Friday, April 19, 2013

What's Stronger, Words or Your Tone?

Photograph, grasses, Chesapeake Bay, Wind, Stormy, safe, Large, Peaceful
Bay Grasses

As I spend time watching television, I realize that a lot of producers for commercials create ads that prove that what we see in the tone is stronger than what we are hearing as words. Years ago, I watched the movie, Three Men and a Baby, and was so amused when the actor was singing a lullaby to the baby but using words that had nothing to do with the lullaby. Similarly, if you watch a prescription drug commercial today on television, they use the same concept. The calm music is playing and the actors are happy beautiful people enjoying their life in a wholesome and inspiring atmosphere while the words being spoken are terrible. How can you sell anything while you have to state that the
side effects are possible death, blindness, deafness and so on? It seems mind boggling, but thousands of Americans still buy the drugs! They are listening to the tone of the commercial and not so much the words.

Anyhow, how does that relate to me and my writing? Well thankfully, I can write what I mean and there is no backdrop of scenery but I do have to think about the tone of what I write. An author conveys his feelings through his tone so he has to place himself in the scenario and let the feelings take over reality. In the online article, Examples of Tone in a Story,  the author explains the use of tone nicely as a combination of word use and narration by the author.

When my children talked to their peers in their early teen years, they would use phrases like, "I hate you," but they did not mean what I thought. The whole tone of their conversation was playful and jesting with laughter and fun. At first, it bothered me, but then I realized it was how they talked and the tone behind it was still kind.

So my conclusion? Words are only as powerful as the tone behind them.

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