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What is Writing Tone? And How to Improve It

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

If you are perplexed by the distinction between writing voice and writing tone, you are not alone. Numerous authors and writers confuse the two. Regardless of what you are writing about, it is critical to understand the distinction to communicate effectively with your target audience.

Your writing voice should be a continuation of who you are; a reflection of your personality and character should permeate everything you write. Your attitude determines the tone of your writing.

Thus, writing voice refers to what you say, whereas writing tone refers to how you say it.

Writing Tone: Definition

When we talk, we convey our tone (consciously or unconsciously). Consider that you and I have an appointment, and you get stuck in traffic and arrive an hour- half late.

"Are you usually this diligent?" With a smile, I say.

My grin conveys an unambiguous message: I am not angry; I am being sarcastic. That is the tone.

Avoid the error of instructing your reader on how to feel. Rather than that, communicate your attitude or mood via carefully selected words that set the tone for your narrative.

Different Tone in Writing

Here is the fundamental list of the different tones in writing:

  • Fearful

  • Formal

  • Joyful

  • Hopeful

  • Humorous

  • Hypocritical

  • Informal

  • Optimistic

  • Pessimistic

  • Sad

  • Serious

  • Sincere

While tones change according to character and situation, your narrative's general tone must stay constant to avoid confusing your reader and undermining your message.

How to Improve the Tone of Your Writing?

1. Keep your audience in mind.

Each reader is significant. Write in a relaxed, pleasant tone, as if you were having a discussion. Maintain authenticity and avoid using tons of jargon (unless it is a technical term).

2. Add information.

Convey tone via vivid details that evoke the mental theater of your reader, rather than being too detailed and leaving nothing to the reader's imagination.

3. Confrontation is your ally.

Avoid a flat narrative by generating what Bridget McNulty refers to as an "ebb and flow of tension." Plunge your protagonist into tremendous peril from the start and spend the remainder of the narrative watching them attempt to rectify the problem.

The tone is a critical component of writing because it breathes life into a narrative.

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