This may take more than one post. The one thing editors seem to agree about in the subfield of writing for that crucial 8-14 demographic is that the hardest thing to get right is voice. Voice, for my purposes, is point of view, tone, the index of the narrator’s relationship with the reader and one of the book’s most important guides to who the book imagines the reader to be.
First off, let me state the obvious. There are lots of different kinds of middle grades books so there are, necessarily, lots of middle grades voices. Some have that faintly Dickensian tone: omniscient third person, slightly wry, often dark, but touched with wonder and edged with moral authority. This is the voice of fairy story and its contemporary descendents. Here’s an extract from Adam Gidwitz’s wonderful retellings of fairy stories, A Tale Dark and Grimm:
Hansel and Gretel are [...]
Continue reading Writing for Middle Grades Part III: Voice