Descriptive Writing: Tone

Descriptive Writing: Tone

Understanding Tone

  • Tone refers to the attitude or emotional quality of the written work, it gives voice or personality to your writing.
  • Tone is closely linked to the intended audience. You wouldn’t use the same tone when writing a letter to a friend, as you would when writing a formal essay.
  • Carefully consider the tone when planning your writing. Common tones include: formal, informal, serious, light, satirical, sincere, and detached, among others.
  • Remember, the tone must be consistent throughout the piece to avoid reader confusion.

Creating the Right Tone

  • Word choice significantly impacts the tone of your writing. For example, using ‘roared’ instead of ‘said’ injects a tone of aggression or anger.
  • Sentence structure can also contribute to tone. Short, simple sentences may create a tense, urgent tone, while longer, more complex sentences could create a formal or thoughtful tone.
  • Figurative language such as metaphors, similes, and personification can contribute to the tone. For instance, using a simile like ‘as tough as nails’ creates a tone of toughness or resilience.
  • Punctuation use is a great tool for setting tone; exclamation marks can create excitement or urgency, whereas ellipses may create a feeling of suspense or uncertainty.

Influencing Reader Emotion

  • Tone affects how your audience feels when reading your work. It subconsciously influences the reader’s emotional response to the text.
  • Controlling tone allows you to manipulate your reader’s emotions. For example, a light, humorous tone can relax and amuse the reader, while a serious, sombre tone can make them feel sober and reflective.
  • Be cautious of tone shifts. An abrupt change in tone can confuse readers or break their engagement with the story.

Reviewing Your Work

  • During proofreading, check for inconsistencies in tone. Make sure it aligns with your intended purpose, audience, and subject matter.
  • Read your work aloud to really grasp the tone. Sometimes, hearing the words spoken can put the tone in perspective.
  • Seek external feedback to gauge if your intended tone has been effectively communicated. Different perceptions can provide valuable insights.