Normally, pronouns tell the reader who is speaking or doing an action – He/him, she/her, them, they, etc. Writers can also use character names. Descriptors are what writers use to tell the reader what or who the character is – usually a one or two word description, for example, ‘the manager’ or ‘the victim.’ The use of pronouns means that ‘he said or she said’ are used extensively. This might sound intrusive to the reader, but they’re not as invasive as writers think. That’s because readers are so used to seeing them that they fade easily into the background without distracting them. It’s only when writers detract from this pattern that pronouns become less unobtrusive and more of a problem. They overuse descriptors and pronouns. One common dilemma occurs if all the characters in a scene are the same gender. This presents the problem of differentiating between which character is speaking or doing the action as a way to avoid them all being, ‘He said/he did this’ etc. If they’re
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How often do you think about the tone of your writing? You probably don’t, but it’s something that enhances the story and creates different layers within the narrative. Tone can work on different levels. There’s the main tone of the story and then there are undercurrents of tone, or undertones. The overall tone of the story is normally set out in the opening of the story and provides the reader with an idea of what kind of story it is – a horror, a romance, a thriller etc., and it can provide the pitch and resonance of the story to come. You can create the feel of an entire novel with tone. For instance, the tone of horror novel could be portrayed as dark, sinister or oppressive. The tone of a thriller might be shown as fast and exciting, while a romance novel might be light and flowery. These are overtones – they highlight to the reader the type of novel they’re reading. Then there are undertones – the mood, the attitude and the presence that your words can carry.