Friday, April 09, 2010

Avoiding Bullies

How appropriate that I stumbled upon Mitali Perkins' post about bullying just now. Today I had to do some major revisions on a character because I didn't want her to appear to be a bully. It was never my intention that she should be a bully. She was an unpleasant girl who lashed out at people. Is that necessarily a bully? The events of the last few weeks were on my mind, and I started to worry that that was how she would appear. Once readers felt that way about her, it wouldn't really matter what her function was supposed to be in the story. She would be a bully.

Back in the late '90s, early '00s, before bullying was quite as big a topic as it is now, I had an interesting experience with A Year with Butch and Spike. I'd be in schools and on more than one occasion kids referred to Butch and Spike as bullies. I was surprised, because they were never meant to be bullies. I saw them as loud, argumentative, misfits. But some kids saw something different.

Training Report: Not much progress in terms of word count because of the character revision. That character needed some work, anyway. She was holding the story back.

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