When you ask children's book editors what they look for in a manuscript or what makes one story stand above another, you'll often get responses like it has to have a "fresh voice", distinctive voice", "strong voice" or "memorable voice". It all comes back to the author's voice or the voice of the story. But what is voice?
Voice is one of those intangible things that’s hard to wrap your fingers around.There are probably dozens of different definitions of what voice is, but for me voice is what gives the story feeling and personality. It’s what lets you feel like you know the character. It’s the language and style of the story (i.e. POV, active voice, sentence structure, simile/metaphor, alliteration, rhythm, repetition, contrasts, onomatopoeia, exaggeration, allusion, etc.) , the tone, the rhythm, and the mood. It’s the emotion and personality of the characters, the narrative, and the story itself.
The bottom line is that voice is what makes the story come alive.
What's your definition of voice? What makes a story come alive for you?