On tone, voice, and meaning

We're all guilty of it. The words we put on the page (the screen, the text message) may or may not reflect precisely what we think they do.

Words that are meant as innocent can be misconstrued as meaning more than you thought.

But that's the danger of writing, isn't it? Writers spend their whole lives crafting meaning and tone on white pages. Some can do it without much effort. Others (like me) agonize over it.

Words that are meant as innocent can be misconstrued as meaning more than you thought.

This is something I know, and something I really think about when in direct communication. But my writing, what does and doesn't get posted here or on my other blog, is done for me. Yes, I know others are reading it--I mean, I've put it out there for the world to see. But what a stranger takes from it is for them to decide. So, because I know what I mean in my writing, I've fallen into the trap of not crafting well.

Only now, someone I care about more and more is reading me. And some of my words have been thrown back at me. Not maliciously, just enough that I was left trying to explain what I meant. Well, more correctly, I was caught explaining not the meaning--that was clear--but more the implications of that meaning now.

I'm being vague on purpose...I don't really want to get into a discussion here of what exactly happened, because, honestly, it's not your business and I don't want your opinions. No offense intended, it's just that there's only one person's who's thoughts on this matter to me...and I hope that person knows it.

Anyway, I think this will be good for me, and my writing. It's prompting me to think more about intent and projected meaning. This is a good thing.

And (insert name here), thank you. I hope this will do some good things for us.
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2 Response to "On tone, voice, and meaning"

  1. SJ says:
    Sep 19, 2006, 2:16:00 PM

    People always like to read tone-of-voice into words, but they really can't. Unless of course, they know that when you say, "IDIOT!" you really meant that in a not nice way.

  2. Lane Savant says:
    Sep 20, 2006, 9:54:00 PM

    I can understand the need for vagueness.
    Sounds like a situation I got myself into recently.

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