Need A Sensitivity Reader?

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Writing In The Margins has helped writers create appealing words to readers for awhile. What I didn’t know, they also have dedicated time to help writers find sensitivity readers. With publishers understanding the need for diverse voices in today’s world, there’s been a push for these types of manuscripts. For those unfamiliar, the diversity push means publishers are looking for stories told by the minority voices.

But, what if you’re a male or female heterosexual Caucasian in perfect health who has a great story idea for a Muslim main character, or a fabulous manuscript for a lead character with autism? Does this mean you shouldn’t write it? Of course you should. However, what this really means is you’re possibly not the best person to write the story. But wait, I just told you to write the story. Of course, you can absorb yourself into research. After all, you can find nearly everything on the internet these days, and writer’s have done so with secondary characters. But, there is something else they do, which I recently learned about during WriteOnCon.

If you want to write a story with a diverse leading character and you’re obviously not what our culture considers to be a minority, then getting a sensitivity reader might be what you need when writing outside of your own culture and experience. Writing In The Margins has a list of sensitivity readers of Muslim, Judaism, Autism, African-American, Japanese, LGBT, Deafness, Latina, Transgender, and more!

This is how the site defines the sensitivity reader: A sensitivity reader reads through a manuscript for issues of representation and for instances of bias on the page.  The goal of a sensitivity reader isn’t to edit a manuscript clarity and logic, although that may be an additional service offered. A sensitivity reader reviews a manuscript for internalized bias and negatively charged language.  A sensitivity reader is there to help make sure you do not make a mistake, but they are also NOT a guarantee against making a mistake.

If you want to write a story with leading diverse characters and aren’t a minority, use someone from the site’s list to polish your script. As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.

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