"Heather the Feather that can tell the Weather" was something a friend's older brother said to me all the time when I was little (like 7 or 8 years old). I tried to be mad when he said it but I found I couldn't. There was a book called "Heather's Feathers" that I liked and I loved weather so...what he was saying was essentially true.
Fast forward to late elementary school and I became known as "Mommy Longlegs" and kids would make fun of my high-waist (pants that settled above the belly button on whatever hips I had then). I was the second tallest girl in my grade until middle school.
Middle School, it was mostly boys making fun of every girls body, guys coming up and shoving books out of your arms. Girls taunting that you "liked" so and so...and I would admit it by blushing if they found out the guys name that I did have a crush on. I was on the basketball team and the coach had her favorites, I was not one of them, and began to be ostracized by 3/4 of the team...and the coach. Yet, I liked the game and continued playing for some reason.
High School I was on the 9th grade and JV basketball team and there were a group of about four girls who made my life hell. I'm not sure why you would push, jab, shove and make fun of a teammate but that happened. I was ostracized for some reason even when on the court for practice. By 10th grade I said, "Enough" and joined the Marching Band/ Color Guard and loved it. In 11th, I joined the track team and had a great junior and senior year and solidified numerous friendships. One of the bullies was convinced to run one season and I found, much to my satisfaction, she didn't fit in; she never returned to track after that year.
But those girls never left my head (one ended up at my college and ignored me). They were bullies and at the time I remember desperately trying to figure out what in the world I did to piss them off? I never heard the quote "Be Careful or You'll End Up In My Novel" even though I was writing at the time and just used the guys I liked in my stories but with different names.
Now, I'm writing. For real. I have a short story published in an anthology and a series of books that will be published in the next year; we are working on the marketing right now. Since this series begins in high school, yes there are mean students. And yes, these girls (and some boys) shaped the characters. However, as I go back and edit and edit some more I realize that the nice students, the teachers, the secondary supporting characters are based more upon my friends and the nice students/staff I knew in school.
I bet my friends will recognize those characters. The bullies? Probably not so much. I'm fairly sure they don't follow me at all in social media and they aren't on my Facebook page. They may have changed, married, had families of their own and may not recognize themselves in the book. But know this, anyone a writer comes across in their lives is fodder for their novel. And I get to see them at my 25th high school reunion in a few months; but I also get to see my friends and the people that were always nice, pleasant, supportive and that makes it worth all the crap I went through in middle and high school.
Remember: Be Careful Or You'll End Up In My Novel!
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