Tone is the attitude or feelings of a writer towards the subject matter or the audience. It is also the manner of writing about the subject, characters and theme by careful choice of words. Tone is expressed by diction, sentence structure, point of view, figurative language and the level of formality in your writing. Therefore, it is the way the author expresses his attitude through his writing.
Tone in writing is not really different from the tone of your voice. Sometimes, it is not what you say but how you say it. This means that the tone can change very quickly or may remain the same throughout the story.
Tone may be described as being formal, informal, cheerful, sentimental, approving, appreciative, sad, comic, abusive, mocking, condescending, sarcastic, critical, happy, romantic, sorrowful, lamenting, ridiculous, serious, sympathetic, bitter, melancholic, ironic, humorous, arrogant, solemn, optimistic, pessimistic, threatening among others.
Some types of tone:
Formal tone: It is the tone which is factual and objective. The words are written as you would find in textbooks and academic writing. This tone shows the writer’s respect for the audience; and it is the one that is used by educated people while communicating.
Informal tone: It is the casual/familiar/occasional/irregular/accidental tone. This is more personal as if you are talking directly to your audience. It is characterized by the use of slang, pidgin, proverbs, abbreviations, contracted words, short sentences, ellipsis, …
Comic tone involves the use of a funny or humorous voice in a literary text.
Sad tone: This involves the use of words that trigger feelings of sadness in the reader.