December 15, 2010

How to Listen for Tone

Posted in Tone tagged , , , at 9:45 am by Rebecca Hein

Tone in writing is more than formal versus informal, stuffy versus breezy, or somber versus light. Tone is also revealed in the beauty and proportion in your sentences, the depth of your ideas, and the clarity of your structure.

Listening to tone in writing is like practicing the cello. When your words flow, as with musical sounds, you can feel whether or not they are smooth and aesthetically pleasing. With your inborn sense of symmetry and elegance you can detect bumps, awkward passages, and other flaws.

This is best worked out in warm-ups and practice because there you can experience the momentum of language without burdening yourself with anything other than your tone and how it feels.

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