Writing With Juxtaposed Tones

Tuning Fork
 (Photo credit: Shaylor)

The past few nights, while working on my current WIP, I discovered that I was nearly subconsciously doing something with my prose that was at the same time fascinating as it was a personal best.

I wrote using two juxtaposed tones.

I will not post the chapter in question on this blog as I am entering it in a contest in January and the rules state that it may not be published in whole or in part, but it went something like this:

Two people met in a park to make up after a misunderstanding in their relationship, all the while being watched by a third party that gave the reader (hopefully) a feeling of claustrophobia.  The two of them slowly discussed their differences, the reason that they had the wedge driven between them, and as they romantically held hands, kissing tenderly, the reader knew through past chapters and in the adjectives and adverbs used that there was a definitive and palpable sense of danger surrounding them.

In essence, it was a very tender romantic scene swimming in a thick sea of foreboding.

I have taught AP Literature and Composition for years and we have discussed over and over the fact that good writing contains multiple themes, multiple tones and complex narrative.  I hope that I have achieved this in my latest novel, and since I usually hit my stride about two-thirds of the way through, I am feeling better and better about this effort.

What do you think about multiple juxtaposing tones?  I have written before about controlling tone in prose, namely using strings of adjectives and adverbs that have the same connotative meanings.  Post below and sound off about it.  And remember, if you don’t reach for the hard stuff you won’t ever stretch yourself as a writer.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

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