Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tone --> Mood

Mood is an important part of a story, obviously. Actually, mood and tone, as I have learned through analyzing poetry and speeches and such (yay English class!). When you as the author use a certain tone, you hope it invokes a certain mood: Tone --> Mood. For example, funny tone --> amused mood, somber tone--> sad mood, angry tone --> upset mood.

My question is, how well can different tones and moods mesh in a story? Generally when I finish reading a book I'm left with an overall mood, and I can think back and identify certain sections of the book that had different tones and therefore different moods. (For example, my overall mood after reading Mockingjay was WHATTHECRAPWASTHAT.) Often times the different moods really aren't so different; humorous tone --> amused mood can mesh with urgent tone --> suspenseful mood, like in Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe.

Some stories combine tones such as somber and humor, creating a sort of heartbreaking amusement. Or an amusing heartbreak. (For this blend I suggest Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick.) When done well (like in the aforementioned book) I find overall mood surpasses a "normal" tone/mood combo. When done ineffectively, though, the story is jarring, which detracts from each individual tone/mood and the overall feeling after reading it. When I tackle potentially unsettling combos in writing I try to keep a third tone or theme constant throughout all sections, to tie them together. How do/would you deal with writing these combos?

What are some interesting tone combinations you've read?

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