Specific Writing Quirks for VOYA Reviews, Update October 2016
THIRD PERSON WRITING
VOYA reviews are always written in the third-person voice. That is because using personal pronouns is less professional and more prone to including judgment words. When you are forced to use third person writing, your comments will become more fact-based, and less judgment-prone. Basically, this means not using personal pronouns, such as “I,” “we,” “you,” etc. This can be challenging sometimes, so here are some tips for getting out of first person and into third!
- First-person pronouns (NOT TO BE USED IN VOYA REVIEWS) include: I, me, my, mine, myself, we, us, our, ours, ourselves
- Use indefinite third-person nouns, such as “the reader” or “readers.”
- Incorrect: “I want to read all the books in the series again because the finale was so amazing.”
- Correct: “Readers may be tempted to go back and read the whole series, just to enjoy the finale once more.”
- Incorrect: “Even though John thinks these actions are acceptable, I do not agree.”
- Correct: “Even though John thinks these actions are acceptable, readers may disagree.”
- Incorrect: “If you still want to keep reading, then you will probably be happy with the surprise ending.”
- Correct: “Readers who keep reading may be happy with the surprise ending.”
- Incorrect: “I really loved this book and could not put it down until the very last page.”
- Correct: “Readers will thoroughly enjoy this story, and will want to find out what the surprise ending has in store for the characters.”
VOYA reviewers should always use people-first language when referring to characters. This is to avoid perceived and subconscious dehumanization when discussing characters.
The basic idea is to use a sentence structure that names the person first and the condition second. For example, write “a teen with disabilities” rather than “a disabled teen” or “he is disabled,” in order to emphasize that the character is a person first, and the condition is second.
People-first language can be applied to any character who is usually defined by a condition rather than as a person: for example, “people who live on the street” rather than “the homeless.” Another example: use “a high school junior who stutters,” rather than “a high school junior who is a stutterer.”
If you are unsure about whether or not to use people-first language regarding a particular character, just email me. I’m here to help!