In August, I attended the SCBWI annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles. While I was there, I learned how to be a good regional advisor for Pennsylvania West, my home region. I learned about how to submit book manuscripts with back matter ideas. I learned that people in LA take their dogs into Target.
And I learned that writing with authenticity and respect in terms of diversity and representation is a part of CRAFT. It’s not about being politically correct or following a trend. It’s about doing research, learning everything you can, and writing or illustrating accurately.
Writing with Conscious Style
I was intrigued to find a postcard on a resources table for the Conscious Style Guide.
This website offers articles and resources to help creators be more conscious in their work. I’m reading an article a week to help me learn about what I don’t know.
Last week, I read an incredible article on the role of sensitivity readers by Marjorie Ingall. I know lots of people think they can’t write about any characters that aren’t like themselves now. They wonder if everything they create will go through some kind of screening. They are conflating sensitivity readers with censorship.
But sensitivity (and accuracy) is not censorship.
Ingall writes, “It’s also vital to note that white writers can still write characters of color; writers without disabilities can still write characters with disabilities; straight and cisgender writers can still write LGBTQ characters. They just have to be … well, sensitive. When they get it right, in my reading experience, they rarely attract opprobrium.”
And author Julie Berry argues, “Why wouldn’t you want to be as accurate as you can and as reverent as you can be about the real, lived humanity of the people you’re depicting?”
This week, I indulged in a favorite topic: science fiction and fantasy. I was thrilled to read about two of my favorite authors, N.K. Jemisin and Octavia Butler. I was also excited to add four new excellent fantasy series books to my To Read list.
Visit the Conscious Style Guide often. Read and learn. It will improve your craft.