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How To Establish Tone When Writing

Updated on May 18, 2016

FIRST A DEFINITION

My father would take me to the playground, and put me on mood swings.

Jay London

If I wanted a synonym for “tone” I could choose from mood, style, voice, cadence and even inflection. They are all lovely little words and worthy of applause in their own right, but they are terribly lacking for the purpose of this article. No, I think “tone” deserves so much more.

Tone refers to a writer’s attitude about his subject. Is the writer in a light mood? Is he serious or reflective or annoyed? Is he giddy or bored, in love or ready for a break up with the topic?

Since our moods can be affected by seemingly everything we experience during a day, we as writers need to be careful that the mood of our writing is the mood we want to convey. If your husband annoyed the hell out of you this morning, and then ten minutes later you sat down to the computer to write, you have to make sure that your piece is not affected by your reaction to that lazy good for nothing husband of yours.

Conversely, if you just won a $5000 giveaway at your local supermarket and then you sit down to write about the death of a loved, one, it might take a bit of work to match tone to the writing.

Writers are only armed with their words to create tone or mood. We do not have lighting or music to build tone, but we do have the ability to create conflict and surprise, imagery and suspense. We can create a lighthearted atmosphere or we can create somber, and the creation of the proper tone can make the difference between a successful piece of writing and one more for the trash heap.

So, how do we improve our tone while writing? Well these suggestions just might help you.

Where the tone is established
Where the tone is established

AVOID BEING PREDICTABLE

I wrote a short story once about poverty, but I never once mentioned the subject. The story was called “My New Friend” and it was about a six year old playing with her new pet…..and as the story unfolds we find that the new pet is a rat that visits the child every day in her tenement home in the poor side of the city. The tone early on was very playful and conveyed a little kid having so much fun with this new playmate….and I think the contrast between that idyllic setting and the reality of her life was very effective.

I remember a scene from Stephen King’s book “Carrie” where Carrie is at the big dance with flowers in her arms and a crown on her head, and this beautiful music is playing and she has finally achieved her dreams of being accepted and loved….and then someone dumps a bucket of blood on her head, and then things get very scary from then on. The contrast was magnificent and perfectly set the tone for the death and destruction that was about to happen.

Write your piece once and then consider what an unpredictable approach might do for you.

LOOK FOR CONSISTENCY

The unpredictable approach might work for a random scene or a part of a chapter, but try to remain consistent throughout your entire piece. Otherwise your readers will be in need of a valium by the time they are done.

If you are writing a thriller then the mood needs to be thrilling. Romance novels have very few dark moments of horror; they are, after all, romance novels and as such their main focus….their main tone…is romance.

Of course you may have a shift in tone momentarily, but just don’t let it happen over the entire life of your work.

EDIT WITH A SURGEON’S SCALPEL

If your goal is to lose tone and thus lose the reader’s interest, then by all means go off on some tangent that has nothing to do with the story or the tone. The child brushes her teeth and flosses meticulously….the little dog rolls around in the grass trying to rid herself of fleas….the sales clerk counts inventory……WHO CARES????

All writers write a certain amount of garbage. Be honest and admit it. Your goal when editing or proofreading is to find the garbage that detracts from the tone and delete it quickly and without remorse.

CREATE AND MAINTAIN TENSION

Tension gives life to a piece of writing, and readers love tension. We have the protagonist and the antagonist, and the conflict keeps readers turning pages for hours.

No, I’m not talking just about novels. Think of some of your favorite columnists….many constantly mention their “clueless husband” or “ditsy wife” and the column is built around their conflict.

Interesting thoughts on tone

RE-READ WITH 20/20 VISION

What tone did you want in your piece? When you are done writing, go back over it with that question in mind. If there is a section that does not have that tone then re-write it.

Better yet, find a paragraph that perfectly portrays the tone you wanted and then figure out why it does….and then emulate it in the rest of your piece.

USE INTRODUCTION TO SET THE TONE

I have talked so much about this and yet seemingly nobody is listening. Your introduction sets the tone for the entire piece of writing, and you have ten seconds to set a tone the average reader will be interested in. Ten seconds!

Even a recipe can be interesting if you do your job in the introduction. Let me repeat that: even a recipe can be interesting, and yet how many recipes have I read that are so boring they are like watching paint dry? Countless, and I’m sure this week I’ll read more of them.

Do you want to write an interesting article or a boring one? The introduction will set the tone that will stay with the article through to its conclusion.

DON’T FORGET THAT CONCLUSION

I have been teaching creative writing to high school and middle school students for quite a few years, and one lesson to them never changes…..the conclusion must refer to the introduction so that you tie up the article in a nice neat package.

Use your conclusion to reinforce the tone you seek. The last paragraph or two can be a powerful tool, or it can be a dull ending to a dull piece. It is your choice which it will be.

USE DESCRIPTIONS TO SET TONE

You can write that it was a hot day, or you can describe the sweat dripping from the brow and the heat waves shimmering off of the asphalt. One way is a statement; the other is a physical experience.

Details make all the difference. If I am writing an article about sex trafficking, I can give you statistics, or I can describe the feelings of helplessness and invasion when a child is snatched off of the streets and trained to be a sex toy. Which do you think conveys a more powerful tone?

WRAPPING IT UP

Writing is not just about words. If it were then anyone with a computer and a dictionary could be a writer. No, writing is about feelings and settings and yes, tone. It is our job as writers to engage the reader, and we do that using the plethora of tricks that we have at our disposal. It would be a shame to leave some of those tricks in our bag the next time we write a piece, leaving the reader wanting more but sadly out of luck because we didn’t deliver the goods.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      This is so interesting Bill.. I actually never thought of this exactly the way you put it. I will think about this more as I write my book. As always sooo good...Of course pinning in your pin section..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I love that I have a section in your pins. Thank you for that and have a wonderful Friday.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      This one speaks to me....I know I need to work on my intro and conclusion. Another one to print and save. Thank you, extremely useful. I hope all is well with you, my best to you and Bev as always.

      Jo.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      You have the ability Bill to unravel my thought and to string them together again in their correct order.

      Each passage of this your latest gem is just right but I especially liked the one titled "Don't forget that conclusion".

      Yes another true gem from you again Billy and voted up plus shared.

      I wish you and Bev a wonderful day ahead.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I feel like I'm teaching school again. LOL This is a lesson I don't remember how often I taught....conclusion to intro....the return trip that means so much. :)

      Thank you my friend! Blessings to you always.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, it is a lesson that most forget for whatever reason...that conclusion is so important.

      We are having beautiful weather this summer my friend and it never seems to end. We are going to have a great day and I hope your's is going well too.

      love,

      billy

    • mariexotoni profile image

      mariexotoni 3 years ago

      A very interesting way to put it! You have to be my favorite writer here on HubPages. I love the teacher voice you have in your articles.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marie, that is a very sweet thing for you to say...thank you very much.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 3 years ago from New York, New York

      Seriously you always leave me with such food for thought by the end of your writing articles. Thanks for that and so much more. Really great tips and you know I am sharing this one for sure. Enjoy the rest of your Friday now!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glad to hear it Janine, and my goodness, how many things I have to thank you for....you are always here and always so supportive....I hope you know how much I appreciate you.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, you are so right about tone. I have left many articles and even poems before finishing reading them because they just didn't capture my attention and spark interest. And, yes, the conclusion should refer back to the opening, especially if the opening paragraph is the cliff-hanger prompting you to read further. The point has to be made and if it's made at the end, well, the reader needs to read all the way through to get to the point!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, some of the most basic rules of writing are often ignored....and then people wonder why nobody reads their work. Sigh! My job as a teacher is never done. LOL

      Have a great day my dear friend.

      bill

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very meaningful. Tone make the difference between burdening the reader with your problem, or motivating him with the method of how you overcame. Thank you Billy, for another good lesson.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Wonderful lesson with the perfect accompaniment. The video with Gail Tycer is spot on. I never really thought about writing being a "relationship" with the reader. But, it is, isn't it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, if it's not a relationship then I am in this for all the wrong reasons. LOL Thanks for stopping by kind lady, and enjoy the weekend doing that thing you do.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, that is the perfect analogy...thank you for adding that.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 3 years ago from Escondido, CA

      Hello Billy . . . awesome read offering avenues to explore seeking the topic. I agree with what is presented especially as you pointed out deciding who will read the article first. The many focus points offered with explanations allows for understanding the theme. Thank you for sharing. As I re-enter the hubbing experience while on a sabbatical from working the high points written down will be remembered.

      tim

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tim, thanks for stopping by and welcome back. I hope you have a great weekend my friend.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      This concept strikes home. I just finished an article that elicited a lengthy comment from someone who normally does not write comments on my articles, and it was over this very issue. I had allowed a paragraph to go by with something that should not have come from me. I hadn't done as you said, edit with a surgeon's scalpel! After the comment, I went back and did that, and hopefully, things will be better!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, thank you for sharing your own experience. It is so easy to do; we get wrapped up in the process of writing and often times things like that slip by us unnoticed.

    • BNadyn profile image

      Bernadyn 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      You can never be reminded too much as a writer about all that you discussed here. I remember one of my writing instructors driving it in how important and also how difficult it could be for writers to convey the tone throughout the writing piece and you brought that back home. I always look forward to reading your tips and advice; so helpful!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      BNadyn, thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read my hubs and comment. Have a great weekend.

    • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

      Stephanie Launiu 3 years ago from Hawai'i

      Another page in my "Instruction Manual by billybuc". Thanks for focusing on 'tone' and defining it. I loved how you explain using descriptions to set the tone. I definitely think that makes the difference between a writer and a WRITER. Aloha, Stephanie

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      You mentioned that "anyone with a computer and a dictionary could be a writer." These days I'd rephrase that as "anyone who is a computer with a dictionary program could be a writer." Tone and unpredictability are what separates us from the robots. Happy Weekend!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Bill,

      I always love your opening quotes but this one has me bowled over...

      It is indeed a keeper for my quote journal...This is a valuable reminder for us all and your tone is commanding and memorable.

      I am moved by the short story you wrote about the boy and his pet depicting poverty. Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      I agree that the tone can be what makes the article! I have often not continued to read an article because I didn't like the tone! Thank you for this! Have a great weekend!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Thank you for the education. When I write my hubs I am always concerned about how they flow but you make a great point about setting a tone and reinforcing it with an introduction, conclusion and wrap-up. This is a great tip and something I need to think about as I write. Thanks and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, you are very welcome. I like how you differentiated between a writer and a WRITER! I agree completely.

      Aloha to you my friend and have a great weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...good one Heidi and very true. Thanks for the visit and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, thank you my dear lady. It is a great quote, isn't it?

      It's funny thinking back to that short story. In many ways it was written as I write today, something I didn't realize until I thought of that story written so very long ago.

      Blessings and love,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Randi! I think tone is so important and is often ignored by those who write articles...big mistake in my opinion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, I applaud you for being concerned about flow...I think flow is huge if a writer wants to engage a reader. I'm glad you found this helpful buddy. Thank you and enjoy your weekend as well.

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 3 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I wish there was a LIKE button here on HP as I would like so many of the comments made by others. They express my sentiments exactly. This is a wonderful and informative hub (as always), Bill. Since I write mostly non-fiction, it's difficult to keep my tone appropriate. Trust me, sometimes I want to yell or scream or comfort. LOL. It'll be nice to get into different writing while expressing my feelings more on subjects appropriate for those emotions. Have a wonderful evening, and thank you again! :-)

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Thank you bill I need this information to improve my hub :)

      But, it will take a little work.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 3 years ago

      This is all good advice. I think I do fairly well with it all when writing novels. Writing hubs is a different story. I know I have to reread mine at least a few times before I publish them to make sure I hit all of the points you made.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Abby, I look forward to seeing that different kind of writing you talk about...I hope it is coming soon. :) I think there is a completely different kind of writer inside of you screaming to get out.

      Thank you and I hope you have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, writing always takes work. :) That's the joyous challenge of it all.

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, so much to remember and so little time. :) Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 3 years ago

      Hello Bill.

      Splendid. Every new hub of yours, when getting ready to study I'm challenged with a question what fine missing part of stern necessity will " "hit" me this time with pleasant surprise. Often being under impressin you're targeting my needs , for which I'm eternally grateful to you; however this one is one of the most important part of a road- map leading a merchant searching for that great value pearl hidden in a field . . . simply called TONE. Thank you my professor .

      Voted up , awesome and useful.

      Have a blessed safe and prosperous weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, you are a very easy student to teach....so willing, cooperative and eager. Thank you, and I hope your weekend is blessed and safe as well.

      bill

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      Deonne Anderson 3 years ago from Florence, SC

      billybuc,

      Your hub is filled with useful and practical information we all can use to improve our writing skills. I 'm thinking about taking a creative writing course at a Community College near me as I can take courses free. I checked out your writing blog and plan to read it often. You are simply the best . Thanks! Voted up and useful and shared.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Dearest Bill,

      Tone is oh so important and this wonderful and insightful hub of yours truly sets the tone for great writing! I am glad you mentioned about the intro and the conclusion, as I really believe they are both highly important aspects of any work.

      Really love your examples of stories here, especially the one you wrote long ago, as that one is the best example!

      Yes, that quote right there at the first, truly set the tone for this great and helpful piece here.

      You're the best!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Hugs and love

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Great information in this hub and definitely something to think about as we all sit down to write for the day. You're right- it's difficult to try to write a sad scene if you just won lotto! Good points. Have a great weekened!

      Liz

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting article, Bill, and of course, like all your articles for writers, it's also useful! Thanks for the helpful advice.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Reading your hubs is like having a private tutor. And I am enjoying the lessons. I wonder if you could shed some light on the following.

      My daughter and I are very different in our approach to writing. She can set the tone with the first sentence. (How I envy her.) It takes me a couple of paragraphs. Could it be because her writing is more plot driven while mine is more character driven? Or maybe that we write in different genres? All is know is I which I had her skill.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Very informative. Thank you for this.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great hub as always you inform writers on important and useful ideas in the writing field you have a talent in this field and have shared a well deserved hub thnaks

    • goego profile image

      goego 3 years ago from Loserland

      Very nice work as always Mr. Bill, your hubs are looking better everyday. Just wanted to drop by and say hey and thank you for continuing to teach.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Bill, yes, tone plays a major role in writing, thank you for reminding me of this. I enjoy reading every single hub of yours, there is always something new for me to learn.

      Have a good weekend Bill.

      Sending you smiles and blessings :-)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are so right...it is so much more than just the words. It is especially effective when tone conveys so much more than stating the obvious ...like you suggested in your story about the child playing with the rat...

      I am sharing this and voting it up up and away as it is really one of the crucial parts of writing....Angels are on the way ps Have a lovely weekend....

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Here's another great article for my Billybuc Bookmark section! I have taken your advise on introductions to heart, and hopefully have been able to incorporate it successfully. I think the concluding paragraph is just as important as the introduction--it's a great tool to drive the point home! Voting Up all over the place; and I am heading over to your blog right now ;) Pearl

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      From the beginning to the conclusion, Bill, you had my total attention and engagement - not a simple task. Bravo!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lady, thank you very much. If you can take a course for free then I say go for it. Who can pass up such a good deal, right? :) Good luck!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, thank you my dear. I'm just trying to give back to a community that has been so good to me. What good is knowledge if you can't share it, right? :)

      Blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Liz! I have to get in the mood for a story before I can set the mood, something I think a lot of writers overlook. Writing of that type should be emotional, and you can't fake emotions. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you once again, Alicia. I hope these suggestions help some writers......I want everyone to succeed, so I just toss this stuff out for anyone to borrow. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, that's an interesting observation and I'm not sure I have an answer....you might be right on with your guess, though. When I do my serious reflective articles they are all topic driven and not character driven....yep, you might be correct. Anyway, I hope you have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, thank you. I hope you have a peaceful weekend my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE...you are always appreciated here.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      goego, thanks for the visit my friend and I hope you are doing well.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahlia, you are a sweetheart and very appreciated. Thank you and I hope your weekend is blessed.

      blessings and a hug coming your way

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, we teachers understand this, don't we? We've only been teaching it for decades. :) If we set the tone correctly the words almost because secondary to the story....it's not easy but it is crucial.

      Blessings and a hug winging their way to you

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peal, I have seen improvement in your hubs for sure...you are a good and willing student and I am very appreciative of your friendship.

      Have a great weekend and above all, be happy.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, high praise indeed and I thank you. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Another important part to writing you so rightly point out, the tone. One thing I must do more of is a conclusion. With the style of hubs I have in beauty solutions, I forget to do this but this highlights the fact it is just as important as the 10 second opening. Cheers my friend for more useful info!

      As always I learn something from all your pieces, votes, shares and pinned to writing!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is very useful, as always. I will be checking out many of your articles over time, especially when I get around to revamping my novel. I have put that project on hold, as my life has taken a bit of a hit. But I may actually find a convenient way to catalog your articles for my own reference (the links to them, I mean).

      I hope you have a fantastic weekend! Here in Boston it is sunny, and not quite 80 degrees yet. It should be a fairly lazy weekend, and Andy's mother and brother are coming over tomorrow, so I expect to have a good time!

      ~ Kathryn

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 3 years ago

      Great information, Bill.

      I was fortunate to have an uncle who was a wise man.

      However, I have deemed him crazy because he CHOSE to teach middle school students. But, that is another subject.

      He once gave these words pertaining to the necessary steps to write a story: 1. Tell the reader what you are going to write about, 2. Write about it, 3. Tell the reader what you wrote about.

      I think he was an innovator of the K.I.S.S. principal. LOL

      Keep in mind that he was dealing with middle school kids.

      This hub is a keeper.

      Many thanks,

      DJ.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Irish, it's always nice to have you stop by. Conclusions are overlooked by a good many writers....so I thought I"d just toss out a reminder. Thanks for stopping by, Suzie, and I hope you are well and happy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, I hope that "bit of a hit" isn't anything major. Best wishes to you and hoping for some stability for you in the weeks to come. Thank you for taking the time to visit, and have a great Sunday.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, you must think me crazy too, because I put in fifteen years at the middle school level. LOL It does take a certain kind of mentality and personality to deal with those youngins. :)

      Have a great weekend my friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Since I started reading your posts, I have become much more aware of what it takes to be a great writer. Thanks for the advice.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Hey Bill, do you have these writing articles collected in a book? I want to have them handy. I have some alternatives like printing them and making a oneself handy book for myself. I promise that I will not become rich selling it. Thanks so much for helping us out.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      You should listen to Lastheart. You've written so many useful hubs that we probably all refer back it would be easier to just have them in book form. Whaddya say? :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wonderful hub!

      I agree with you that 'Tone', is very important. Though I am not a great writer, but I am a spontaneous one. And when I write that way, I am usually able to communicate with the reader, what I wanted to say.

      Again I agree that 'Introduction' and 'Conclusion,' both are very important and they should be related.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Excellent topic with lots of useful examples, thank you! Great point about going off on a tangent that distracts from the tone/plot. And I had to smile about how we don't have lighting or music. Only words...but that leaves everything to the imagination which is more powerful anyway! :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thank you Dianna! If I'm helping anyone then I'm a very happy retired teacher. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Maria, I'm in the process of putting an ebook together now; with any luck I'll be done in a month. Thanks for asking and for being here.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I say I'm on it. :) I'll see if I can't hurry up the process this week, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chitrangada Sharan, there is no doubt that if you write with a certain tone you can communicate much better. Thank you for the visit; it is nice to see you again.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lurana, I obviously agree. The good writers don't need lighting or music; they have the gift of doing it all with little old words. :) Thank you!

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      just-about 3 years ago

      I know that what I love when I read is the layering that great writers are able to achieve by variations of tone and the creation of tension. It was hard to see how they did that - but I've learned something here that i can experiment with in my own fiction writing. Thank you.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      just-about, you are very welcome. It is not an easy thing to do, and some writers never achieve it. Sending you some creative juices that you can use as you practice. :)

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      Cat 3 years ago from New York

      Billy,

      I don't think it matters what kind of genre we're talking about, this really applies to them all. I'm scared of tone, or how it's perceived in this technological era. So often, after typing something, rather through chat, text or email, for example, I worry that the person on the other end will not know the intended tone, which can affect the meaning all together. For instance. Husband says to wife 'You bought a dress?'. Now, he could be saying that in a pleasantly surprised tone or he could be saying that in a frustrated, accusing manner, correct? The converse is also true; I sometimes don't know how to take someone's tone when communicating with me. Hence, the entire goal of your hub and your tips, hints and advice, are superbly important. Nobody should walk away from a piece of writing, unsure of how to take the tone. I admit, it's frustrating as a reader, not knowing how to respond when you can't really determine the intended tone. With that said, obviously I have room for improvement myself. However, after I write something, I tend to be self conscious and feel vulnerable and like an actor who will not watch his own movie, I cannot reread my piece. I'm sure that's irresponsible, but I know I will just rip it to shreds and rewrite the whole damn thing if I don't simply delete it altogether, lol. But, I will, after something has been up for a sufficient amount of time and I feel there aren't many eyes on it anymore, revisit a piece and improve or tweak it the best I can.

      I think there was a lot more I planned to say, but that is one of my biggest faults, random garbage and going off on tangents... lol. I cannot help myself, so I must walk away now!

      Excellent hub!

      Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday!

      Cat

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, what comes out of your communication is never random garbage, and I always appreciate your comments because I know they are honest and heartfelt.

      I have run into trouble on Facebook because of tone. By nature I'm a bit sarcastic LOL and I have to constantly be on guard for the way my notes might be perceived....and there have been times when I wasn't on guard enough.

      I'm still a work in progress. :)

      Thank you my friend.

      bill

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      Cat 3 years ago from New York

      Billy,

      Aw thanks... 'course you've got me laughing now! I love sarcastic humor and I know it very well, but I think that works best face to face... lol, Please be careful, I really don't want you getting yourself in trouble... lol.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Way too late for the warning, Cat, but thank you. :)

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      Cat 3 years ago from New York

      Ha ha ha... well, at least I can relate :D

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      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      I learn something every time I read one of your Hubs Billy. How fortunate we are to have you are these pages, thank you.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      me too, Cat. :) Have a great day!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was very sweet of you, Sally! Thank you!

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      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Another excellent hub, written with your usual first class insight. A beginning, a middle and an end.

      Graham.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, I thank you my friend. I hope you are well and happy in jolly old England.

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You're right, it is all about delivering the goods. I really have it easy with my birds, because people really like the pictures, perhaps even more than the words.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, if you didn't know how to write then all the pictures in the world wouldn't save your articles.....just sayin'

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      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      So many useful points to glean from this piece, Bill. Your hubs are always so educative. Thanks for these useful pointers.

      Voted up, useful. Have a good day!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! You are either up very late or up very early. LOL I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      Blessings on your new day

      bill

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      Carolee Samuda 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Billy, I need you to help me! I have reached a place where I have become unsure of my writing...especially fiction. I think I have lost a little confidence.

      Your article was exactly what I needed so if you can spare a few minutes to read my first chapter of a new project that would be great! My creative writing account is under the name Carolee Writes and the title is "Mystery Novel: Murder at Brattleboro".

      Didn't want to leave a link.

      Thank you and please be very honest in your feedback. I am so scared to write these day...seriously.

      Carolee

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carolee, honestly, I think that fear hits us all from time to time. I have experienced it too and I just have to work through it.

      Your first chapter flows well; in fact, it is quite fast-paced for an introduction of characters. A very easy read and it kept me interested. I'm not sure what you are sensing about it but for a first chapter I think it is fine...if I were to give a suggestion, it would be that the first couple paragraphs need a little oomph...they aren't quite the attention grabbers one hopes for to begin a novel. :)

      Hope that helps and good luck. If you need any more help you know where you can find me.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 3 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Billy. My biggest weakness is the start so I will work on that. I was hoping the clock thing would do the trick but I need to find that oomph to begin with.

      Thanks Billy,I really, really appreciate this. :)

      Do you think I should slow it down? You did mention that it was fast paced.

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      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      This is a very useful and informative hub Bill. I´m usually carried by my tone when writing, so when I´m angry about anything, I avoid writing because I know the feelings that I have at that moment distruct my thoughts.

      Thanks for sharing this writing of yours. I´ll pinned it for my later use. Have a nice day!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cardisa, you are very welcome. No, I wouldn't slow down the start....it moves well and you want the reader eager for a fast-paced ride.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thelma, you are very welcome and thank you. Yes, writing with angry is not a great idea. LOL I've found that out on many an occasion.

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      Corey 3 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Nice useful tips here! Thank you so much for sharing. I have often wondered how other writers get into the mindset that is appropriate for what they are writing. You have given great insight!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      cabmgmnt, thank you very much. I appreciate you stopping by and your kind comment.

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      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Bill!

      Serendipity, brother!

      Your piece here about tone is a timely and helpful one in regards to a hub I'm presently writing. Thank you, my friend, for all the writing tips you share with us!

      Hope you're having a pleasant and productive day. Thought it was cooling off, but I ran some errands downtown and quickly learned just how far wishful thinking will get me. It's another hot day in Sweets Country.

      Nevertheless, I plan to have a terrific day, and I'm wishing you the same! Aloha, Bill!

      Joe

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Joe, it has cooled down a bit here; now it's just darn comfortable. I hear rain is on the way Thursday; can't say it upsets me too much, as long as it doesn't stick around too long.

      As for serendipity, I've heard that great minds think alike. :)

      Aloha my friend

      bill

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

      Billy,

      I learned the tips and tricks of establishing tone in my creative writing class. Your article was a quick reminder. Thank you very much.

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      Victor W. Kwok 3 years ago from Hawaii

      Great advice for aspiring writers from a pro!

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Bill. Do you think descriptive text is better for setting tone, or spoken dialogue?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Reminders are good, Vinaya, so I'm glad this was helpful. Thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vkwok, the day I make it to pro level I'll let you know, but thank you!

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I think it is a matter of preference....descriptive text for me, but I have read dialogue that was an excellent tone-setter.

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      Alise- Evon 3 years ago

      Wonderfully helpful hub, Bill. Your hubs for writers are like interesting "continuing education courses." Thanks so much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alise, you can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can't take the classroom out of the teacher. :) Thank you!

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I have to admit I laughed when I started reading this, not because it was funny, but because it really hit home for me. I was writing something a couple of months ago and I was in an incredibly bad mood. As I usually do, I set it aside to check it the next morning and lo and behold, the tone was not at all what it should have been. It was angry and cold, not the best for a recipe! Needless to say I had to rewrite it. This is advice I definitely need to heed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, it's advice we all need to heed. Our writing is so affected by our frame of mind. That's why it is so important to set aside our work after we finish it and then come back to it. I write my hubs on Monday and then post them throughout the week, so most of them sit for days before I proof them and post them...thank goodness I do that. LOL

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      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is such great advice, Bill. Our emotions do taint the words we choose and the emotion we inject into our writing. This is true of the correspondence we write at work, too. I learned this the hard way.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peg, it really is true of all of our writing. I have found on social networks like Facebook that this can become a real problem and I am much more careful there in the words that I choose. Thanks for pointing that out.

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      ocfireflies 23 months ago from North Carolina

      Bill,

      Excellent advice. I love that you also taught creative writing. I am still bad to go off on a tangent leaving readers wondering what in the world am I trying to convey. As I have grown, I have tried really hard to remind myself to do the things you suggest in this article. One thing I have changed is that I try to walk away and revisit the next day. Giving myself a little distance helps me to redo the parts I discover as not really working. As always, voted up. Finally, it is so interesting as to how what we read is what we need. Thank You for being You!

      ~Kim

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Kim, thank you! I love that you walk away from your work and give yourself some distance from the problem. It works, doesn't it? I do the same thing and it's amazing how clear the problem is once I return to it.

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      Audrey Selig 22 months ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      Hi Bill - You always take a subject and give a great analysis about its use in writing. I need to look at the ties between my introduction and conclusions. Actually, I think that my tone is ok, but keeping suspense and a great ending might need more work. Your ideas help us to improve, and I need to get to work. Thank you. Blessings, Audrey, Sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Audrey! I'm so happy you find articles like this one helpful. That's why I write them. :)

      bill

    • Harishprasad profile image

      Harish Mamgain 21 months ago from India

      Writing is a great skill, and you so beautifully highlight the nitty gritty of this wonderful craft. This hub is a great commentary on tone. Bill, like a dancer's moves, an actor's gestures and a painter's strokes, a writer has words to show his acumen to all. You enlighten us so much in such simple words that that proves how fine you polish your writing. Whatever hub I pick up from your treasure house, I always find something to ponder and learn. Thank you for sharing such an useful and informative hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Harishprasad, thank you for your very kind words. I love what you said...like an actor's gestures, a painter's strokes...that is what we do, and you captured it perfectly with your beautiful words.

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