Do you know your Reading Bias?

by Addie Boswell
Published on: November 15, 2011
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Comments: 1 Comment

Recently ScrivaAmber submitted a manuscript written in two points of view: a sarcastic male teenager, and a charming twelve-year old girl.

I was drawn to the teen character and wanted more of his voice. ScrivaLiz was drawn to the younger character and wanted more of her. The rest of us split somewhere between those two poles. This split happens sometimes, and tends to tell the writer: either direction would work, which do you favor? But it made me think more about how we critique and the bias we bring to the table.

For the last three years, I’ve been reading almost strictly YA titles, leaning towards male protagonists and gritty plots. No surprise that I favored the teen. Maybe no surprise that I can be hard on Middle Grade Novels, which sometimes leave me lukewarm. Where’s the drama? Where’s the tension?

That critique group was kind of an awakening. As a reader, I suppose there will always be bias — or to put it more gently — personal preference, in reading. But it is good to recognize my own, and it made me wonder: does objectivity just get harder the more we work together? Can you get entrenched in your genre if you read too much of it? I remain glad that the Scrivas write and read in a range of genres, because it expands my personal repertoire. It took three years of reading the fabulous nonfiction titles of Liz and Amber to make me appreciate that genre, and even want to write one myself.  Maybe I’ll even understand steampunk one of these days…

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  1. ScrivaAmber says:

    I hadn’t even thought about this, but Addie brings up such a good point. I know the kind of books I am not super into, but if a Scriva brings me one – well, anyone for that matter – I will do my best to serve the story (as the brilliant Colleen Mondor at ChasingRay.com puts it).

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