1. thelark5
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    thelark5 New Member

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    Books on Tone and Mood in fiction?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by thelark5, Aug 24, 2011.

    I'm trying to find a book that addresses tone and mood.

    Can anyone refer me any good books on said subject?
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    "Elements of Style." It tells you how to use rhetorical devices to get the tones you want. Really great.
     
  3. thelark5
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    thelark5 New Member

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    Strunk and white you mean?
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Yeah.

    And although it does deal with rhetorical devices and tone, it's also got a high focus on grammar and composition--which are indeed relevant, because sentence structure and other syntax choices are actually the most powerful ways to create tone--so you should get some fiction books to go with it, to see how the tone thing is done.

    "Grapes of Wrath" is a really good book for analyzing how to create tones. My AP English 11th grade teacher used "Elements of Style" combined with "Grapes of Wrath" and I learned more about writing than in any of my 4000-level college writing classes.
     
  5. thelark5
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    thelark5 New Member

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    I have strunk and white...as do most people.

    Any other recommendations?
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'd recommend avoiding "How To" books for this kind of question. You are much better off reading well-written novels.

    What is the mood that a particular scene evokes in you? Now go back and look at how the author established the mood. Look at word choices, sentence length, depth of description and pace, and the use of dialogue.

    Make a habit of analyzing scenes this way. At first you may not feel you really get it, but the more you do it, the clearer it will become.

    No "How To" book will give you that kind of feel for what works, what doesn't, and why.
     
  7. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    Seconding what Cog said - for that kind of thing, it's best to read novels instead of how-to books. You can learn a lot from other authors' techniques and stuff.

    I've been having issues with tones and moods as well. Recently, I've decided to read several books with the same basic plotline (vampire/human romance, because I am a dweeb). Though they all deal with more or less the same thing, the styles they're written give them completely different tones - one is more light-hearted and a little sad, whereas another is a black comedy, and one is a thinly-veiled porno. The events in the stories have an impact on the tones, sure, but also the way things are described. I hate to be one of those people who over-analyzes novels, but it's interesting to see how different words and phrases can effect the mood of a story.
     

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