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How To Establish Tone When Writing

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

Great article 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.”

Questions & Answers

Question: What does it mean to EDIT WITH A SURGEON’S SCALPEL? I am really confused so if you can help me that would be amazing thanks. By the way, I am sorry I did not want to write that comment my brother took and found another person's comment and put it there.

Answer: Pretty colorful phrase, don't you think? I was trying to drive home the point that fluff is unnecessary and can actually hurt a novel. Cut out the harmful stuff (fluff) and make sure everything in the novel is necessary for the novel.

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 23, 2020:

You are very kind, Laurinzo. Thank you and happy writing!

Laurinzoscott from Kanab, Utah on March 23, 2020:

Havent read it all yet I just sent this article to myself...im gonba use it as a textbook... reference it often....wow think of all the work you nspire!!!!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 24, 2020:

That has always been my primary goal, Harish, so thank you for mentioning that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 24, 2020:

That is kind of you, Lora! These are things it took me a long time to comprehend and utilize...hopefully you learn faster than I did.

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on January 23, 2020:

Like a meal, if it doesn't match to our taste, it is just not enjoyable to have it just sitting across the dining table. So is the case with writing too. Bill, though I 'm not much into writing, I love your wonderful articles. This wonderful hub is really a big motivational piece. You awaken the sleeping spirit in writers.

Lora Hollings on January 23, 2020:

This is a great article Bill for a new writer or even someone that has been doing it for some time. Establishing a tone in the introduction and adhering to it and the elements of surprise and creating tension or conflict in a story really makes that story interesting and gives it life to the reader. We can all become better writers using these suggestions. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 21, 2020:

Thanks for weighing in, Samgo!

Samgo on January 20, 2020:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 22, 2015:

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.

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on June 20, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 03, 2015:

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

bill

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 02, 2015:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on May 06, 2015:

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.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on May 06, 2015:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on October 02, 2013:

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.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 02, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 21, 2013:

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

Claudia Mitchell on August 21, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 05, 2013:

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

Alise- Evon on August 05, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 01, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 01, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on August 01, 2013:

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

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on August 01, 2013:

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

Victor W. Kwok from Hawaii on July 31, 2013:

Great advice for aspiring writers from a pro!

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on July 31, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 30, 2013:

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

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on July 30, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 30, 2013:

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

Corey from Northfield, MA on July 30, 2013:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 30, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 30, 2013:

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.

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on July 30, 2013:

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!

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on July 29, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2013:

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.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on July 29, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 29, 2013:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2013:

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

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on July 29, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2013:

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

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on July 29, 2013:

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

Graham.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 29, 2013:

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

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on July 29, 2013:

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

Cat from New York on July 28, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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

Cat from New York on July 28, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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

Cat from New York on July 28, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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. :)

just-about on July 28, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 28, 2013:

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

MrsBrownsParlour on July 28, 2013:

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! :-)

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 28, 2013:

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!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on July 28, 2013:

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? :)

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on July 27, 2013:

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.

Dianna Mendez on July 27, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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.

DJ Anderson on July 27, 2013:

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.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on July 27, 2013:

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

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on July 27, 2013:

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!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2013:

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!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 27, 2013:

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

Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on July 27, 2013:

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

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 27, 2013:

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....

livingsta from United Kingdom on July 27, 2013:

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 :-)

goego from Loserland on July 27, 2013:

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.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on July 27, 2013:

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

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on July 27, 2013:

Very informative. Thank you for this.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on July 26, 2013:

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.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 26, 2013:

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

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on July 26, 2013:

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

Faith Reaper from southern USA on July 26, 2013:

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

Deonne Anderson from Florence, SC on July 26, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 26, 2013:

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

Michael-Milec on July 26, 2013:

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.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 26, 2013:

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

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 26, 2013:

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

Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on July 26, 2013:

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.

sheilamyers on July 26, 2013:

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.

Michele Travis from U.S.A. Ohio on July 26, 2013:

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

But, it will take a little work.

Dr Abby Campbell from Charlotte, North Carolina on July 26, 2013:

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! :-)

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