Notes to Myself: Writing BYSTANDER

I’d guess that all writers do it, but I can only speak for myself. During the course of brainstorming for a book, which for me usually involves a composition notebook and random observations, snatches of dialogue, character traits, ideas for scenes, etc., I’ll often write brief notes to myself. These notes that I’m referring to are general guidelines for the book I’m writing — about tone, intention, theme. They serve as signposts, clarifying my intent for that specific book. I’m not talking about notes to address specific scenes in the story, but more global thoughts about the book I’m hoping to write, what I’m trying to achieve.

Below, here’s a few notes taken from a larger notebook that I filled during the research phase for my middle grade novel, Bystander. This might come across as naval gazing, I suppose, but I hope the notes shed light on my writing process and in doing so help readers and writers with their own creative work.

Don’t worry, I’ll translate these into English for those unfamiliar with the dialect of Southpaw Scrawl: “Do not like the books that ‘solve’ the problem, as in, do this and the problem goes away: not so simple.”

“Sometimes people who bully are popular w/ teachers and peers (Bundy)

Important to shatter the stereotypical views of what a bully ‘looks like.'”

“It becomes important to realize/understand what real friendship means.”

“Clique is ‘exclusive club’ not real friendship. ‘Cool’ members must conform & follow rules of group.

Real friends don’t require each other to be something they are not.”

“Children go to great lengths to hide the fact that they are victims of a bully.”

“Bully/victim is more dangerous, because acts out of anger, revenge.”

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