The classes we offer here are aimed primarily at writers, but they aren’t the only people in publishing who play a role in putting inclusive, representative fiction in front of readers. Agents and editors also have an important part to play, and it begins with evaluating manuscripts as they’re submitted.
Kara Stewart, an author, writer, and teacher from the Sappony tribe, put together an excellent resource for evaluating manuscripts with American Indian characters or content.
Have you just been presented with a manuscript that has American Indian content? I know what you’re thinking. “Great googlie mooglies, how do I tell if the Native content in this doorstop is accurate or if it will cause a garbage fire for my agency/house?”
Or you may be thinking, “Well, I really like the voice, the plot is killer, and the author says she did a lot of research.”
Or you may not be overly familiar with problems in the ways that writers create American Indian content, and think “I’m sure it’s fine…”
Or….*eyeswipe over listed resources*
“Okay! A resource list! Content should be good to go.” But that niggling doubt… are those resources reliable?
Or perhaps you’re thinking, “It’s just this one little paragraph that has American Indian content… and it sounds okay to me…we don’t need to check on just that!”
Stop right there!
I know neither you nor your authors want dumpster fires, so here is a handy (errr… I think it’s handy and hope you do, too!) set of questions (and answers!) you can use to evaluate that manuscript. And a bonus resource list! By using it, you can gain skills to inform yourself and help authors create great books that help, rather than harm.
Read the questions, answers, and resources on Kara’s blog. Bookmark it, share it, put a Post-It note on your desk to remind you to use it.