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January 18, 2013

Guest Post: Bullying as a Hot Topic in Fiction

I am happy to introduce author, Faith McKay to the blog today! She has an awesome post about bullying in YA. So without further ado:

Bullying as a Hot Topic in Fiction

When I started writing my novel Prophecy Girl, I hadn't planned for there to be a bullying theme in the novel. It actually turned into an essential part of the plot.

The main story line for Prophecy Girl isn't about bullying exactly, it's about child abuse. Prophecy Girl is a young adult urban fantasy novel that deals with an evil mother.

One of the things I noticed about bullying as a kid, is that the kids who didn't have the best home lives seemed very likely to wind up bullied at school. These are kids who have learned not to stand up for themselves, so when someone calls them four eyes, what are they going to do about it?

My main character, Sam, is on a journey to learn to fight back. If she was going to stand up against her mother, she needed some other obstacles to learn how to stand up for herself first.

This was where the bullying plot came from.

David. A big angry guy with a unibrow and a bunch of lackeys who follow him around. This is my big bad bully in Prophecy Girl, and he decides to pick on Sam for her big red hair. He isn't clever about it, but he's mean enough to compensate.

Of course, when I started writing Prophecy Girl a few years ago, bullying wasn't something that was talked about to quite the extent it is these days. It was a popular theme in TV and movies, but the general conversation about it was that this was something we all just had to go through. Those conversations still happen, of course, but the general conversation has shifted dramatically to include the viewpoint that this is something we should change. Bullying is now a hot word that makes most heads turn up. We're acknowledging that this is an awful practice, that this can lead to extremely awful ends, and it's up to all of us to stop it.

As someone who was bullied herself, and who then put her characters through it, this is a message I can get behind one hundred percent, and I think that the more we address is books and films, the more we open up that conversation on what is happening, and ultimately, how we stop it.

Like I said, bullying is only a small part of Prophecy Girl, but there are more books coming out with a focus on bullying every day.What are some of your favorite stories with bullying (as the focus or a sub plot) that you've read or watched lately?

Thanks for stopping by the blog! This is a great post. Personally I've read few books on bullying but I read a few stories from Dear Bully and I think it touches on all aspects of bullying. I can't wait to continue to reading it and to get to Prophecy Girl.

Prophecy Girl:
Ever since Samantha Winthrop's mother moved them to Lacuna Valley, supposedly in search of better weather, the list of strange questions she has no answers for has been growing out of control.

Does her little sister, Violet, have the ability to make things happen just by "praying" for them? Are Sam's dreams really predicting the future? Is she destined to marry the boy she just met, and what is the mysterious orb that he's guarding? Why does she get the impression that there are dangerous creatures watching from the woods?

While Sam should be focusing on answering those questions, there is one other that makes them seem almost irrelevant: Is her mother planning on killing her and Violet?

Author Bio:

Faith McKay writes stories about characters with real world struggles in otherworldly settings. She is the author of PROPHECY GIRL, a story where characters struggle with the idea of having a destiny. In comparison, she feels really lucky that her destiny was to struggle with comma placement and be that awkward lady who points out puns at parties.

Other things to know about Faith… She wears two different colored shoes. She is a survivor of child abuse. She has lived with chronic illness for over a decade. A lot of people don't like her because she laughs too much. It's also the reason a lot of other people do like her, so go figure. She listens to more music than people are probably supposed to. She's a nomad. The word sounds really cool, so a lot of people say it, but she actually lives in an RV with her husband and their pet bunny rabbit, Dorian Gray.

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