Cultural Consulting and Sensitivity Reading
Authors often struggle to approach writing from viewpoints not their own. I specialize in analyzing and providing feedback on works that include diverse, queer casts, representations of sexual trauma, and broader gender-based violence.
I will analyze your character work, plot arcs, and more to identity areas with room for growth with a focus on representations of gender and trauma. I will also help you identify bias, offensive or negatively charged language, stereotypes, and other related issues. When appropriate, I will highlight opportunities to improve on-page representation of gender or trauma.
Typically, sensitivity readers will provide a read-through of your manuscript alongside a few pages of general feedback. I take this a step further – this is a hyper-focused editorial pass with the intent of helping you take your manuscript to the next level. You can expect detailed write-ups, chapter by chapter notes, and opportunity to discuss how you can best fulfill your manuscript’s ultimate goals.
No sensitivity readers or editors can guarantee that your story will be free from all problematic content, nor can we guarantee that your representation will resonate perfectly with everyone with a particular identity. It is a way to catch major issues with representation or harmful text within your manuscript and take the next steps in exploring complex themes. Different readers will always have different perspectives – I will shine a light on as many interpretations as I can, but please understand that sensitivity reading/editing is not a foolproof way to avoid accidentally including offensive or problematic content.
Representation I read for:
- Queer sexuality including bisexual, pansexual, sapphic representation, and more
- Queer gender identities including nonbinary, trans women, and others
- Neurodivergence / neurodiversity, and broader themes of mental health
- Gendered violence or trauma, patriarchy, and sexism
- Sexual assault, rape, and harassment
If you are unsure whether my background will be a good fit for your project, don’t hesitate to reach out for more details!
I can help you with:
- Avoiding stereotypes and generalizations
- Descriptions and authenticity of character interactions, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and experiences
- Gender coding and stereotypes in characters and in relationships
- Tactful, authentic portrayal of sexual assault and related trauma responses
- Language surrounding gender representation
- Normative assumptions (e.g., the idea that all nonbinary people seek androgyny, women all seeking motherhood, marriage, etc)
Read about my own experiences with sexual assault here for additional insight into my personal perspective on sexual trauma. I include my story here not to say that it makes me an authority, but to convey that authentic portrayals of sexual trauma and gendered violence in literature are deeply important to me. I care about helping you get it right, not just for myself, but for your future readers. When done well, on-page representations of sexual trauma can be cathartic rather than retraumatizing.
Genres I Read For:
- Science Fiction
- Young Adult
- Middle Grade
Please note that I do not only read for novels. If you are working on a TTRPG, podcast, video game, etc., I am also pleased to work with you.
If you have a project that does not fit neatly into the above categories, I may nevertheless be open to taking it on. Contact me and we can discuss!
What I Provide
Final deliverables may differ slightly depending on the precise content and medium of your manuscript or project. For example, it may make more sense for us to have a Zoom conversation rather than for me to provide written feedback if you’re still in the outlining stage. Generally, if I am providing written feedback on a novel or other full-length book, I will provide you with:
- A fully annotated copy of your manuscript noting both positives and negatives.
- Final thoughts and overview in a 1 to 3 page document (depending on the length of your manuscript), analyzing the the manuscript from a holistic perspective.
My feedback will be somewhat similar to one of my more in depth reviews (example 1, example 2), except geared towards you as a writer rather than towards potential readers. Feedback will be more in depth and will note specific scenes and examples within the text. I will note the strengths and weaknesses of your manuscript, the themes and topics it explores, and make recommendations as to how you might improve the story.
Previously, I published an essay on the representation of sexual trauma in Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education. Read my essay here for an example of the type of feedback you can expect from my final thoughts document.
Pricing and Payment
Please contact me with details of your manuscript or outline for pricing. If you are economically disadvantaged, I am willing to be flexible where payment is concerned. Please include details of your situation when submitting, and we can chat about what will work for you.
Typically, I charge by the word for novels and short stories and hourly for most other works including outlines, TTRPG books, video content, and other content in that vein.
Please note that my prices are relatively high in large part because I sensitivity edit for material that may be traumatic or otherwise emotionally exhausting, especially in the case of sexual trauma. I cannot know ahead of time how a read will impact me or if an author will react poorly to critical feedback. It’s important to make sure this is worth both our time and that we are both serious about improving your manuscript and the on-page representation of queerness, trauma, and identity. In addition to this, I tend to provide highly in-depth feedback, frequently going above and beyond my stated deliverables when called for by the content of a given manuscript.
Before You Submit
Please ensure that your draft is free of major grammatical or formatting errors. If you have specific concerns, please communicate those in advance so I can focus on them in particular.
I accept excerpts and outlines if you are not ready for a full editorial pass. This is useful if you’d like some feedback to better understand if you’re going in the right direction.