Many writers conflate the two. Your writing voice reflects who you are, your unique personality and character that should flavor everything you write. So, voice is what you say, and tone is how you say it. Imagine you and I have an appointment and you get caught in traffic and show up half an hour late. Avoid the mistake of telling your reader what to feel. Instead, convey your attitude or emotion with carefully chosen words that create the perfect tone for your story.
Okay, for example, a story could convey an attitude of humor or sarcasm toward its characters and events, signaling to the reader that the material is to be taken with a grain of salt. Or perhaps an attitude of sincerity and earnestness is created through subtle content and language manipulation, telling the reader to take the story seriously. Think of how you use tone of voice to convey your real meaning when speaking with a friend. Tone can change the meaning of the declaration "Nice outfit. You can turn it into a compliment, sarcastic remark, or envious comment. It all depends on the way you say it by changing the inflection, your emphasis on certain words, and the vocal range you use. Combine all that with your body language or facial expressions, and you convey your tone.
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The tone in a story indicates a particular feeling. It can be joyful, serious, humorous, sad, threatening, formal, informal, pessimistic , and optimistic. Your tone in writing will be reflective of your mood as you are writing. Tone in writing is not really any different than the tone of your voice.
In basic terms, tone usually refers to how a writer uses certain words in a specific way to convey non-verbal observations about specific subjects. Not only does tone help to deliver facts, but it delivers them with an attitude. With emotion. With a personal perspective. Tone is sometimes used interchangeably with the voice of the author.
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