Don’t Feed the Trolls: A Writer’s Advice on Dealing With Online Bullies

By De Elizabeth

I’ve been a writer all my life, I suppose. If you were to go back in time to my elementary school days, you’d find me creating picture books about cats and dinosaurs. My childhood best friend and I even invented a publishing company called Lollypop Lick (not a joke). In fact, I’m pretty sure those silly little laminated books are probably buried in my closet at my parents’ house, just waiting to be brought out at a future holiday dinner.

In high school, I wrote Lord of the Rings fanfiction (again, not a joke). One of my stories – a riffing on the entire plot of The Two Towers, where I gave Éomer a love interest (finally, right?) – gained some form of notoriety on FanFiction.net. I woke up every day to dozens of comments on each of my chapters, most of them positive, begging for the next segment. But among the high forms of praise from my fellow LOTR fans, there was always one or two negative comments that were downright mean. We, in the fanfiction world, referred to them as “flames.” Continue reading