I once reviewed a young adult manuscript that had many characters, all of whom had different voices. In this case, the reader was dealing with teen slang and regional dialect, foreign and biblical characters, as well as talking fantasy animals. Few of them at this point in the writing had really well-developed voices, easily distinguishable from each other, and they often left me confused as to who was saying what. It’s an issue that’s very important to the readability of a story, especially with an audience of young people who have shorter attention spans than adults. Each of your characters must sound distinct, and this is where revising plays a major role in honing a well-crafted story.
Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil, and lately has spent much of her time as special projects coordinator for Little Pickle Press, a job that includes reading many children's book submissions. In her spare time, she critiques cozy and history mysteries for grown-ups, with particular attention to voice and detail. Contact her by email for manuscript critique costs. (Reduced rates for books with felines in the cast.) In 2012, she plans to spend many hours revising and preparing her own writing for publication.