I was bullied growing up.  From sixth to eight grade I cried a lot because of what people did or said to me. When I went to high school, it died down to teasing and back-biting. Not every day, but it happened often enough that by the time I graduated, my self-esteem was in the tank and I didn’t trust anyone.

While working on my new story, I realized I’m drawn to write characters who are physically and verbally tormented for things they have no control over. This was not on purpose. I didn’t set out to pack all my stories with bullied characters. I don’t do this necessarily to show how despicable bulling is. I like to see my characters become awesome despite the abuse.

For my novella called Devdan Manor, there’s Cyl Antan- a demon from a family of fairly weak beings. “Somehow”, he was born with more power than most demons in his family. Instead of being celebrated, Cyl is treated like an abomination by almost everyone, including his parents.

He has the unfortunate luck of being born in a wealthy territory that believes everyone has their place- no one should dream to be more than they deserve. He has suffered his entire life. He doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He doesn’t particularly hate the people who treat him badly. They mean nothing to him, now. He only cares about the opinions of those who really see him.

One of the POV characters in The Sciell is Shade Harrellite- the only half-breed in a village full of pure-blood beings. She grew up being tormented by almost everyone in the village for being half human. She went to school and both students and teachers tormented her. She’d get beaten on the way home. When she graduated, she wanted to live on her own like everyone else only no one would rent her an apartment.
The village’s job system works through apprenticeships. They graduate school, then become someone’s apprentice. Shade couldn’t get a job because no one would take her on as their apprentice. Despite that, she still remains fairly optimistic. She rose above all this nonsense, with a lot of help from her “brother” Vayle, to become powerful.

Lil Aona lost her parents and older brother when she was a kid. She belongs to a race of beings who fight the demons that have taken over the world. Her family destroyed one of the demons’ main place of operation. They died in the process. The only reason Lil didn’t go with them was because she was too young.

Her people, however, didn’t praise her family. Her parents and brother destroyed this demon base without permission. They disgraced their race. The heads of the race hung the dead bodies of her family in the village as a warning to everyone. Lil, by being related to them, was treated like a stain. She left the village when she was still too young to find work. She still grew up to be a strong capable fighter. With the help of her two friends, who are in similar situations, she let go of her hate and feels pride for being her parents’ child.

I have go-to books/manga for when I’m feeling heavy, when I feel like I can’t smile. The plots aren’t rainbows and pink unicorns, the characters go through some stuff. But, for some reason, I feel better while reading them. That might be the only time during the day that I smile- and mean it. That is what I want my stories to do for other people. 


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