Don’t Be Tone Deaf

For years I struggled with the concepts of tone and voice in a story. I didn’t understand the difference. Writing instructors have explained it; I’ve read about it; I’ve talked about it with other writers. But until I read the recent blog post, “Watch Your Tone,” from C. S. Lakin, I didn’t really get it. Now I do.

Here’s an excerpt:

Think of tone as your (the author’s) overall opinion or feeling about your story. Maybe this is confusing, but when you think of the story you are writing, what emotional attitudes come into play? Sarcasm, humor, cynicism, anger, jubilation? If you’re telling a story about oppression and cruelty, is it because you feel passionately about this topic and want people to be moved to take a particular stand? Of course, this doesn’t mean your tone should be inciting a riot. What it does mean is your writing style will convey this feeling you have.

I recommend reading the rest of this post if, like me, the distinction between tone and voice has been lost on you.

Photo: Elvert Barnes / Flickr Creative Commons

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