I Am A Serious Writer

Hello, friends. Today in Writing A Book Is Tantamount To An Exorcism, I wanna talk about whatever comes nonsensically out How I Write.

Many times, you will be asked that very question. “How do you write? What’s your writing process? What’s your deal? What the hell is the matter with you?” people will say, or something along one of those lines, and the best way to answer that is by ignoring the Terrified You being held against their will in a small cage inside your head and power through as though Public Persona You knows what they’re doing. Make very declarative answers. Grand, sweeping and often moral statements that you intend to be broadly applied to writers you’ve never met – because that’s what the listener is going to do with it anyway, why fight it. The important thing is that you never, ever admit that every single book was written differently, and if you weren’t a colossal hoarder of self-records, you would have zero memory how it happened, because you woke up sore and in a stupor, your body beaten and broken, and beside you was a bloodied collection of pages, which you quickly threw at a passerby, thereby making them a CP.

I’ve written blog posts before about The Things I Need To Start Writing, which I’ll just quote here because sending you to a post from 2013 is just jarring (for me, no one’s thinking about you) and wow, life changed since then, I mean not specifically then, but in the time since, and this kind of mental scramble is precisely what I was trying to avoid. Thanks for your help.

[I have redacted references to projects you still know nothing about.]

a) Concept – This is one of the most AHA! moments – or at least, the first.

b) First look – This is either the first line of the story/book or a mental movie of the first scene. This one’s interesting because it’s not tethered to a particular point in the process. Sometimes the first line happens several times. Like in the case of rewriting. The thing is, it has to feel like “the one” every time for me to move forward.

c) Music – Yeeees. This is a big one. Again, this one isn’t set in stone, in terms of when this happens. I do not understand people for whom music is not everything. I do not. [ETA: As I’ve said elsewhere, this is about finding a song/usually instrumental that captures the …aura(?) of the story. The tone, fine.]

d) First query – [ETA: Yeah, this where one tests the stakes and the emotional logic flow, I find.]

e) Title – Man, this is another one that has become sort of paramount. Because titles come quickly to me, when one doesn’t, I’m missing something very important to my process. The title is everything. First of all, I keep a lot of “administrative” documents and I HATE them being titled after the main character, unless of course it’s also the title, which has only ever been the case with Keepsake, and even then, it’s not her given name. [ETA: ….AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA]

I need these things.

So. How much of this is still true.

Well for one thing, I’m 3/4 done with a project that’s still named after the main character, if that tells you anything. So Title, you’re not that important to me anymore. We’ve grown apart. It’s not me, it’s you.

Now writing a follow-up (and I am intentionally not saying sequel, yes, because sometimes it’s just a follow-up, kids, and I’m not sure companion book works for me either, if it does still necessarily chronologically follow the first book), a couple things are different from jump.

(a) Concept is locked in. Woot.

(2) You can get surprisingly far into writing without a Query because (i) you are very familiar with the character, due to having already written some of their story, even if they weren’t the main character in the first book, and (%) your First Look for this story might also have appeared in book 1.

But that still leaves Music, and in a follow-up with a different main character, this is still seriously important to me. Namely so that this character, who lives in the same world and concept, doesn’t sound like the first one.

Can we just talk about the things that are different this time around that I’m gonna unnecessarily declare are my new requirements despite that this is not my first or third or fifth rodeo and I should know better?! Thank you.

(F) First Chapter – this isn’t 100% new, but apparently I didn’t do it in 2013, so here we are. Pretty sure First Look evolved into this because before I was writing this book in earnest, I had three first chapters to choose from – one of which was so far from what I’d thought it was gonna be like that I knew I wasn’t ready to actively write it.

(D) Synopsis – homg, this was a game-changer. Allow me to pause here and say: Don’t come into my comments (where no one comes anymore anyway) telling me about how you’ve always written synopses first. That’s great. Good for you. I did not. But my life has undergone some very bandwidth-gobbling transitions, and I genuinely had my first experience of I’m Pretty Sure I’ll Never Write A Full-Length Novel Again Because Who Can Even Do That, so when I was asked for a partial (which I already had because Ease of Flowing Into Second Book) and a synopsis, it was a blessing. As well as an easy, two step process.

Step one:

terror

Aaand step two:

Phew

And of course, now I’ll swear by it, until it doesn’t happen for a future wip, at which point, My Process will change again, and I will die on whatever hill that is.

Because you see, the way in which book writing is like an exorcism is that whatever gets the demon out is the right way to do it. (I don’t know very much about exorcisms.)

I was gonna talk about this whole Every 15k Make A List Of Important Facts/Themes/Plot Points That Mustn’t Get Abandoned thing I’ve also been doing, but this is long and unwieldy and I’ve lost my devotion to it.

nonsense

Of course, of course

I have never heard of The Horse Latitudes as a metaphor, a reality, an obscenely popular title for books and poetry. Now I fear I shall think on nothing else.

Katharine Coldiron reviewed MEM for Locus*, and then was kind/awesome enough to come meet me at my Los Angeles launch event! (This is where I would put a picture, if I’d had the presence of mind to take one, like COME ON. So here’s a really unflattering one where I had to take my glasses off to read because according to the specialist I finally say, I may have a thyroid issue but I definitely have a focusing mechanism failure and I’m too young for bifocals but have to have them.)

img_0888

Imagine looking this good at your launch event, eyes awonk and manspreading for the gods while Amelia Gray looks far more composed and presentable, thank the Lord.

*Understand that just typing that phrase and remembering that’s a reality made my brain melt in WHAT IS LIFE. Also, that’s a link, get thee to heaven, Beatrice.

But back to Katharine (not pictured), and reviewing MEM, and then Horse Latitudes. O_O She shared a new review/collection of mini-reviews today, and I DIED. And went on this little Book Soup reminiscing tangent to explain the connection and why I am writing this blog (if you can call it that).
screenshot 2019-01-28 14.58.21
Tell me that picture doesn’t sell it. And then, if you’re like me and had no idea what the concept was, it just gets weirder.

 

Wow, I thought, how many books are called that? And can I write a group review of them?

A lot, I learned after some investigation, and yes, you’re reading it right now.

The books are then ranked and rated according to enjoyment, title relevance, and a quote is given. All of which culminates in an offer to send one lucky reader all twelve of the Horse Latitudes.

Yes! I bought them all and now I want to give them away. Desperately.

In summary, Katharine Coldiron is a delight, and if you’re dying to read a little or a lot about horses tossed overboard or eaten…you know where to go.
jericho

Latifah’s Had It Up To Here

I have no doubt I’ve used that title before. There’s just no universe in which I haven’t.

If you don’t follow me on Twitter you don’t really know me you may have missed yesterday’s big, exciting, fantasmic cover reveal! And its sadly relevant timing.

(So this post is gonna be heavy on the Twitter screenshots, frenz. Because it’s easier than just repeating myself, eh.)

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There is no hilarious intro for this. “Four 12-year-old girls, who are Black, were questioned and strip-searched by the school nurse and assistant principal because they seemed giddy during their lunch hour and were suspected of possessing drugs.”

Imagine your middle school sisterhood joviality abruptly ending with two adults ordering you out of your clothing. Imagining it will break something inside of you, if you’re still anywhere near a whole and functional person, but imagine it anyway because it happens to children much younger and more at risk than you.

Imagine if we were what they say we are. The penalty for this treatment….whew.

But I cannot just sit all day, imagining the vengeance and destruction that has been earned. Because there are children who feel frightened, not furious; confused, not confident. And I would rather give them my attention. I need to.

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And so the anthology I’ve been editing and writing for since this whole nightmare administration began. TAKE THE MIC: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance has poems by Jason Reynolds, Samira Ahmed, and Keah Brown; art by Connie Sun; stories by myself, Darcie Little Badger, Yamile Saied Mendez, Sofia Quintero, Laura Silverman, L.D. Lewis, and Ray Stoeve. It reps for Black kids, Muslim kids, Queer kids, Latinx kids, Jewish kids, Indigenous kids, disabled kids, because no we’re not tryna make somebody wait. 

This cover reveal, and knowing this anthology is soon come, is literally what stopped my chest hurting and my rage crying yesterday. It’s how I can be of some use. How I can funnel all the anger and hurt and refusal to let this stand into something that – I hope and pray – is salve for somebody else’s wounds. Is a shot of adrenaline or encouragement or fuel for someone who thought they couldn’t do it again, not today.

I cannot wait to release this collection. Wheeeeew, Lord. 

takethemic

Click the image or this sentence to add it to your Goodreads TBR!

And it didn’t really stop there. Because I’m currently in the process of drafting. And I could tell you more (cryptically) but again, why repeat when I can just retweet.

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Because homegirl is unapologetically upset. And we know that’s not allowed, not even after all these think pieces about The Power Of Being Pissed Off, it never quite extends to Black Women. The policing never seems to end. So yes, let’s challenge who gets to be angry, and whether even the most conscious reader who is intentionally trying to unpack their prejudices can really stave off the automatic dislike. Because I am giving no freebies, no cracks in her self-confident facade that allows the reader to see the weakness they must witness to offer any sort of grace. Not today. And that news story up top? It gave her something to say.

And the church said?

latifah

This Things I Believe

Simpsons.

ANYWAY. I’m here for so many reasons. Because I feel like writing but don’t have words for the projects I’m actually working on. Because I can’t journal about the thing I’ve been journaling about again and expect to get the same level of fulfillment. Because it has been oppressively cold for the past few days and there’s ice under the snow and Ezra’s been too busy living his best life to keep my walkway clear, but MY GOD. [Preacher.gif] He gave me a balmy 23 F today and it makes all the difference.

Musically, I am currently* obsessed with Monica Martin (and all the groups she’s been in), Violents (sans MM), Tender. I’d post YT vids like I used to but I realize there’s a chance folks outside the US can’t see that anyway, so my laziness wins out.

*Surely you know me well enough to understand that this is a literal allotment of time. This may be applied with certainty only right now, at 12:59 PM EST, on January 15th. Please request a new list of artists if such time has passed.

But really, what I want to talk about are performances/projects that actually surprise you. It’s so rare, to be honest. Surprise is not something you get to experience often, and I don’t think that’s just me. We’re all in the same aquarium, which is why it can be so insufferable when people declare themselves out of the ordinary. Because we would love to experience someone who really is, content that really is, and we know from experience and disappointment how unlikely that is. And then sometimes you find it, and – again, in my experience – it’s not a wholly positive experience. Like I said, we’re all in the same aquarium and as much as we hate to admit it, [insert various qualifiers and contexts] it feels good to go with the grain. Aside from which, it takes very directed effort not to and not to have our expectations best satisfied by the familiar.

BUT ON TO WHAT I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT.

This.

zone one by colson whitehead

And this.

equals the film

My experience of these admittedly very different things actually has quite a bit of overlap, my apologies to Colson Whitehead (which is probably a very elitist thing to say, since I deem his project the more serious of the two, as an act of contrition I shall something something).

Anyway, to start, please keep this between us. 

Thank you.

Zone One was my second or third attempt at reading CW, because his concepts grab me immediately (The Intuitionist, anyone, c’mon), and his language is so satisfying. Until it isn’t, and I’m drowning. It’s not that it changes, it’s that it’s unrelenting. Which makes it feel intentional, it just occurred to me that I shouldn’t be writing this and that I intentionally don’t review things but I feel that Mr. Whitehead is doing well and shan’t be bothered, but also, it comes around.

And Zone One genuinely shouldn’t have been the one that worked for me – and to be honest, had I not gone against my nature and forced myself to finish it, it wouldn’t have been. But the reason it shouldn’t have from jump is zombies. I don’t do them. I do not understand the appeal, and the only zombie movie I’ve watched is I Am Legend, pretty sure, because the delightful melancholy! The inevitable tragedy of it all. Anyway, so Zone One.

Just like my other attempts, I started out like, “Why do I keep forgetting how good he is, homg, this is brilliantly worded” and then the words started to trample me, but I was like, I refuse not to be able to say I’ve finished a CW book, this is ludicrous. (I cannot explain this feeling, since I do not care about reading particular people or finishing books for the sake of it.) And I was legit angry at some point leading up to the middle. I literally told the book to SHUT. UP. Or Colson, probably. Like,

I GET IT. THE CITY IS A CHARACTER AND YOU WILL CONTINUE TO DESCRIBE BUILDINGS AS THOUGH THEY WERE BORN AND NOT BUILT AND THERE ARE SUCH LAYERS AND MUCH COMMENTATION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND KEEP THE WORD SALADS AT BAY.

(I am so sorry, please remember that it is one of my five star reads and that I am courageous in my honesty right now.)

And then I read on (here I feel it’s necessary to say, no, this will not keep me from DNFing work that is not for me, be quiet). And sweet mercy, that is a come-around for the ages. That book. That heart-wrenching, devastating, foreboding and strangely hopeful book. There are so few times that I genuinely feel the main character was required for the execution, for the resolution. It couldn’t have, wouldn’t have been this story without them. But Zone One is one of the two times I’ve felt it strongly. Colson made me a believer. Ugh.

Excuse me while I just run through different scenes in my head, which is what inevitably happens whenever I try to talk about this book. Maybe I believed it before this book and I’m just agreeing with something I already felt, but he so masterfully composes a world and conclusion that believably proceeds from where we are, and demonstrates why the heroes we’ve mythologized for so long could not survive it, I CAN’T EVEN EXPRESS THIS PROPERLY, COME SIT IN SILENCE WITH ME, WIDE-EYED AND NODDING, KAY.

Me, upon finishing the last page:

bob unhinged

It … just kept escalating.

And then Equals.

So I wanted to see this movie because I like Kristen Stewart (a lot and in a way I probably can only admit because I never saw or read Twilight. I stand by my flawless judgment.) and also the dude, (though he’s only attractive from very specific angles, but he’s tall and isn’t it sad how far that takes some dudes) and because the trailer used a very devastating Aurora sample into which I was deeply immersed at the time.

Pretty immediately upon starting the movie, I was like. Oh. Okay, so this is everything we’ve ever already seen. It’d be easier to just say, “This is just We,” but since so many of you heathen are heathens, I’ll set my tongue on fire and say it in a way you’ll understand: This is just 1984 A Brave New World THX 1138 We. This is just We. Sorry, I couldn’t do it.

Like, I can see that they were really trying to bait me in particular, what with the slow, and quiet, and troubling, and yes, I do think I’m always the target audience, prove me wrong. But like. Justify yourself, Equals. Amirite. Like, why do you need to exist, exactly?

And I felt like that almost the whole way through the movie – which is, of course, much easier to tolerate in a visual medium – especially when the stakes weren’t what they traditionally are. They were stakes which, at first glance, were only stakes to the characters in the movie. Which…actually, I adore from a creator perspective even more, because otherwise, they’re stakes for the viewer’s expectations, which means they’re stakes with which we’re familiar and probably fit a formula, and this is the whole aquarium socialization I was referring to at the onset. They were only life and death if you refuse to live without love. Which. yeah, those are pretty high stakes.

And then – uuugh I wanna spoil this, you don’t mind right?

The end completely justifies the movie, and broke my friggin heart. It was such a Romeo and Juliet IF YOU HAD JUST WAITED TWO SECONDS WHYYY and then the heartbreak of loving someone who can’t love you back anymore. But still honoring the commitment. IT GOT REAL, VERY QUICKLY, IS WHAT I’M SAYING, MY HEART.

Me, at the end:

how

And I have been thinking of them, by myself, ever since. Both. Because I have exactly zero people in my life who have read or watched this, as far as I know, please prove me wrong, someone because I NEED. I have such feelings. Have mercy on me.

Enfin.

MEM releases in paperback in March. Click-y the pic-y to pre-order!

mem paperback cover

Up and comings and down and dones

Oh, life.

HA. You thought I was going to quote the entire opening to REM’s Losing My Religion, but I’m NOT because that song is NOT the boss of me, and I’m singing it in my head anyway because the lengths that I will go to. The distance in your eyes.

headdesk

And so anyway.

If you guessed that what follows will have nothing to do with this preamble, congratulations. You know me well.

FIRST. Up and comings!

This Saturday, August 18th, at 1pm, I’ll be meeting readers (one hopes) at Indigo Dix30 in the Montreal area!

Screenshot 2018-08-15 22.05.53

This is my first Montreal appearance, and since MEM is set in Montreal and all. It’s a whole thing. You should come and take selfies with me, or whatever.

SECOND. The down and dones, but still super excitings! I am so happy that my PBS interview finally aired, as well as my Great American Reads recommendation spot, and the primary school age Bethany who stayed up to watch Masterpiece Theater is finally in awe of me! Like, LOOK.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-26,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Such fun. And hush, yes, of course I’m gonna share the vid as well!

First my spot!

And finally, the interview!

Some day I’ll be able to share the footage from my Books Are Magic event in Brooklyn, during which I had an awesome conversation with Jenn Baker, but alas. It is a huge file and I have zero idea how to share it well. One day! xx

Woody’s Roundup!

I was gonna call this post, “Welcome To The Month of Mem!” but then I wouldn’t have been able to use this gif:

woody

You can see the bind I was in.

Also can we take a minute and talk about how this was the single funniest moment in a pretty funny franchise, and I have such a vivid memory of laughing my head off about this with my childhood bestie, Serrana? I don’t even remember if she found it as funny, but I – who had been in love with Tom Hanks since Bosom Buddies because I was a strange child, and by the way was that theme song not needlessly aggressive and confrontational?! – nearly wet myself the first seventeen times I saw Woody strut out of that box.

Wow, you guys get super easily distracted.

ANYWHO.

We’re here for a round-up. Because we’re T-18 days from launch and things are getting good. Here’s a bunch of places you can read about MEM – or even read some of it!

(1) Foreword – Now this one isn’t quite new anymore, but this interview was the truth, and I adore Letitia, fr fr. Plus, they made a graphic of me and Mem, so like. Come on.

Foreword interview graphic

(2) Next up, is my first MEM excerpt – and my first publication on Tor.com. Maybe only other submitting writers would know how big a friggin’ deal this is, but it’s been a bucket list item for literal years.

(3) More splendiferous ABA news: MEM is a June Indie Next Great Read pick! Complete with a new, absolutely amazing bookseller blurb, this time from Hannah Oliver Depp of WORD in Brooklyn, NY. (Click the link. Scroll down. Read her words. I adore.)

(4) The Washington Post called MEM one of the “Best SFF Books Out This Month”! (No, YOU shut up!)

(5) Bustle listed MEM as one of “The 15 Best Fiction Books Coming Out in May 2018” – among some seriously intriguing company!

(6) And over at the Chicago Review of Books, MEM is listed as a “Best New Book of May 2018”. (And keep an eye out for an interview with editor-in-chief, Adam Morgan, for Electric Literature, soon come!)

I feel….like that’s everything recent. If I have forgotten anything. You’ll live! KISS EMOJI WINK EMOJI!

And also, ready your cities! Well two of them anyway! The first leg of MEM related travels begins this month!

Book Tour 1.jpg_large

 

 

 

As If You Don’t Already Know

I’m smiling coyly, or however one smiles when they’re shamefully absent for six months. I just want you to know you’re not innocent in this, either. Every time someone subscribes to this dormant chamber of broken promises, I feel guilty, which of course sends me into a shame spiral, which is what I call it when I tweet non-stop for days at a time.

And then yesterday someone followed the link from my website here, and I was like WHY AM I SENDING PEOPLE TO MY ABANDONED BLOG OH NO. So I tweeted about it. But I have fortified my courage with tacos and iced tea and am here now to tell you all about the past six months. Just kidding, but here’s some stuff that happened or may yet soon and whatever.

First of all, the final jacket design for MEM was in my inbox yesterday and I can’t show it to you but I’m all,

Hell Yes

Like, I might actually cry when I hold it.

And then, wow, I made zero mention of my trip to Winter Institute, my first reading, my first signing, meeting amazing folks – I mean, outside of my FB author page, twitter and Instagram, so basically it’s been a secret. But what I haven’t posted is the amazing video that Tami Charles recorded of said first reading! (Mostly becuz you have to turn it ALL THE WAY UP to hear me – you’re almost there when the intro applause pops your eardrums.) So… I guess when I add captions, I’ll post that?

gotcha

And gosh, with MEM debuting in less than two months now (!!!!!!!!!), there’s been so much stuff, and I am super excited for launch events in LA and NYC (I’d say watch this space for more info but if you believe my lies, you’re just as much to blame, and clearly you’d be better off checking my twitter). But the thing I cannot believe I didn’t immediately blog about is thiiiiiiis:

DEAL ANNOUNCEMENT

My YA debut landed with Tor! Specifically with Diana M. Pho, which is just a wild, amazing thing, given how long she’s been supportive and willing to read my work.

So S&S is about a Portland that’s legitimately weird, we’re talking eloko/gargoyle/sprite weird, and two play-sisters who are the kind of weird that’s still not allowed. Tavia (s/o Octavia Butler) is a siren in a world where only Black women are, and so of course it’s no longer romantic or desirable, and sirens are hidden and protected by the Black community. Effie plays a mermaid in the Renaissance Faire, and with weird shenanigans happening to and around her again, it turns out she might really be one.

Basically it’s a story about the harm of self-proclaimed progressive states who don’t interrogate anti-blackness, it’s about the radical life-saving joy of Black sisterhood, it’s about young Black girls finding love, and building safety, and using their voices, and needing support, and loving the water, and how I always want a Skyline burger, and never laughing harder than I do with my sister and

Ahem.

Anyway, so all you have to do is wait til Winter 2020. AND add it to your TBR!

AND pre-order MEM!

AND….I’ll probably never see you here again just kidding.

 

 

 

 

Put It On Me

I’m not a blogger anymore, and I just need to say and accept that. I realize I’m here right this minute but it doesn’t mean anything. Don’t fall for me. I’ll only hurt you. And I’m really self-serving too because the only reason I’m here is that I can’t figure out how to tweet this properly.

So once upon a time I wrote a piece of flash fiction. And then I wrote a related one. And then I wrote a third one. And they were all about the same person in the same multi-planet-co-op but they were all stylistically different and what not. And I always thought I wanted to just keep doing that but then after the first three and brainstorming a fourth and fifth, I was like, that’s really restrictive and also it’s a big concept and maybe I should write a novella. And then I was like maybe it should be a YA novel. And then as per yoosh, I started writing two sets of notes: If This Were YA and If This Were Adult, and again as per yoosh, one of those lists got longer much faster. Decision made.

So I did what I do which is Excel Spreadsheet. (S/O to my boo, Excel.)

Ja Rule

And I made all my separate sheets, and had a grand ole time, and started gridding vaguely, and deciding on the major points of the plot, as you do. And like this minor character needed to be really important to the protagonist, right? So I was like, getting images for the first chapter and I got my first line and I got this dope idea for world building and just a lot of stuff was like YUSS. And so I wrote the first chapter and it was really good and it destroyed the entire plan and plot and built in all these other expectations and made the minor character way more important and crap, this is literally what happened when I drafted Avrilis.

So now I’m over here like six months later – because things – rereading the chapter and realizing I have to write a book to match/fulfill this chapter and like, who said writers get to decide what stories they tell? WHOM?!

Anyway.

Also did Fyre Fest really happen or was that a beautiful fever dream?

And finally, did I ever show you this? Ignore the date, I told you I’m trash, don’t make it a whole thing.

MEM PM Announcement

On Sensitivity Reads

In the words of Old Rafiki, “It is time.”

Today I’m talking about sensitivity reads – not a study in what they are and why I encourage them (I feel like you should know this by now and plenty of people have already discussed it), but an explanation of on what I feel comfortable/equipped giving feedback – and what it might cost.

Since finishing my last wip and announcing my availability on twitter, I’ve gotten the range of expected responses/reactions. Just a quick word of advice: Don’t expect free labor from marginalized people. But that’s common sense by now, right? So maybe it’s time to tack on: When they inform you of the rate, especially don’t tell said people that you’re disappointed in them.

no joke Ezzie

I know, Unamused Baby Ezzie. No one would do that. (They have.)

But! Those experiences aside, I’m glad I’ve started offering editorial services and sensitivity reads! It’s been a year since I was editorial intern for a publisher, and I missed it. And to be honest, what with the malaise that just reappears at random because, you know, of the world and the nation and the pushback you get on declaring your humanity and right to not die or be hated as a form of patriotism, it’s actually really nice to open someone else’s work. Because I can’t always get in the head space to create, but being too far from what I love can make that malaise worse. So thank you, is I guess what I’m trying to say. Despite that there can be problematic content in the work – which is the whole reason you’re paying for the service – it can be an escape for me, right now. It reminds me there are people who want to do better.

Unfortunately, I’m not the right sensitivity reader for everyone. (Not so much unfortunate as true.) So on to where I can most help you.

Across age categories and genres, I’m happy to read your ms if you’re writing about Black American history and/or identity, and any of these intersections (or these topics on their own): womanness, motherhood, family dynamics (including sisterhood and sibling dynamics in larger families), higher education (specifically PWIs), expatriation, international travel, interracial relationships, accelerated education programs (specifically GATE and International Baccalaureate), invisible disability, performance cultures (ex: marching band, drill team, dance, etc).

Now obviously, there are variations on the above topics, or different but related ones. If you’re not sure or just generally have questions about this, contact me. Tell me about your project (a synopsis like one you might query to an agent and what you’re looking for – but try not to go too in-depth with explaining your intentions) and we can go from there.

And so, rates, amiright? It is based on a few major criterion: (1) that the novel is no longer than 100k, (2) that the novel is polished, (3) that the turnaround need not be shorter than 8 weeks, and (4) my personal workload. Bottom line? It is not uniform, and must be requested.

Note: if you are an independent (unagented, uncontracted) and historically marginalized author, we can discuss how to make my services more accessible to you. 

Need help getting polished, with or without a sensitivity read? We can chat about that, too – but before I begin, please! Kiss emoji, wink emoji!

I think that’s enough to get us started, yes?

NEW: Inquiries can also be sent to Bethany (at) bethanycmorrow (dot) com.

Aight, that’s enough work for one day. Now here’s this:

giphy1