Words and how to use them, number 1: Internet Troll

In a bizarre moment of synchronicity, I was reminded today of one of the factors that influenced me when I was writing my latest book series THE TROLL.

It was all to do with a recent post someone made on facebook, in which they referred to not feeding trolls. And it was interesting, because I knew exactly which internet experience this individual was referring to, so that I also knew it was a total misuse of the word troll. I noticed this happening so frequently on the internet back in 2012 that it felt like a theme. Internet troll no longer meant someone on the internet, trawling for a reaction. It wasn’t used to refer to a psychopath or narcissist having fun at the expense of others. A new meaning was emerging. Troll: someone on a different side of an argument from you.

I’m interested in the meaning and use of words, so this is something I explore in the series of novellas. Of course, I couldn’t resist bringing in some fairy tale references. I made one of my characters an academic who studies these things, which gave me a lot of room to explore that too. I’m also interested in the ways people interact online and how that leaks into real life. The way teenagers will use words like lols and hashtag in everyday conversation. The way these things influence the way we think and our internal monologue. I explore this with my other point of view character, who is a radio presenter. Working with these two different voices was a lot of fun.

I usually find when I’m writing that a number of different influences will come together all at once, culminating in something with a coherence, when you’re lucky, anyway. I remember very clearly how that happened with my first novel and it happened here too. I’d been experimenting with a stream of consciousness narrative where I introduced a change of point of view with something like a twitter ID, @louisa or @kelly, and changed the focus of what they were talking about with hashtags; #prometheus or #5fingerbargain. I realised that I had to write about the internet, really, to use that structure.

The thing about the troll that haunts the friends in my story is that it’s not really a troll at all. It’s someone they know, set on revenge. You’ll have to read the books to find out who 🙂

THE TROLL, book 1. The boy with the sliver of ice in his heart

THE TROLL, book 2. The girl who was eaten by stories

THE TROLL, book 3. The man with a tale to tell – coming soon!