Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday’s Word: Tone

The word ‘tone’ has many definitions. It can be the pitch of a person’s voice, or the perfect timbre of a musical note.

Did you ever get in trouble from your parents about the tone of your voice? And pretended you had no idea what they were talking about?  It's not like you said anything bad...

Tone is sometimes not even a conscious choice you make. It is an undercurrent that flows beneath the voice. Tone can completely change the meaning of a phrase, or the motives of a character.

An insult can be delivered in a light, teasing tone, and we know the person did not mean it. The same words can be delivered in a cutting, harsh tone, and we know the person really meant it.

In the absence of clear tone in a novel, the reader will supply their own. This is how several people can read the same book but come away with a completely different definition of the story.

Have you ever read something and felt that you knew the author? That is because the tone was so clear. It’s hard not to view them as someone we know. After all, we took a trip with them, whether it was an adventure, a romance, or a horror filled escape from a supernatural being.

Maybe you are the kind of the writer that wants your readers to draw their own conclusions, or maybe you like to make the tone crystal clear. Both ways can create a work of art, as long as you are aware of it.

Work on your voice…but watch your tone.

And that, my friends, is the Word.


  1. Great post!

    "Work on your voice but watch your tone." Good advice.

    I have read books where I end up feeling as if I know the authors. And yes, I've gotten in trouble for my tone. Love the kid's face. So perfect.

  2. Great advice. I always have to watch my tone... of voice. Haha. The tone of my stories... I don't really have trouble with. :) Great post!!

  3. I love that picture, so funny!

    Good point about tone. That's something I'm still working on. I like it when I feel like I know the author just from reading his/her words.

  4. I love walking away from a book with a handle on the author. I hope we have managed this in our book--we shall see.

  5. Love that picture!! ANd yes I've been told my tone is too dark but my voice is great so I know exactely what you speak of. *sigh*


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.