Author Joan Aiken says, in her book, The Way to Write for Children:
If you have found a voice for your book, even if the plot and characters are still at the embryonic stage of development, your battle is half won already.
I couldn't agree more - except to maybe argue that your battle is more than half won already.
At least, that is certainly the case for me.
I am just beginning a middle grade novel.
I'm in that painful, groping-in-the-dark stage - not quite sure of exactly where the story is headed.
Not 100% sure about a couple of characters.
But I know the voice of the book.
I don't mean the writing voice.
I mean the voice of the book - its overall aura - its style - its feeling.
I'm pretty sure my writing voice is fairly consistent - but the voice of my books changes.
Moonpie and Ivy is, for lack of a better word, kind of sad (okay, that's three words).*
Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia is light-hearted and friendly.
Greetings from Nowhere is a bit, hmmm, nostalgic? No, that's not the right word. Heart-warming? Yeah, maybe that's better.
But those are really descriptions of mood - which I think is an element of book voice.
Other elements are the rhythm, the pace, the overall tone, the word choice - most of the same elements that make up writing voice.
My current WIP is upbeat and humorous - and decidedly boy-friendly.
I'm 100% sure of the voice of the story.
So that makes it a heck of a lot easier to move forward with the stuff I'm not 100% sure of.
So - my tip?
Be sure of the voice of your book from the get-go. If you waffle along between edgy, humorous, dramatic, sad, upbeat, etc. - your struggle will be greater and your outcome not as rewarding.
*I once had a kid at a school ask me: "Why do you write such depressing books?" So, um, maybe depressing is a better word. Heh.