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Get Ready, Set, Tone!

By Author: Kenneth Hall

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The mid-January air felt like ice. It clawed at her cheeks as she wandered through the woods, not knowing where she was or where she was going. Her feet were numb from the white snow that devoured the whole land, and her breath was coming out in thick clouds. A cap of snow blossomed atop her head; cold flakes tangled in her dark hair and stuck on her curled lashes.
Everywhere she looked she could see snow. The trees were white from root to branch and the sky above was smothered in gray cotton.
Maybe she got away, was her only thought as her frozen fingers clutched her winter coat. Her heart was pounding against her shivering chest and her teeth were chattering from both the frigid weather and fright.
Why was he trying to kill her? She didn't do anything!
Exhausted from escaping near death, she laid her back against the trunk of a nearly invisible tree and closed her eyes to catch her breath, which was becoming more and more labored as if icicles were hanging from inside her lungs.
She was so caught up in trying to get her breathing back to normal that she didn't hear the muffled footsteps behind her or see the gloved hand that swooped around her face just before it slammed over her mouth.
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Two other factors that create a story are setting and tone.
The setting can be any place imaginable such as New York City, China, or even Mars. But who says the setting has to be real? You can create your own town or a whole new world!
The setting can be as simple as a school (Harry Potter) or a hotel (The Shining). Some settings may include a date (for a historical novel) or a season. A romance novel can be set in July for a sweet and steamy summer romance, while a horror novel can be set in January for a scary and chilling read.
My short teaser in the beginning is set in the woods in the middle of January during a snow and ice storm.
The tone of a book is how you write (how the author feels). The tone for my teaser could be considered urgent and frightened.
While tone should come naturally as you write other examples of tone are: humorous, serious, mournful, happy, guilty, and condescending. Tone can also change throughout the story much like our tones (aka attitudes) can change throughout the day.
Now get ready, set, TONE!

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