Ray Stoeve is the author of the young adult novel Between Perfect and Real, which was a 2021 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Their second YA novel, Arden Grey, is forthcoming in April 2022, and they also contributed to the young adult anthology Take The Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance. They received a 2016-2017 Made at Hugo House Fellowship and created the YA/MG Trans and Nonbinary Voices Masterlist, a database that tracks all books in those age categories written by trans authors about trans characters. When they’re not writing, they can be found gardening, making art in other mediums, or hiking their beloved Pacific Northwest.
They enjoy fiction of all age categories and genres, especially historical and contemporary realist works about queer and trans characters. They are best-equipped to provide sensitivity reads and consult on young adult novels. In addition to being a full-time writer, they also work with authors and publishers seeking sensitivity reads for queer and trans characters.
In all services, my approach as an editor or reader is to highlight what is working well alongside areas I feel could be strengthened. I like to ask questions and offer options, rather than prescribe what I think a writer should do. I work with you, not as an authority, but as a collaborator in service of your voice and what you want for the story, sharing my knowledge and experience to support what you already know and can do. I also believe craft is cultural, as well as learned, so I try to remain aware of my own bias and sensitive to different methods of storytelling. I am passionate about making space for historically marginalized voices in publishing, and strive to hold a safer space for those of us who encounter institutional barriers to entering the writing world and seeing our art as worthy.
For manuscripts, I provide feedback letters of at least 2 pages, as well as in-line comments, and one email for any followup questions you may have. For query letters, I provide in-line comments and at least one paragraph feedback.
WHEN REQUESTING SERVICES: For all projects, please send the following information:
-A little about you as a writer, and a one paragraph description of your manuscript or project
-The general service you are requesting, your hopes and goals for working with me, and particular areas you’d like attention to
-For sensitivity reads, please include the names and identities of all characters for which you would like a read.
SENSITIVITY READS: I offer these reads for trans men and trans masculine characters, and nonbinary characters who are assigned female at birth, of all orientations; as well as queer and/or bisexual cis women, trans men/trans masc and AFAB nonbinary characters. I read for these identities because I have held all of them at one time or another. I may also choose to give feedback on the representation of other identities based on my knowledge, but do not provide formal reads for identities outside those which I hold or have held. I am most familiar with reading for these characters in novels, but have also read for other mediums such as podcast scripts and am open to such works on a case by case basis. Some of the (many!) things I can help you with include: nuts and bolts of gender transition, normative gender assumptions and harmful stereotypes that may be in your work, language, and worldbuilding related to gender in your novel.
GENRE WORKS: I love them, but my assistance may be limited depending on what you are looking for. While I read genre work, I don’t currently write it, so I cannot provide the craft expertise of someone dedicated to writing romance, science fiction, fantasy, etc. However, this could be a strength if you want the perspective of someone who is a writer but can also approach tropes and worldbuilding with a layperson’s eyes and questions. For example, previous clients in sensitivity reading have appreciated my feedback on how gender fits into their worldbuilding. Contact me and let’s chat!
WHAT I WON'T READ: I am not available to read projects that include the following subjects as major or minor plot points, whether off-screen or described: child abuse of any kind, rape and sexual assault, and abusive relationships of any kind (platonic, romantic, familial etc). If they are mentioned but are not described in detail and have no long-term role in or bearing on the story, I will consider on a case-by-case basis, but require a content warning and an example scene that includes the subject to read so I can assess whether I can move forward.
I am available to take on new clients as my schedule allows, on a first-come, first-served basis. I work via email but am open to discussing this based on my clients' needs.
For writers who belong to groups historically marginalized and shut out of publishing, I offer a sliding scale price of your choice between $65-$130/hr, and the opportunity to customize your service, based on what I offer, to fit what you can afford. For example: I could read the first 10 pages of your manuscript and a synopsis, and provide feedback on that instead of the entire novel. Let’s discuss! The groups I reference above include: Black, Indigenous and other people of color; LGBTQIA+; disabled (including mentally ill and neurodivergent) people; and low income/poor/working-class people. This is based on the honor system; you do not need to identify yourself to me, but please do respect who this is for and why it exists if you are not part of one of these groups.