Think Before You Send That Nasty Review
"Stop, Drop, and Roll" is a widely popular, unfinished new fan fiction story about Fireman Edward and Student Bella. It's author, bronzehairedgirl620, is one of a new crop of very young, very competent, aspiring writers. She is a member of another elite group of authors however, one I think she would rather not have joined, that of authors who have been "flamed" so badly that they have considered giving up writing. How would you handle reviews like this when you were 17 years old: "Seriously. Write a good story, or just don't write one at all." As we at CBA watched this situation unfold, our hearts broke and we wanted to get her story out. Sadly though, this story isn't just hers, the mean behavior, brought on perhaps by the anonymity of the Internet, has hurt may more authors, and lost us untold hours of enjoyable reading, like Midnight Sun, for instance....
Part 1 of CBA's Interview with Bronzehairedgirl620
CBA: So tell us a bit about you, who is Bronzehairedgirl620?
Bronze: Well, let’s see. My name is Lindsey, and I’m a seventeen year old from Denver, Colorado who spends way too much time reading, writing, and playing music. :)
CBA: What does your name refer to?
Bronze:The name Bronzehairedgirl620 was actually this strange progression. I’m a diehard fan of Van Morrison and the song ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ was inspiration, but since I had never read anything but Twilight Fanfiction, I altered it so bronze haired related to Edward, and 620 was his birthday, June 20th.
I would change it now if I could, but since that’s what people know me as, it stays!
CBA: You are writing a popular story, which is still unfinished, called Stop, Drop and Roll. Can you tell us a bit of the plot without giving it away?
Bronze: Basically Stop, Drop and Roll is a story about Bella Swan, a nineteen year old English Lit major at Portland State University in Oregon who is saved by a firefighter, Edward Masen, after an accident at her apartment building. He’s been through some tough stuff in his life, making him jaded and pretty broken, and it’s all about how their relationship grows, as well as them learning to trust people again. It’s fairly angsty yet romantic in a new and hopefully refreshing way. I’m not a fan of Edward having a dark past and then in the second chapter his demeanor changes completely because he meets Bella. Staying realistic is incredibly important to me.
CBA: How many people are following it?
Bronze: Oh, man. I don’t know. I have…2, 482 people on story alert. That kind of answers your question. I’m not sure if they actually read it, though! –laughs-
CBA: How did you come up with the idea?
Bronze: I was grocery shopping and there was a fire truck hanging out in the parking lot. A little boy was talking to this insanely attractive fireman, and I realized I had never seen a story that had Edward with that profession. I literally raced home, quickly asked around to see if that story had been done, and when I found out it hadn’t, wrote up the first chapter. That grocery scene inspired Chapter Four.
It was strange. I’ve never had that instant need to write a story before. It’s an adrenaline rush, in a very exciting sort of way.
CBA: In the course of writing this story, something happened to you: you had some encounters with mean reviewers. Can you talk about what was written and describe how it all happened?
Bronze: My readers are amazing, they really are. But something snapped in those last few chapters of Stop, Drop and Roll and this onslaught of flames came in. It surprised me. I’ve never had to deal with that before, seeing as they’ve been so supportive till then, but whenever the slightest controversial issue comes up, I learned that some of them jump on you very fast.
The worst part was probably that I really loved the chapters. They flowed easily from my mind to the page and I was quite proud of what I had written. They didn’t even necessary flame the story, but me as a person. I was called stupid, cliché, that my life must suck an awful lot if I carry it into my writing and my personal favorite, reading my “attempts at writing was like listening to someone learn to drive a stick shift for the first time.”
It must’ve taken some time to come up with a creative flame. And the ironic part is, they’re almost always anonymous or they don’t have any stories written themselves.
CBA: Why would someone want to do something so mean?
Bronze: I honestly have no idea. My guess is that it’s so impersonal and they feel like they can. We write and post everything on the Internet. We’ve got this wall that separates everything, and so they feel like they can say whatever they want and it won’t hurt. If they ever saw me face to face, they would never be that cruel. Not to anyone. It isn’t right.
CBA: How did you feel about all of this?
Bronze: I was upset. There’s no other word for it. But fortunately I have some fantastic friends on the site (including the lovely ladies at CBA) who made me realize that they’re worthless. Their opinion shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. It took some time to come to that realization, though. I probably didn’t deal with it the best way, but I don’t really have a filter from my brain to my mouth anyway. I was pretty mad and went off on a few people.
CBA: I understand you considered stopping the story because of them didn't you?
Bronze: Briefly, yeah. I had a weak moment. I love the story to death, but when I got these comments that affected me so much it took some time to remember why I bothered writing it in the first place. It’s not like I whip the chapters together in twenty minutes. I put so much time into it. This’ll sound lame, but these stories are like my kids. I’m so defensive and protective over them, and when someone says it’s shit, it’s…depressing.
CBA: Did it affect your school or home life?
Bronze: Unfortunately enough life at home hit a rough patch at the same time so it felt like everything was crashing down. It didn’t really affect school, except for the fact that I actually did my homework instead of wrote. :)
CBA: Do reviewers go over the top sometimes? Is there a danger to this?
Bronze: The reviewers are incredibly sweet and kind, but they can over the top at times. They like to tell me stories, which is fantastic. If it relates to the story, great. But there are the ones where they tell me about their day and what’s going on in their life and in the end I just want to ask “…did you like the chapter?” Connecting with them is important, but I do want to know how the story is going too. If they don’t tell me, who will? I don’t have that same perspective that they do.
The enthusiasm startles me. I’m not an incredibly gregarious or loud person, so when I get a someone – even through the computer - that is very excited, it’s a bit overwhelming. I don’t know how to respond.
Preview of tomorrow's Part 2 of 2:CBA: Did you think you'd encounter such a thing from Twilighters?
Bronze: Twilighters are very passionate and do things I don’t quite understand at times...