When Sharing in Writing Goes Too Far

Yesterday’s quote was right: you have to share when you write. Whether it’s ideas, ideals, or personal experiences, some of that has to flavor your writing even if you try to keep it out. And it’s a good thing – for the most part. But there is such a thing as sharing too much (You know what I’m talking about.).

When the writing devolves from a fiction story to a rant or a biography, you end up with book problems. That might mean getting too attached to something that isn’t furthering the story. It might mean that you’re characters end up 2D because it’s obvious that you’re telling your own story. Or you might just make the reader uncomfortable by crossing personal boundaries (the TMI problem.).

Here’s an example: remember a time when people decided on something, and you didn’t approve. In fact, you very strongly disapproved of that choice. And you weren’t shy about making sure that everybody knew that. But you all tried to work around it and get along anyway. Then, came the moment a little while later when you tried to make a joke out of it. And guess what? It fell flat. It was met with awkward silence or a little uncomfortable laughter. Why? Because you meant it a little too honestly for it to really be a joke. And it showed.

You don’t want that to happen with your writing.

My rule of thumb is that when you’re using personal experiences or memories, be cautious of using memories that are still sensitive. The ones that still really upset you when you think about them might be too fresh to use. The same is true for any idea or situation that you feel too strongly about. That’s when you can get drawn in and lose track of your story.

Which means that if you really, really want to use a sensitive one, you might just want to keep an eye on it to make sure the memory or idea isn’t taking over your story. Remember: sharing in writing is good, necessary even – except when it isn’t.


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