i am extremely tone deaf. i can’t carry a tune (singing or whistling) if my life depended upon it and i definitely can’t tell an A from a B flat or a G minor. (is G minor even a note? or is it a chord?)
anyways, that’s not my point.
my point is: tone as it relates to voice in writing — it’s me, what else would i mean? :)
and see, that right there is what’s bothering me. the :). it’s so hard to properly convey the tone you want in writing, in emailing, and in blogging, and as such, it’s easy to be misread.
my intention with that post was to be silly. i mean, look at that drawing! i can’t not giggle, but all of the responses and emails and conversations i had about that post (save one) thought i meant it in a negative way.
and that’s where i’m confused.
is it because my blog’s tone of late has been negative? (sorry about that. i’m working to remedy this.) or is it because you were in a bummer mood when you read it and that colored your perception of it? or is it because i didn’t put in a :)?
i think the :) is a lackadaisical crutch we have ALL been guilty of using. instead of carefully selecting the proper verb (like she skipped, he sauntered, they frolicked), we use tired, but tried and true verbs like (she jogged, he ran, they walked) and add in a :) to convey the proper tone.
but then again, what if i’d put in a :p versus a :D versus a ;)? would it make you laugh harder because you thought i was smiling bigger or winking at you? where does the writer draw the line? with a simple smiley? with no smiley? with bolder word choices? with illustrations?
what about sarcasm? how do you make your words mimic the deadpan expression on your face?
or on your character’s face? how do you establish a character’s identity before he even speaks so that when he does open his mouth, you (as the reader) will immediately know if the tone is sarcastic or serious?
i suppose this is a CHALLENGE ACCEPTED situation and i’m going to have to work harder on my word choices so that emoticons are no longer necessary. you should be able to read “i opened the window, glanced up at the stars, and relaxed in the chair as i waited for the alien invasion” versus “i closed all the shades and crouched behind the couch clutching a baseball bat as i waited for the alien invasion” and know what the intended mood is.
provided i don’t throw in an errant ;) after “i crouched behind the couch,” but then again, sometimes rhyming is just the thing you need to help pass the time until the aliens arrive.
unless they’re the kind of aliens that prey on tone deaf females.