1. Headintheclouds
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    Headintheclouds Member

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    Using a differing tone

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Headintheclouds, Mar 17, 2011.

    I have recently read some of my old stories (and some of my newer stories) and I have discovered that every single one has a very melancholic tone. I write pieces that are extremely emotional (perhaps a little try-hard at times), deep, and use poetic, thoughtful landuage. This in itself is alright.

    My issue however is that this is the only tone I seem to be able to write in. My stories all seem rather monotone, because I seem unable to write anything humourous, lighthearted, exciting, adventurous, joyful, sweet, touching or just plain silly. Everything is full of melancholy, nostalgia and a whole lot of boring, long-winded passges.

    So my question is, how do you write in different tones? Do you guys have any exercises or advise that might help.

    Thanks. :D
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Basically getting to know your characters, they will be the tone to the work.

    However we all have a style mine is beginning with a light story and turning it dark or making a dark story humourous.

    Basically my slapstick comedy turned into something deep and dark, my serial killer story looks like being a comedy.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    One way to go at it us to use a different media, lets say a blog, and learn from that blog hot to use tone.

    A blogg is good. because it will be hard and you will get sick of yourself if every post you write about you life, the people in you life, all the awesome articles/movies/books you come across, all your daily adventures and mischiefs is told in a melancholic tone of voice.

    Once you picked up the skill, mindset an you of writing blogposts in different tones of voice it will carry across to you fiction writing. Or write debate article, Or movie reviews. Or something else that forces you to vary your tone.
     
  4. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    When I don't feel like I need to for a particular section, I leave it alone and go for the next.

    I've left passages blank for a while, waiting to be happy, sad or angry enough.

    I'm a bit manic depressive, though, so I usually don't need to wait for too long.
     
  5. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I had the same problem for a while, but there was a reason for that. It lasted a few years (following the death of my mother) and I was doing exactly the same thing - especially the nostalgia bit.

    If that's the reason, then it will pass. We all tend to be different people at different points in our lives.

    If it isn't maybe it's just you. Perhaps you like to write like that. I actually find that writing a deeply emotional piece (watch out for the over-emotinal language though) is more rewarding that doing something light-hearted. And gentle humour can be injected into any situation to give your writing a more two dimensional feel.

    When you plumb the depths of human feelings, you touch something in everyone.
    We can all identify with sadness at some time. And if something you've written touches someone - you've done the job!

    Having said all that, we all also like a giggle - humour's good. Try reading different genres. But don't force it. You write what you feel. If you are meant to make people smile - you will. If you are meant to make them think, feel, cry - you'll do that.


    Hopefully there'll come a point when you can do both.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You really should try writing different emotions if you want to be a more 'rounded' writer (and person).

    You could set yourself short tasks: describe a happy event, an embarrassing event, a frightening event, etc to get yourself into describing other emotions.

    Read passages in novels describing scenes like this. Particularly, READ FUNNY BOOKS. I've just finished re-reading 'Lucky Jim' because I was depressed seeing the earthquake news--did me the power of good. Next time you have a laugh with friends/laugh at something on TV, think about what triggered the happy feeling and why you laughed--you can't write out a joke, exactly, but was it the body language, tone of voice or what?

    Then I suggest you write a short story where the character must move from one emotion to another, e.g. where a person comes home happy, then has a shock/bad news; where one character is pompous and the other is making fun of them without him/her realising; where character feels unhappy, then discovers he/she has misunderstood and the situation isn't so bad, etc.

    If your writing is always highly personal and on one key, it may not be so interesting to other people. If you can insert bits of yourself (sorry, sounds painful!) subtly into your stories, IMO it's more effective.

    Edit: Oh, and try to avoid too much 'internal dialogue' and other musings, and keep up the pace with action/interaction/dialogue. Just a suggestion.
     
  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    I believe a sad story is even more melancholic if there is a touch of humor, joy, sweetness etc. So, you are right you have a problem there.

    May be your writing is very thought centric; concentrating mainly on the characters' thoughts. Try writing in a more physical sense. Be aware of the surroundings, the interactions and behaviors of the characters in those surroundings. While a scene itself may be humorous, but seen in the context of the story, it'll be sad. For example, in a story I read there were wannabe Indian migrants queuing up in the American Embassy in the 80s. The physical descriptions of the chars were funny, their tussle to be in the front of the queue was funny, the interactions of the non-English speaking rural folks with the American official was humorous, the contrast of the room they were in and themselves were witty, but the overall sense that we get out of the scene was very sad.
     
  8. Ion
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    Ion Senior Member

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    If you want to practice writing with emotion, you might want to try writing something in first person with a character that is feeling those emotions.
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    If, as you say, your work is melancholic, and if--I hazard a guess--it lacks pace, please use 3rd, not 1st person. I think 1st person will keep you bogged down in the reflective and over-personal, and your problems will remain unsolved. Turn outward to observe life around you, and try writing vignettes of life, not focussing on internal angst or diary-style philosophical stuff.
     
  10. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to have this problem too. I hated it because when everything is too serious or "deep" then it seems too try-hard. Being emotional is okay but depressing the reader shouldn't be your objective. If I read a book that's too down I get fed up and toss it aside no matter how beautiful the writer's use of words.

    You stated the problem in your original post. You said you use "long-winded passages" - scrap them. You'll find your story a lot livelier and fast-paced if you're not bogging the reader down with details that aren't essential to the story. A short and concise description is often more effective than a long-winded speech. Save the pretty words for a crucial point in the story to make it stand out more.
     
  11. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    To make your tone dazzle you need to set the readers up.... tease them , manufacter some joy then punch the chit out of them with melancholic pain......think of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
     

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