*Necessary obsequence* As a writer, I often have difficulty with tone of voice, I find it hard to get the necessary one across and often rewrite paragraphs to fix it. My question is how do you deal, and how many of your edits involve tone?
*Curtsies* So, I think you might be jumping the gun a little bit. This is just my personal take, but I have a really hard time writing any significant part of a story if I’m not comfortable with the voice and it’s not coming naturally. What this means is that I spend a lot of time before I even really start writing experimenting with voice and tone and fleshing out the character (if it’s first-person narration especially). This usually includes writing a lot of ‘headcanon’ scenes that won’t actually be included in the book, but will serve as a kind of trial-and-error to figure out the sound. It takes time, for sure–especially when I’m starting a new project and I’ve been cozy and comfortable in one character’s head for the better part of a year and then have to switch to another.
For example: My MC from my first novel and the MC from my WIP are wildly different characters. The first is a little clueless, unobservant, slow on the uptake, totally naive. The second is sly, smart, mean, and sharp as a tack. That can be a difficult transition to make, and I eased myself into it by playing around in the new MC’s brain for a while. I wrote ‘scratch’ scenes and ‘what-ifs’ and dialogue and drew timelines and mined details about him–and all the other major characters–until I felt confident and comfortable with his voice. (This is a great way to use all those ‘imagine your MC/OTP/favorite character’ things. Why not? How does your MC react when the toaster catches him off-guard? Might seem silly but even little things like this will help to make him three-dimensional.) I can’t recommend this strategy enough, because in the long run your story will be more coherent. Not to mention, when you spend enough time on the ‘voice’ that it’s second-nature, you don’t have to think about it, and you’ll spend a lot less of your revision time going, “This doesn’t sound right.”