Adventures in Troll Hunting or How to Deal with Rude Reviews

Since the dawn of the internet, trolls have moved out from under their bridges and into our favorite forums.  You’ve probably encountered a few of them if you’re active on social media.  A troll is the person that like to stir the pot, cause drama, and be mean spirited just for the sake of ‘because they can.’  However, as a writer trolls have a tendency to pop up where we really don’t want them: in the reviews/comments section.


We’ve all been there.  We get one of the hallowed notifications in our email.  Someone has left us a comment or review on a work that we poured our heart and soul into.  We open up that notification, eager to see what someone else has to say about the story.  Then comes the real kicker.  It isn’t praise.  It’s not even constructive criticism.  It’s a comment from and anonymous reader and it says something along the lines of:

troll 1Alright, so the example provided is pretty tame.  I know some writers have received a constant stream of messages telling them that they should stop writing because of reasons x, y, and z.  Some of them can be absolutely cruel and vicious.  A troll has nothing nice to say and their criticisms take the most out of your self esteem and motivation.  At least with constructive criticism you can apply the advice and make your writing better.  However, with trolls there is nothing there to indicate why they left the review/comment other than just to bring you down.

It takes some time but eventually you learn to shake the negativity of trolls.  It becomes easier to ignore them.  I think that troll hunting is one of the most important skills for all writers to have.  Here are my tips on dealing with the negative people who only want to tear you and your writing to shreds!

troll hunting
Fantastic artwork by UrsoPanda!
Arm yourself!

Stand up for your writing!  Don’t let these virtual strangers run all over you and shred you with their words.  Make a post that defends your writing.  Talk about why you’re proud of it, what you hoped to accomplish while writing it, and what you think you’ve improved on.  Focus on your positives!

Don’t Feed the Troll!

This might seem counter intuitive after just saying to respond to nasty remarks.  However, you don’t need to answer every single comment you receive.  Trolls feed off of your response.  They love to see the turmoil their words cause in your gut.  Publicly responding to each and every troll remark is a sure fire way to give them the satisfaction they seek.  Make your stand and then delete the negative.

Turn Off Anonymous Messaging!

For some reason, people on the internet are bolder when they can hide behind the ‘anonymous’ screen name.  They find it possible to say all sorts of horrible things if they don’t think it could ever be traced back to them.  Turning off their capability to be anonymous will immediately cut back on the amount of rude reviews you receive.  Most online publishing sites such as Tumblr, AO3, and have ways to monitor and disable reviews and comments made by unregistered users.  Use that feature.  It will make your life less stressful.

Surround Yourself with Love!

Not all of your reviews and comments are going to be rude trolls telling you to throw your paper and pens away.  Usually, for every rude troll there are at least two or three people who will tell you that they enjoy your story.  Focus on these reviews and comments.  These are the ones that are going to lift your spirits and make you want to put your fingers back to the keyboard.  They will also be the ones to tell your trolls to go back to their cave or bridge!

Keep Writing!

This last one is the most important!  Keep on writing no matter what anyone says. If you stop writing that’s when the trolls win.  If your writing isn’t the absolute greatest, that’s fine.  Practice makes perfect and continuing to write is what’s going to help you get better.

Those are my tips for dealing with rude reviews and trolls.  They drain a lot of your energy from time to time but don’t ever let them be the reason you stop writing!

So how do you deal with trolls and rude reviews when they rear their ugly heads?  Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think!  If you enjoyed this post then please click one of the share buttons and tell your friends!  If you really liked it then consider hitting that subscribe button on your way out the door!

Thanks and happy writing!

The artwork on this post is a commission from my really good friend Ursopanda on Tumblr.  You can check out her art here and her super cool comic Of Fairies and Ghosts here!

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