How to Develop Style, Mood, Tone, and Unity

Writing Style, Mood, and Tone

by Mr. Lynn Carroll, writing tutor

Writing style is the elusive Holy Grail of the serious writer. Where does one find style? Certainly not on a store shelf or where X marks the spot on a treasure map. It isn’t written in ancient code, so where is it?

You’ll learn good writing stye when you study the masters — and also make it a point to study literature that has been published in the last five years. Can you copy style? Perhaps, to a certain extent. Here’s how: choose two or three paragraphs from an author you like. Read them over a few times and then rewrite them in your own voice. Read everything that author has written and a bit of it will rub off on you. Sorry, but that’s as close as you can get to copying someone else’s style.

Even the great painter, Michelangelo was once an apprentice. He unashamedly imitated the masters for years before he matured to his own style.

Style is something that comes from within. You can influence it, but you can’t change it to a large degree. Relax and be yourself. Since you’re a unique being and there is only one of you, your style will be unique.

Writing Mood and Tone

Mood and tone are part of style, and you can pull these two tools out of your toolbox at will, depending on the audience and needs of the article. Before you begin writing, set the mood and tone. What will it be? Light and breezy? Dark and gloomy? Informal and humorous? Somber and informative?

Whatever your choice, you must maintain the same mood and tone throughout the piece. This is part of what is known as unity. After you’ve made your choice, don’t try to mix somber with humor, or formal with informal.

There is much more to learn on this subject, and Creative Writing Institute will be happy to teach you. You need not wait for a new term to begin because we don’t use terms. Every student receives a private tutor. You can sign up today and start tonight. There’s no better way to learn than with a tutor, and no one will give you more individual attention than CWI. Be sure to enter our SHORT STORY CONTEST for BEGINNERS, now in session. Find information at CASH PRIZES!! Ends August 31, 2012.


3 thoughts on “How to Develop Style, Mood, Tone, and Unity

  1. Another helpful article. And informative.

    I have practiced rewriting literature that I enjoyed reading. It was a very useful exercise. Every time, I learned more about crafting sentences and paragraphs in a way that moved the story forward. The added bonus was that I deepened my own style of writing.


    1. Hi LOC. I’ve done that, too. As a matter of fact, I did it last night. I have learned that it takes me out of my own little private box and expands my mind (and the Lord knows it needs that). I’m going to try to do more of it. Deb


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