO consistent throughout your story that if you open up any page, the tone is immediately apparent from that page. Rules are made to be broken though! Like I said, tone is complicated!

Having some guide words as you write can be helpful.

For example, the tone of my story is grimy, tragic, nostalgic and has a sense of "us against the world". I try to achieve this mood on every page more or less.

But tone is a second draft thing. Don't worry about it if you're writing a first draft! But it's good to have a think about. What's the tone of your story? 🌆🖤

I really miss Scotland.

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