7 Steps to Better Writing - Charles Maxwell 2020
Control the tone
Step 5 – Draft
Compose in an appropriate tone. Before writing, determine whether your tone should be conversational, direct, colorful, or something else.
An informal, conversational tone includes frequent references to people and ample use of the personal pronouns you, we, us, I, and me. This tone also embraces the use of contractions, common words, short phrases, and informal grammar.
On the other hand, a formal tone puts people at a distance. It avoids contractions and adheres to more formal grammatical construction.
A direct tone talks straight to the topic. It squares up the facts. It uses simple words, simple sentences, and simple logic.
In contrast, an indirect tone evades direct mention of real issues and meanders circuitously around the outlying margins of the topic.
A colorful tone springs forth with energetic verbs, concrete nouns, and bright adjectives to color and enliven the picture. It embraces metaphors and similes. A lively tone sings and dances.
Meanwhile, a dull tone uses lifeless verbs, abstract nouns, and generic modifiers. Passive voice is common.
Other tones you might adopt include:
In summary, choose a tone that matches your purpose. As you draft, strive to achieve that tone. It is not fatal if you do not achieve a consistent tone at the beginning, but keeping with an appropriate tone while drafting will save later revision time.