At our last writing group gathering, I received some excellent advice. "You need to work on the voice" (or something to that effect...). And she was right. I knew it, and I think everyone in the room thought the same thing.
Finding the voice, it's so important.
The novel I wrote in November for NaNoWriMo needs a strong voice--not overbearing strong, but consistent, and more importantly, memorable. It's a middle-grade story and the story's got to somehow make itself stand out from all the thousands and thousands of other stories out there.
It needs a stronger voice.
This week I've done some editing to give my main character more of a distinct voice. He's twelve, the same age as my youngest. I tried, either consciously or unconsciously, to model the character after him. I thought as I wrote it that the character was weak and thin, but I knew when I wrote it that I'd be going over it again and again before it becomes a completed work. I just didn't know how I was going to give it more meat. It wasn't until I received the feedback and thought about it, that I had my answer.
In a recent Writing Excuses podcast episode they addressed writing middle-grade characters. They said a lot of main characters in those stories are smart-alics, boys who are snarky. I know why they're written that way--it's fun, and I think we all wished we could have said snarky things to the bullies in our lives all those years ago. Heck, we wish we could do it as adults--maybe that's why I and other adults enjoy reading these stories. But I didn't want my character to be necessarily snarky so I went another way. I hope it works.
Now I feel I can continue editing with a stronger main character, a person people will get to know better. It's got a stronger voice and that's something I'm excited to explore.