This is part five in a five-part series.
The fifth installment in “Getting Your Writing to Flow” (in case you’ve missed them, here are parts one, two, three, and four) focuses on an issue that is at once more global and more local than any of the others we have covered. It’s tone, and it’s at the very heart of your work as a writer and of your writing’s flow. If your tone doesn’t work, your writing won’t work.
Tone is the writer’s emotional attitude toward the topic at hand. (In the case of fiction, it would be the speaker’s attitude, which the writer may or may not personally endorse.)
A writer’s tone is sometimes paralleled with a speaker’s tone of voice. However, a writer’s voice is something slightly different. A writer’s voice is analogous to a personality, which is consistent day-to-day and unique to that person.
I will use blogs to illustrate the difference between voice and tone. Each of your favorite blogs has a distinct voice that unifies all of the posts the blogger has written. Voice is a perspective, a way of looking at the world, and many times a blog is successful because many readers enjoy that writer’s unique take on life. Within a single successful blog, however, posts can have many different tones. Depending on the topic and the writer’s thoughts and feelings about it, the tone could be passionate, content, defiant, pleading, assertive or a thousand others.
Some tones will glue your readers to the page; others will drive them away. So, what do you need to consider to set the perfect tone for your topic? I’m glad you asked.