Sensitivity reads have become an important aspect of editing in recent years. When an author who does not identify with a characters’ demographic writes experiences or narratives from that character’s perspective, a sensitivity read—also called a diversity read—can help point out any potentially harmful stereotypes that a character may be subjected to in the book.
If it’s safe to say that we’re all aware of the need for greater, more accurate representation of marginalized voices in publishing, then how do controversies like the one around AMERICAN DIRT continue to happen?
Words have power, and the way fictional stories about mental health are told can have just as crucial of an impact on readers as facts presented in news outlets. Editors have the responsibility to put forth stories that promote a respectful and authentic perspective on mental health, and below are four practices they can implement to achieve this goal.
Research is an important aspect of writing, often prompting authors to reach out to experts in the topics they are writing about. But things start to get complicated when we talk about fiction.