Tone versus Register

I recently ran across this post. It is too good to not share. I would give credit but I couldn’t find it. Maybe, someone could point me to the original author.
——————————————————————————–—————————————————————————–

Tone and Register in linguistics

I. In Writing, Tone Is the Author’s Attitude In written composition, tone is often defined as what the author (rather than the reader) feels about the subject. (What the reader feels about it, by contrast, is referred to as the mood.) Tone is also sometimes confused with voice, which can be explained as the author’s personality expressed in writing. Tone is established when the author answers a few basic questions about the purpose of the writing: Why am I writing this? Who am I writing it to? What do I want the readers to learn, understand, or think about? Tone depends on these and other questions. In expository, or informative, writing, tone should be clear and concise, confident but courteous. The writing level should be sophisticated but not pretentious, based on the reader’s familiarity with or expertise in the topic, and should carry an undertone of cordiality, respect, and, especially in business writing, an engagement in cooperation and mutual benefit. Expository writing shares with journalistic writing an emphasis on details in order of priority, so writers should not only organize their compositions to reflect what they believe is most important for readers to know but also use phrasing and formatting that cues readers about the most pertinent information — words like first, primary, major, and “most important,” and special type like italics or boldface, but employ both techniques with restraint. In creative writing, tone is more subjective, but it also requires focus on communication. The genre often determines the tone — thrillers use tight, lean phrasing, romances (hearty adventures as well as adventures of the heart) tend to be more effusive and expressive, comedies more buoyant, and so on. Some writing guides suggest that if you’re unsure about what tone to adopt for fiction, you visualize the book as a film — doesn’t everybody do that anyway these days? — and imagine what emotions or feelings its musical soundtrack would convey. Tone is delivered in the form of syntax and usage, in imagery and symbolism, allusion and metaphor, and other literary tools and techniques, but that shouldn’t imply that developing tone is a technical enterprise that involves a checklist. Just as with mastering your writing voice (while being flexible enough to adapt it to a particular project), adopting a certain tone depends on these and many other qualitative factors. Tone can also be compared to differing attitudes of human behavior — the difference, for instance, in how you behave at work, at church, at a party, and so on. Tone and voice are two features of writing that go hand in hand to create the style for a piece of writing. The attitude and the personality — two other ways to describe these qualities — could also be said to blend into a flavor of writing. Whatever analogy you use, make a conscious decision about tone based on the purpose, the audience, and the desired outcome of your work.

II. Linguistic Register and Code Switching by Mark Nichol “Linguistic register” refers to the concept of adapting one’s use of language to conform to standards or traditions in a given professional or social situation, and writers and editors will benefit from recognizing the distinction between registers.

The five general categories follow:

Intimate register is the highly informal language used among family members and close friends, and may include private vocabulary known only to two people or a small group, as well as nonverbal cues exclusive to the pair or group.

Casual register is the informal language of a broader but still well-defined social group, and includes slang, elliptical and elided sentences, and frequent interruption.

Consultative register is moderately formal language that marks a mentor-protege or expert-novice relationship, such as that between a doctor and a patient or a teacher and a student.

Formal register is language spoken between strangers or in a technical context.

Frozen register is ritualistic or traditional, as in religious ceremonies or legal proceedings.

Various registers, therefore, are distinguished by not only by sophistication of vocabulary but also by complexity and regularity of grammar and syntax. It is vital to note, however, that register is associated not with the speaker or writer but with the professional or social environment; a person can conceivably, within a given day, communicate in each of the five linguistic registers in assorted interpersonal interactions.

A related term is diatype, which means “language distinguished by the professional or social purpose,” and is often distinct from dialect, which means “language spoken by an individual or a group,” though a particular form of language may qualify for both definitions.

The three factors in diatype are:
1. field, or subject matter
2. mode, or the form of communication (written, spoken, and so on)
3. tenor, or the participants and their professional or social relationships.

Mode is further defined by the degree of preparation — whether the communication is improvised or prepared, or somewhere in between — and by the rhetorical purpose, including expository, narrative, or persuasive.

Another term relevant to linguistic register is code-switching, which varies in meaning but for our purposes refers to flexibility in adhering to a register within or between communications. One of the most noticeable examples of code-switching in U.S. urban areas is the divergent use by black people of standard American English and Black English (appropriately, known in a more formal register as African American Vernacular English). The difference between speech among adolescents and their conversations with parents and other authority figures is also code-switching. Writers and editors must be at least subconsciously aware of linguistic register. In fiction, a given character may necessarily shift among several, if not all, degrees in a given story, and the character’s fidelity to the appropriate register in each situation will in part determine the writer’s success.

III. Nonfiction also relies on attention to linguistic register, in that a topic for one article or essay may require consultative register, while another may call for casual or formal register — and the writer must sometimes consider whether code-switching within one piece is an appropriate strategy. (You get my drift?) This discussion does not suggest that writers and editors must dispassionately analyze writing for technical adherence to linguistic register in order to succeed. But wordsmiths who recognize the distinctions will be more successful in facilitating communication in both informational and creative prose.

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Invitation to Character types

Recently, I began thinking about characters and how they develop and change as a story progresses. Some of these changes are dynamic and some not so dynamic. I want us to remember the types of characters that can appear in a story.

Here is a list.

Round
Flat
Foil
Dynamic
Static
Stock
caricature
Antihero
Antagonist
False Protagonist
Characterization
Motivation
The protagonist
The secondary Character
Third person Omniscient
Third person limited
The Detached Observer
The Commentator
The Interviewer
The Secret Character

I rarely find many of these characters in stories and am motivated to wonder where they have wandered off. Did they find greener pastures in which to play? I wonder. Maybe, they stopped caring so much and stayed home. Regardless, we need to invite them out to play every once in a while. This we may find enjoyable, and, if we are lucky, we may find our writing improved as well. So, let us hear it for the forgotten character. The call has gone forth. Will you pick up the challenge and craft one or more of them into your next tale? I will.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cabin

Many of you may know that I follow Candace at Moment Sketchers. She has risen once again to the challenge and succeeded. Somehow she seems to activate my internals. This time she posted a blog about cabins. After reading it click here I was compelled, which I am usually not, to write a comment. So many comments are banal. I want to share my comment and maybe expand on it.
==================================================
Here is my comment:

So inspiring, I, as a writer, am thinking about spaces as loci for creation. The cabin motif stands as one such event. Cabins are unique in that they are separated from but by doing so they unify with.

Separate from Society/ Unify with Nature
Separate from the rush of life (qua skimming stone on water)/ unify with calm reflection (qua depth of inner being)
Separate from Exterior / Unify with interior (Although here this interior also has an exterior at the threshold like a window or door).

I love the cabins I have seen and experienced and lived and merged with over my years. They are mystic places for they never stand in the midst of society but exterior to it. Moreover, the openness they cause brings forth the fountain of creativity so sought for in life and so lost to us in society. We need these places of calm reflection as much as breath for both bring life and vibrancy to us and the world. Thank you for sharing. I dream of being able to sketch to paint to draw more than stick figures. Alas my craft is words. Still, I doodle. Mayhaps that is enough.
================================

End of Comment.

I think I will expand on it, just not right now.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing Process, Writing Theory, Writing Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writers Wanted

Our writing group is looking for writers interested in submitting short stories the our Thieves World additions. If you are interested, please contact Kevin Pajak for more details.

Posted in fantasy, Short Story, Thieves World | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thieves World installment #1

Finally, my first offering to the Thieves World universe is done. It took a bit longer than expected. Jim finished his (A Piece of Home), and I think his offering is fabulous. I hope you like mine.

Dance of Swords (Click Here) occurs in book seven (The Dead of Winter).

Both Jim and I started writing our offerings at the same time. However, mine took more revisions, which caused the delay. I actually published it several months ago, but just realized that I could not keyword/tag it as wordpress considers pages to not be tag-able (if that is a word). Jim suggested I make a blog post and use that to get the tags. So, I am.

Should you be interested in joining the other authors who are currently crafting Thieves World stories please feel free to contact me. I am more than happy to add a link to your story — If it is well written and remains true to the spirit set forth by Robert Asprin and Company.

Thieves World is a setting/universe where countless tales can be told within the confines of the twelve published works. These are all tales that should be told. I hope you join us in doing so.

Thank you,

Kevin Pajak

Posted in fantasy, Short Story, Thieves World | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Waves

How does one capture the sea?  Words have such stasis that they little serve. [i.e. have no potential/ities to *reflect that liquid flux] 

What is it that one finds so fascinating about oceans?  It seems that the mystical nature of the melding between light waves and water waves speak to us as intensities. The medium of water reveals many aspects of light’s nature.  People are forever holding this liquid up to the Li-G-ht. Holding it up into the l/I(gh)-T. The Light.  light.  To let the play of water and light bend and shift so a previously unknown facet can emerge in a way that our vision can see it.  This is not a pulling out of light one character of it.  (Rephrasing that last sentence: This does not pull out of light one of its characters.) No! This is wrong thinking.  Correct seeing understands that, when it is in water, light exists in a completely different way.  Light passes through water BUT it does more.  It plays. It sings. It dances.  It changes.  It bends reality.  It does all of this by immersion and blending, by melding and molding, by standing in the becoming flux/change.  This is the revealing play that water cha chas with light across the dance floor.  

So, how does one capture this with words?  In truth, it is possible to capture their interplay via words. The more depth and breadth covered in capturing either a moment or an aspect that has been revealed causes a **stretching in language.  It is here in this thinness where language has difficulty that light potentially falls out of language.  The mutable everchanging (i.e. Light) can only be discussed and capture in portions via language (i.e. words).  For the more one does so, the more language stretches.  At the limits of communication, language must become evermore incomprehensible to (capture) depict? Reveal… paint The Waves

Yes the waves of light and water through the medium of language can be discussed.  Alternatively, their interaction can be painted.  

Just as Candace Rose Rardon does in her watercolor.  Click Here We see in her water color beautiful, playful, emerging waves of light diving and melding with water.  
But where does that leave the word smith? I return to my initial question. How does one capture the sea? 

First we need to understand light.  Unlike the way light shines on objects natural or man made [refer to Martin Heidegger’s works], light merges and blends with water.  

So, we have to use language in new ways if we are to bring vibrancy and fullness to the sea in the ways that painters can.  It requires re-vision/ing of language.  We writers will have to demand the freedom needed to speak in these new ways. We will have to wash the readers in The Waves of words that are filled with a fresh newness.  The pounding surf echoes across time fluxing in the vibrancy of light giving the ocean depth of being.

As I watch these new rhythms of language unfold in my mind, the vision builds and I am washed away in light and water to be set adrift on the ocean. 

———————————————————–

* more on reflection ala mirror ala reverberation later

** I want to explore the concept of how the stretching language occurs as a result of capturing light.  Its is as if light fills language beyond language’s capacity to communicate. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IN-SIDE the Music!!!

It’s all about the music but sometimes you want to hear the music in side the music.  You are in the music. IN SIDE it! Can you see the streams?  Here, take this.  It’s the music music pill. It’s called Leary’s. Freak the shit out!  It’ll let you see the threads so you can reach out and strum ’em.

YEahh dude. There was this one cat who heard the seen music so hard that he died IN-SIDE his own head.

WOW! I want ta go out that way dude.

Dude!

dude….

D….u…d…e….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment