|Picture source: http://technorati.com/business/gurus/article/corporate-blogging-much-ado-about-voice/|
"Honestly, I think voice is one of the least "researchable" aspects of writing style. Because even if you manage to watch teens, or study teens, the best you can get from that is an imitation-sounding voice. If you can't remember your OWN teen voice, I wouldn't write it.
"However, you may be underestimating how well you do remember your voice. I know as a teen, I sounded a lot more intelligent in my head than the words that came out of my mouth, and more often than not, people would remark that I didn't sound like a teenager at all, and that was part of my personality. If this was the case with you, let your character be the exception. Some teens are more mature than others. Some don't cuss, and barely use slang. Some have big vocabularies, and are considerate of others.
"YA doesn't have to be stereotypical. As a matter of fact, TRYING to sound like a NORMAL teenager may not appeal to teen readers who are anything but stereotypical.
"This reminds me of a bad review Orson Scott Card got on Ender's Game. A critic once said "Children don't speak like that. They don't even THINK like that." And Orson's reply was, "No, YOU didn't think like that."
"You'll always have someone tell you your voice isn't coming across "right." The only thing you can do to ensure that it is? Is by using your own, authentic voice.
"So don't worry so much about "listening to kids" so you can try to find someone *else* inside you. Read your old journals, your high-school notes, think of memories you have, how you acted around boys...bring yourself there and go, "Why did I do that? What was I thinking? What was I really feeling?" And best yet, "Did I even realize that at the time?"
"Because this is your heart, and your voice. Not ventriloquism.
"Best of luck, and what a thought-provoking post!"
... THANKS Christine for the great words of wisdom.
How about everyone else?
How do you feel about the topic of voice? Have you mastered it?