Writing Tone by Natalie

I love reading our Creative Writers’ stories, prompts, and all of the above. However, there is a rather large part to writing that I tend to see any amateur writer overlooking from time to time. We use this concept when we speak or even write official papers; it is something we know and understand without thinking. That important factor is called “tone.” If you look at this word on the surface or try to conceptualize it at first glance, it can be a very abstract idea to you.

What is tone, exactly? Tone is the type of writing and vocabulary a writer may use to portray any sort of mood, atmosphere or emotion to the reader. When you write with a specific tone in mind, it is important to look closely at the type of words and context you’re using to give the reader the experience you want to give them. On top of general mood and atmospheric types of “tone,” there are formal and informal ways of writing those as well.

I have a silly but obvious example here. “I know you told me about that ache you had yesterday and my mom told me it was probably just a cold. Do you feel anything today?” In this sentence you can clearly feel the concern and inquisitive interest of our character. It is informal as if he/she was speaking to a friend. Now, watch as I change the sentence around a little with the same idea in mind: “Yesterday you informed me that you were experiencing an ache in your abdominal area. I conversed with the doctor and he has confirmed with me that you contracted a common cold. How are your symptoms at the moment?” The same sense of concern and careful speaking is easily detected in this sentence, but with a slightly different mood. Did you feel it? The person is more official and lacking significant emotion. I also changed the atmosphere of the scene with a few vocabulary edits.

I hope the example above was helpful to you to see what tone looks like in side-by-side comparison. It’s really a simple concept if you get enough practice pointing it out for yourself. If you need any other help with this topic, there are tons of super helpful articles online to improve this specific writing skill. I can’t wait to read all the wonderful atmospheres you all create in the future!


Posted on May 25, 2016, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Writing Tone by Natalie.

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