I am a VOICE snob. I love books with strong voices. That is why I have read every single book written by Mildred Taylor. According to About.com, “Voice has two meanings as it concerns creative writers:• Voice is the author’s style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character; or
• Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of a first-person narrator; a persona. Because voice has so much to do with the reader’s experience of a work of literature, it is one of the most important elements of a piece of writing.”
I agree. Make your work stand out. When I read, ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred Taylor, it was Cassie’s voice that captivated me. It was the sassiness within her that spoke to me. Cassie did not understand why the African-Americans were pushed around in Mississippi. The explanation was, “That’s just how things are.” But for Cassie, that was unfathomable. Even though she was a young girl of twelve, she realized that something was wrong with the community and VOICED her opinions often.
Also, I hate reading when voice is passive. This means, the usage of ‘had, was, should, could, were,’ etc. Write more in active voice. For instance, “He had eaten twenty burgers.” This is passive voice with the usage of had. Say, “He ate twenty burgers.” This is active voice. Get rid of ‘had, have, and has’ in your writing. Use strong active verbs and keep it moving. 😀
I read a lot of kidlit, especially picture books and Middle Grade. Strong voices dominate a book’s success. No one wants to read about boring characters who do no take risks and chances. So go now, write your story. Remember, you want a voice that commands a reader to stop and listen.