• Shout! Shout! Let it all out!

    25 February 2012

    I received the following email from a fan in the States:

     

    Although this might not mean much to you, I still wanted to let you know. It might not sound real, but it is true. While reading Demon Thief I came upon the part where it says that Kernel wasnt in fights often because he yelled. I was bullied a lot at school. So much that somedays I didn't even want to go. I didn't tell anyone about it because I was afraid. The teachers saw him bully me, but they didn't do anything about it. At schol they showed bully prevention videos. They didnt work for me because this bully had already bullied me for a couple years. After I read that in Demon Thief I decided to try it out. Every time the bully would bully me, I would yell as loud as I could. He soon stopped bullying me. Although this might not mean anything to you, or seem totally fake, I still wanted to let you know. I'm not afraid to go to school anymore because no one bullies me anymore. You have changed my life Darren, thank you.

     

    Bullying is a horrible part of the human experience. It can happen to adults, but is more prominent among children -- since children are such little monsters!!! I say that jokingly, of course, but I also think it's true to a large extent. I read an interesting article in National Geographic recently about how brains develop in teenagers. It's a wild, chaotic time. The brain undergoes all sorts of fast, monumental changes, most very positive, but some negative -- although a lot of that depends on your viewpoint. Children can be the most loving of creatures, but also the most vile. We learn as we go through life, and by the time we hit adulthood most of us have evened out. We learn to think more about the consequences of our actions, and about the feelings of others, and tend to be more emotionally stable (which is also why adults are, generally speaking, more boring than children!). In our younger years many of us lack the social skills which make us nicer people in later life. I know that I was certainly more cruel and cutting as a child!!

     

    I think a certain amount of peer pressure and bullying is to be expected. In some ways I think it's even important -- it helps toughen us up, so that we can deal with the pressures of life that we will have to deal with later on. I think in the long run it can be a good thing when you are subjected to the occasional bit of teasing by your friends. While sometimes it hurts, over time you learn to bite back and take it with more good humour. This can be a hard world, so it doesn't pay to be too soft! But at the same time, the key words there are "ocassional" and "friends". It's one thing to be mocked from time to time by your friends -- quite another to be targeted by someone who is genuinely trying to break your spirit.

     

    Genuine bullies are nasty pieces of work, and it's important to try to stand up to them swiftly and proactively. They thrive on silence and fear. While I'm no expert on the subject, I think the first step should always be to tell people, your parents and teachers. I know the unwritten rule among children and teenagers is "don't snitch" and, generally speaking, it's a rule I agree with. But bullies lose their rights to the protection of that rule. If someone acts in a horrible way to another person, and does so consciously, over an extended period of time, they don't deserve to be treated with the same respect as other people. So, yes, I think the first step is to speak up. That usually works, but not always, as it didn't in this situation -- alas, not all adults are super-heroes, and some deal less capably with the issue of bullies than others. If speaking out fails, then you need to get more creative, as this boy did, by choosing to shout out loud and draw attention to the bullying. Bullies HATE attention. They hate having people know that they're small and petty and mean. They hate having people laugh and sneer at them. So it's worth trying a few belly-bursting yells. There are other methods, I'm sure, so if that fails, or if you don't want to roar, then have a look online -- there are bound to be loads of sites and forums where you can find advice and assistance.

     

    The most important thing, though, is not to give in. Don't let them crush you. I know it can be hard, when you're young, to see life as a long, meandering path -- but it IS. Your childhood and teen years are just a very small part of your life. You'll move on and change and leave the bullies behind. Never lose sight of the fact that it's a temporary problem. Don't blow it up to be more than it is. Again, I know it's hard, because the developing brain bends your perception of time, but trust me, the pains we suffer as kids and teenagers are almost never as bad as we think they are. There are always better times ahead. Sometimes we have to huddle up and miserably wait out a storm -- but all storms pass. The sun always comes out again. Or the moon, if you're a vampire!!!! ;)

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  • Comments

    No Avatar koyasan
    25, Feb, 2012
    Amazing things happen just from reading your books, Master Shan! I'm sure all of us have some stories to share too! :)
    No Avatar DarrenShanFan
    25, Feb, 2012
    I think that this blog will really help some kids to get through bullying, and I hope that they will find a way to fight back.
    No Avatar moonybelle
    25, Feb, 2012
    Yes I agree I was bullied as a child not just by the kids , but i agree you have to remember it gets better and I have found that in my case those bullies went on to being bullied by kids in high school.And they came back and told me they were sorry for what they did to me because now they know how it feels.

    I know it is hard to fathom at the moment when it seems that the bullying will never stop, but I found the sometimes you have to just weather the storm and sooner or later that storm blows away the there is a bright sunny day waitting on the other side.
    No Avatar Tay
    25, Feb, 2012
    There was this one group of kids who would always make fun of my dyslexia until I snapped and went into this long rant about how I thought they were judgmental freaks. Needless to say, they never even talked to me again. Yay! :)
    No Avatar Megan
    26, Feb, 2012
    The demonata is more than just a good read, it's a life saver! Thank you so much Darren Shan!
    No Avatar Rachel
    26, Feb, 2012
    You are an inspiration to all your readers, for many different reasons. I read your blog posts on advice for first time writers. That really helped and now i'm getting close to finishing my first book.
    No Avatar Kathryn Winstanley
    26, Feb, 2012
    Hi, Darren.

    It must be fantastic to know that your books have helped at least one person to deal with something like this in their own life. Bullying is horrible and there is no excuse for picking on another person, so if your book has helped at least one person to use a strategy to stop a bully - that's amazing!

    From your huge fan, Kathryn Winstanley :)
    Site Member
    G-MAN's avatar G-MAN
    27, Feb, 2012
    I was bullied once, I yelled and did also get helped. But the boy kept on doing so because I yelled, but one day he hit me so hard that I reacted. I punched him without realizing what I did, I broke his nose!!! I never liked doing that, violence does not solve everything; but can solve some things.
    No Avatar sydney
    27, Feb, 2012
    lol thanks Darren Shan, that made me feel better, because my life was a living hell in middle shcool and like you said I guesse you just have to wait out the storm. thank you
    No Avatar Libby
    28, Feb, 2012
    Darren Shan,
    You have changed my life! I was quite a lonely child untill I came across your books... I had always been bullied on the style of books that I read (I always read horror), and people used to find this funny... Your books made me understand that it's important to stand up to what you think is right, and fight against whats wrong.
    Thank you soooooo much for writing these books, never give up, you inspirer us all.
    Love Libby xxx
    No Avatar Libby
    28, Feb, 2012
    Darren Shan,
    You have made me fight for whats right and stand up to people!
    Thank-you so much.
    Don't give up on what you do best and fight for what ou think is right. xxx
    No Avatar Valeria
    01, Mar, 2012
    I was never bullied in my life, so I could hardly imagine how it could be. But it's amazing how a book can change someone's life, I'm very happy for that guy...and for anyone who finds inspiration on books :)
    No Avatar Cheryl
    02, Mar, 2012
    Omg
    This email has made me cry
    Cx
    No Avatar Rebecca
    03, Mar, 2012
    Heres to all the other so called misfits and weirdos out there: Be yourself and don't care what others think. I don't fit in. I don't ever want to either. I'm happy with who I am and you should be too. Never give in!

    P.S. congrats on your engagement Darren
    No Avatar Amiy
    03, Mar, 2012
    Wow! Thank you Darren Shan, for all that you have done through your stories. It's amazing seeing the different kinds of impact you make to your readers through writing. You're my true inspiration.

    And to all the victims out there...Be brave. Never let anyone break you. And stand up for what is right, even if you're standing alone.
    No Avatar Timothy Smitley
    05, Mar, 2012
    Wow. You help people without actually doing anything. Your great man! I hope to meet you one day if you come over to the states!
    No Avatar Doyouknowmyname?
    06, Mar, 2012
    I live in Ireland Mullingar Westmeath and my local library has all the darren shan books except for Demon Theif and Oalace of the Damned
    No Avatar vancha march rules
    14, Mar, 2012
    Just wanted to say even if I haven't read the demonata good job man way to stick up to him. Also master shan could you please think about doing a series on people from the cirque like eves and his life arte Darren left...plz!
    No Avatar Max Jewell
    14, Mar, 2012
    I have just spent ages reading what everybody likes about Darren Shan. Personally i have read only the Demonata Saga and the Saga Of Darren Shan, but i can truly say that i am a fan of Darren Shan. I love the way he writes. Its like he makes everything turn out ok but still makes casualties or deaths for example Dervish in Hells Heroes or Mr Creepsley in Killers of the Dawn. I just simply love the way he writes and im sure everyone on this blog agrees with me!
    Site Member
    LartenCrepsleyFan's avatar LartenCrepsleyFan
    15, Mar, 2012
    I have to say, i have never read Demonata, but I love both Cirque Du Freak and the Saga of Larten Crepsley ! Larten Creapsley forever in my heart <3
    No Avatar LALALALALMFAO
    16, Mar, 2012
    That is sooooooooo great
    No Avatar hanna
    20, Mar, 2012
    derren i think i have you on face .im hanna garcia ,i love the circ du freek books my fith grade class over in round rock texas named naisa callison ,are reading youre books youre the best whriter iv heard of the best!!!!!!!!!!any ways we love them my tabel all ways talk about how good the darn books are .they make me lagh haha .a question do you know mis.treleu ?a librarian that works at callison
    she brags about how she"met"you hahaha weell where(my class and i)ar youre number one fans<3<3 <3
    No Avatar Dezzymandius
    21, Mar, 2012
    Your writing is amazing and inspirational. Thank you for being so awesome !
    No Avatar darrenshansaganumber#1fan!
    22, Mar, 2012
    hi darren, i've read the first 4 books on the darren shan saga and loved it i'm now on the fith and almost on the sixth
    your my insparation for everything thankyou
    darren
    No Avatar darrenshansaganumber#1fan!
    23, Mar, 2012
    hi darren your really great author of horror
    raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!
    No Avatar Darren Shan +Larten Crepsley FAN
    31, Mar, 2012
    I LOVE ur books im sorry that i dont read demonsta books, but i read the rest.Ur books are 100% amazing. I know a lot of people say this IM UR NUMBER #1 FAN.
    No Avatar Amy
    31, Mar, 2012
    Hi i read the ost and it made me giggle i could never yell out agenst a bullie they dont scare me and i will talk back and tell adults when it happens but maby ill try yelling next time i fink ill freak them out. darren im a massive fan and have read all but 1 of your books (brothers to the death) they really inspire me and help me get on with life. when i read your books i get a buzz and i feel what the people in the book feel i dont know how u do it but u bring the book alive make it all sound like its rea and actually happening. im 14 years old but started reading your books when i was 12 because my uncle lent me one of your books and i couldnt stop reading them thank u for the books darren there great and have changed my life thank u for that
    No Avatar RESHTEEN
    02, Apr, 2012
    i was bullied a lot you are great darren shan
    No Avatar Pieeater
    02, Apr, 2012
    i tried it 2 and it worked for me
    nice one!
    No Avatar hollley
    02, Apr, 2012
    i get pick on a lot a must of the time becues i read ur books and i a gril! sometime i feel like just giveing up
    No Avatar Timothy Smitley
    02, Apr, 2012
    @hollley
    Just ignore them. They don't know a good thing when they see it.
    No Avatar holley
    03, Apr, 2012
    U maynot konw me but u. Books help me i would have killed mysulf thanks for this books they keep me happy
    No Avatar Darren Shan + Larten Crepsley FAN
    06, Apr, 2012
    HI again darren ur second name is O Shaughnessy. Thats my second name 2
    No Avatar Arra Sails Ghost
    06, Apr, 2012
    That's cool!
    No Avatar Amy
    07, Apr, 2012
    life is hard i should know but the good things help u through it but your books r a great thing they help me in life in so many ways it would take to long to name then all. and its not just me i know 7 other people personally who love your books and there r thousands more out there who's life has been changed by your writing thanks for all yur great boks.
    No Avatar Debra x
    08, Apr, 2012
    I thought it wasn't possible to love you even more than I already do. Darren, you've been blessed with a talent and it's helping a lot of people.

    Cheers mate :)
    No Avatar Coury
    10, Apr, 2012
    I read Cirque Du Freak years ago, and now again (all 12 in a matter of 2 weeks or less-couldnt put them down) and they are all fantastic. Currently reading Larten Crepsley saga. Amaing character and amazing story. I cant to read them all again. Next moving to the Demonata series. Very exciting. Love the books!!!!!!! <3
    Site Member
    rudithepuppy's avatar rudithepuppy
    13, Apr, 2012
    hey darren how r u? ur books are awesome but i cant find 7 and above books from the saga of darren shan help me plz
    Site Member
    rudithepuppy's avatar rudithepuppy
    28, Apr, 2012
    hi darren i watched the cirqe du freak: vampire assistant film a couple days ago and its nothing like the books :( but that normally happens! have a good day
    rudi

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