Were You Ever Bullied?
I was. I had at least three major fights with five to fifteen bullies attacking me at the same time in grade school and junior high. I had friends that were mercilessly picked on, bullied, beat up – pick your term. One of my friends later joined the Marines, enjoyed a belated growth spurt, and began obsessively lifting weights. He later revisited kids from high school to teach them deeply meaningful lessons about karma.
Not every nerd has an exotic story about bullying like that to tell, but I wonder how many children feel bullied in school and never tell anyone. We see headlines about bullying all the time. Cyberbullying is the latest evolution of this problem and no one seems to have a strong, viable solution to end it. I’d like to do something about it. But what can one person do with such a gargantuan, far-reaching problem?
Tell stories people will remember.
Writing With a Message: Bullying
Well, that’s my approach. It’s what I can do. Maybe you’re more awesome than me. Kudos to you, but I can only do what I’m best at – and that’s telling stories.
Soul Hunter details several true events from my youth. It’s a villain origin story inspired by one of my mentors. (I’m not saying he’s a villain – I just think, conglomerately speaking, our backgrounds make for a great villain origin story). In the novella set in my Assassin Hunter universe, I address how different ways of reacting to bullying lead to different paths as an adult and how some of those are healthy and … some are not.
I did the same thing with Slice. It has a mildly violent bully scene in the very beginning that explains why Tzun is allured to a drug that enhances his feeble magical powers. I grew up around gangs, thugs, bullying, and drugs. I know how they affect people. Slice is a coming of age story that addresses these issues. It’s a thrilling ride, it has a dark twist, and it hopefully offers teens food for thought.
Unproven features a self-exiled outcast of society who is called to save his people from psionic dragons. What kind of character growth does it take to meaningfully transition from an outcast to a hero? a bullied youth to a leader? You can read Unproven and simply enjoy the ride, but there is a deeper undercurrent that some fans won’t miss – and I hope it gets them thinking and talking about healthy, more powerful ways to address life problems. Moon 514 and Assassin Hunter have more subtle messages, but there is psychological intrigue about how to make healthy decisions there as well.
For me, this is part of the beauty of SFF – authors can explore complicated issues and social challenges because our audiences are intelligent enough to understand what we’re exploring. Most adult SFF fans have a college education and a higher percentage of the uber high IQ among their masses. They can handle deep stuff. If you’re reading this, you’re probably extra smart and get what I’m saying so I’ll stop talking and let you start reading.
Unproven & Assassin Hunter: Sample Chapters
Follow the links below for sample chapters to my two books that more prominently address the difficult issues I’ve been talking about. If you enjoy the prose, world-building, plot, or the mission behind them, please follow the last link to purchase the book – either for yourself or for someone who could use some extra love and support, along with the message.