Monday, June 4, 2012

SERIES - Your First 50 Pages

Part 5 of 8

*First - I would like to apologize for taking so long to get to this next step. I became ill, requiring surgery, and have been recuperating for the past few weeks. Thanks so much.

Setting the Tone

What is meant by tone? It has to do with voice, message, and theme. Mainly, it's the feeling you give the story. The tone may be happy-go-lucky or alarmist, pessimistic or optimistic, funny or sad. Or something else entirely.

It's important to establish whatever tone you decide on within the first 50 pages of your story. You don't want to confuse the reader. Keep with the tone you choose throughout your story. If you choose a tone referencing horror, murder, and the like, please don't turn it into a comedy half way through. The tone you set at the beginning must be the tone you carry throughout the novel.

Tone and Mood - is there a difference?

Tone and mood are not the same. Tone pertains more to the speaker/narrator of the story and how they feel toward the subject, as opposed to what the reader feels. Mood is the general feeling or atmosphere that the writing creates within the reader. Mood is produced most effectively through the use of setting, theme, voice, and tone.

Tone comes from many possible attitudes. It can be happy or sad, formal or informal, playful, serious, or even somber, to name a few. Remember that each story has a theme, at last one, sometimes more. What I mean by theme is, a central question about a topic. How you approach the theme is done through tone.
Authors manage to create the tone of their writing through the use of various tools, some of which are word choice, or the manner in which words are arranged for effect, and certain details that are included or mitted to create vivid appeals to the senses.

The tone of words chosen is crucial toward creating a consistent atmosphere. For example, if your trying to create a frightening scene, the frightening atmosphere can't be filled with jokes. Or maybe you're shooting for a sad scene; words must all be in somber tones and colors. Jump out of the mood even once, and you risk losing the reader forever.

Here are a few resources to help you along your way in setting up tone:

Writing Forward

Elements of Story or Fiction

Elements of Fiction: Style and Tone

Have you been having difficulty setting the tone of your story? What's been the problem? Are you getting the mood you want your reader to be in, but can't seem to set the tone to help them get there? Drop me a comment and let me know what's going on with your writing. I'd love to hear from you.

Until then, all my best for your success,

Dee Ann  :)