The Art of Oversharing

We humans have come to expect things instantly. Patience isn’t a word often used as much as it was in the past. “Patience is a virtue,” they said. “Good things come to those who wait,” they said. This is a lesson Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory learned the hard way, if she ever did!

Writers today have very instant opportunities to share any details they want about their writing. Some projects are automatically designed for this format, like flash fiction stories posted to their websites or detailed descriptions on characters they’re currently creating.

At what point, however, does it become “over-sharing?”

Late last year this happened with a very well known author. You may know of whom I speak, but I don’t want to name names and throw them under any knight bus (ohhhh look what I did!). What happened was they shared some very intimate details about characters we all know and love, and those “revelations” that were not all well received.

Last year I tried watching a show called Outlander. It intrigued me for two reasons. One, the story has two timelines which run parallel to one other, showing how events affect one character or another. And two, its adventure is based on real events, almost like my work in progress. However, I had to stop watching because its writers left nothing to the imagination. I never saw the “TV-MA” rating in the description, which I’m sure would’ve saved me a couple nights’ worth of nightmares had I heeded its warning. Outlander is not for me. Watch at your own risk.

While Outlander has fantastic writing, costuming and cinematography, it still made me wonder, “How much is too much?” Granted, it’s a TV show, not literature. Television writers still follow the same mantra as authors do: show, don’t tell. When an author tells they tend to overshare. That’s a rabbit hole I don’t want to fall down. Some things are better left unsaid, or to the reader’s imagination. Not everything needs to be shared online.

TIP: “Hover over send” the next time you go to post something on social media. Is it going to be something you may regret saying in the future? Or some story detail that shouldn’t be shared?

This blog post isn’t meant to discourage fellow writers from sharing ANYthing story related online. Certainly not. What’s more important? Getting that manuscript written or sharing details, which may not be concrete yet, before the story’s finished?

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