This draft (numbered five, although there have been a number of sub-drafts, too) of my kids’ book on homelessness is nearly done.
But it’s not over yet.
In the next day or so I will be sending it off to a homelessness researcher at York University. She will serve as ‘sensitivity reader’ providing feedback on accuracy, pointing out what I might have ‘got wrong’ in writing about this topic, and I hope letting me know if there’s anything I have not covered that should be there.
I don’t know about how much she knows about writing for this age group. So along with the MS. I will be sending her a few notes about my goal of informing, eliciting empathy and addressing myths around homelessness, without overloading the readers with detail. But at the same time – at the publisher’s request – conveying the situation in the US as well as Canada.
While she is reading the book, I will be doing photo and image research. In some cases using images I have received from individuals and agencies. Others sourced from stock photo sites. And a few I have taken myself. These need be logged, and notes placed in the relevant area of the MS to indicate there they might go… about 40 of them!
Once the MS comes back from the sensitivity reader, I will have a couple of weeks to address any issues that she has pointed out, finish compiling the log and notations about images, and submitting it all to the editor by Jan 1.
Then the waiting to hear back about what will need changing, revising, editing, etc. will begin. Always a fraught time. “What if they hate it?”
All in all this nonfiction business is much more complex than writing fiction, in which I just sat around writing ‘whatever came into my head’.
But I have a real commitment and obligation to ‘get this right’. I want the book to be useful, to be accessible, and I hope it will be a tool to change minds, illuminate an important social topic, and generate empathy in the reader… who I hope will share it with the adults around them, some of whom are sadly lacking the empathy department when faced by something they don’t understand.