This is a friendly PSA to let you guys know that I’m now opening for beta-reading and some critique spots. Critiques are especially for queries and synopsis, and you can find them here on the website (prices and everything).
One of the things I’ve always said about accurate portrayal in fiction is the importance of having beta readers who have that experience. If you’re writing a bi character and are not bi yourself, please make sure you have AT LEAST one person who can do a sensitivity reading for you and your MS.
It’s the simplest thing in the world: if you’re writing a diverse character, it means you care. And if you care, it means you want to do it right. And the best way to do it right is by making sure you have readers in that diversity spectrum to help you write a better MS which isn’t offensive/ableist of either diversity or disability (in some cases, both). Most of the diversity talks rise in the YA community because the person hasn’t taken their time to get someone to read and point out the errors.
Getting a beta-reader from the background you’re writing on makes your writing better and more accurate, your portrayal is BETTER. Not just for regular readers, but the marginalized community you’re trying to present. A non-accurate portrayal is more harmful than no portrayal at all. The solution isn’t to just stop writing these characters, but be conscious of your choices and work hard to improve your own craft. Yes, because not writing an accurate portrayal is definetly bad craft.
This also relates to the importance of the #ownvoices project – where no culture, disability or sexuality can be better represented than the people who experience it. Ownvoices book should be prioritized always, and are in general so important for a more accurate portrayal of diversity.
That being said, if you’re a white writer and agree that diversity important, my overall comment is: GET SENSITIVITY READERS. People who can point out stuff for you that you can’t. People who can help you understand and portray better something that you don’t experience.
Right now, Justina from Writing in the Margins is compiling a list of beta readers and people who are willing to take on clients for beta-reading, especially regarding sensitivity reading. When the list is up I’ll link to this post, since it’s the reason I started writing it anyway.