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How Does Tone Impact your Writing?

A session with John Yarrow

Tone refers to an author’s use of words and writing style to convey his or her attitude towards a topic. Tone is often defined as what the author feels about the subject. What the reader feels is known as the mood. And don’t confuse tone with the author’s voice, which is the author’s personality expressed in their writing. Tone = attitude. Voice = personality. (

Tone has an impact. The author wants you, the reader, to know how he feels. There are a lot of techniques for conveying tone. But how do you know if you’re hitting the mark? Are you conveying the right tone? Google is a few clicks away if you want instruction on how to write tone.

Then you’re wondering what this blog is about, right? Simple. I found this great writing tool, and it’s free! It’s cool. It’s new. And it has artificial intelligence. Did I mention it’s free?

IBM has this huge AI monster called Watson. Well, they actually call it Augmented Intelligence. That’s a subject for another blog, though. IBM published a website so you can inspect the tone of your writing and it uses Watson’s AI to analyze your tone.

Click on View Demo. Enter your scene or text you would like to analyze and poof! It’s done. Here is an example of the first paragraph in my latest novel, The Future’s Dark Past.

As you can see, it analyzed it and came back with many distinct tones. Most are what I was shooting for to capture the reader’s attention. But Watson takes it a step further. You can click on each sentence and see what tones are in that sentence and score based on the Likert scale.

Now I can determine the impact my tone has on my writing! And to me, that’s a big help in my overall writing process.

Oh, did I mention it was free? Thanks Watson!


About the Author…

JOHN YARROW, a lifelong Texan, dreams as big as he writes. LEANNE YARROW is her husband's collaborative partner. Their fascination with what could be imbues the couple's storytelling with fast-paced, futuristic worlds in which witty compelling characters struggle for an enduring humanity. John's background includes degrees in English, Education, and a MS in Cognitive Systems. He honed his skills in The Creation Factory Writer's Workshop, adapted a novella for National Public Radio, and published articles in educational and technology journals. Leanne draws from her careers in education and program development to help bring fresh insights, incredible imagery, and clarifying details to their work.

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