1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    Figuring out my tone

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Apr 20, 2012.

    I am really struggling right now, trying to pinpoint exact what sort of tone I want to give my novel. I want it to be a kids book, and so I want it to almost have a light comic sense to it, but I also want it to have a darkness and seriousness to it, so that it's also an adult book. Is this just going to be a matter of writing, seeing how it works, and redoing?
     
  2. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I think its possible to do both at the same time, but you should have a target audience for what you're writing. Its either children, or adults, than from there it will become a children's book that adults might find enjoyable (Hunger Games). Is it possible to be comical, dark and appropriate for kids at the same time? Maybe like this:

    "Damien checked on his pet frog that he'd been keeping in a sealed jar for two days now. It didn't move when he shook the jar, it had been sleeping for two days now."

    EDIT

    A book I recommend is 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' by Mark Haddon. I wouldn't say it's serious, but has a comical and dark sense of humor.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I sometimes struggle with tone at the beginning as well. Often I've restarted stories five or six times, looking for the right tone. It usually comes in the first page, though. If I can get a page 1 that has the right tone, I'm on my way.
     
  4. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    Usually the tone comes with the protagonist. If you're writing in first-person then the tone should be a reflection of that character, same really goes for third-person. There is a difference if you're writing omniscient, in which case you need to design your narrator's voice as a character too.

    If you have a rough idea of what your storyline is, it should help you discern how heavy your book will need to be on the sex, violence or language. It's very deflating if you're reading a neutered thriller or a steamless romance. On the other hand, there is little call for heaving bosoms in a children's book, so discernment from the outset can help.
     
  5. Endovert
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    Endovert Member

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    I sympathize with your struggle. It's aggravating to discover half way through a book that your tone is changing because it means you need to go back and change everything. Your two goals aren't mutually exclusive, though, so that's encouraging. I think a little dark humor is good because adults catch it better than kids, and little kids still have all the rest to enjoy. Everyone wins.

    And yes, the hardest part is that you'll probably have to do some tests to find the right tone. In my experience it helps to imagine a very specific person who is telling the story (not necessarily you). Imagine exactly how they talk and the way they think about things. That makes it easier down the road because you can reference that imaginary person and say "How would X say this? How would X react to this? What would X think of this person?" The more concrete you can make this person from the beginning, the easier it will be to maintain consistency.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Probably. You'll have a better sense of the tone you want when you have the entire story before you.

    As you gain experience, you'll have a better sense of the tone you want earlier in the process.

    It's not a disaster. You will have plenty of editing ahead of you anyway after the first draft is finished.
     
  7. kingzilla
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    kingzilla Senior Member

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    Since I am writing the exact same tone as you, I found mine to dark and not enough humor. It might be the other way around for you when you finish it, but the most important part is amking sure you have a book to edit. Even if it sucks, you can always rewrite it and make it ten times better.
     

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