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The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird

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Chapter Eight

Maintaining A Meticulous Tone

What is Tone?

Tone is one of the least-discussed aspects of writing, but never doubt that it’s one of the most important. Tone is how you control your audience’s overall experience and enjoyment. In some ways, controlling your tone is even more important than having a compelling hero: If your audience loves your tone, you’ve got them where you want them—even if everything else about your story sucks.

Your audience wants to be reassured right away that this is the type of story they like (funny, poignant, badass, etc.), and if it’s not, you have to subtly reset their expectations so they’ll enjoy it anyway. You need to set the mood, then gratify the emotional expectations generated by that mood. And ...

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