This latest edition of Boot Camp will be an exercise in tone, how it affects storytelling and how it can be applied to your work.
Lesson 5: Tone
As I mentioned in my post about Tone, its purpose is to help add atmosphere and mood to a piece of literature. This is achieved by influencing the reader’s understanding or perception of the story, by carefully orchestrating the various literary elements at their disposal, such as the following:
- Diction: Expressing Tone by paying close attention to their choice of words.
- Syntax; Creating effect with the grammatical arrangement of words.
- Imagery; Describing the scenery in a certain manner, with cues that appeal to any of the senses;
- Details; Informing the reader of important facts, either included or omitted.
In an attempt to better explain Tone, I have put together an example. Here is a basic phrase. The information it gives is pretty basic, and void of any really tone.
“John was walking down the street, making his way through the crowd.”
The following phrasess illustrate the same situation, only using different wording. You can see how a change in wording affects the feel of the phrase, this feel is what we call tone.
- Happy Tone example: “It was a bright, sunny day as John was strolling down the street, casually passing the other people in the crowd.”
- Angry Tone example: “Jonathan was stomping down the street, unceremoniously shoving his way through the crowd.”
- Fearful Tone example: “Jay was running frantically down the street. Zigzagging his way through the mob.”
Now that we have established what is Tone and how it is depicted, let's move on to the exercise of the day.
- Below you will find 5 generic phrases to work with.
- For each phrase, write 3 different versions using the following Tones as inspiration: Happy, Angry and Fearful.
- Sarah is in the kitchen, preparing breakfast.
- Robin is watching the soccer game on the television.
- Franklin is playing ball at the park.
- The Captain ordered his men to raise the anchor, as preparations were complete.
- Carl is in the library, searching for his favorite book.
For those who aren’t afraid to share their entries, feel free to submit your stories as a reply to this post. Remember, this is a game, so no posting bad comments about other people's entries.
Hope you have fun giving this exercise a try. Until next time!