Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Learning to Over Share

Funny author moment. At least from my viewpoint.

I'm the youngest of four girls. All my life I've had to deal with "be quiet." Writing was my way to express myself. Obviously, at some point in time, I outgrew the childhood taunts. A frequent comment on my writing is not being deep enough into point of view. Do you suppose that comes a little bit from "be quiet?"

Authors are an introverted breed for the most part. We tend to hold things back, to silently observe. Well guess what? That's a problem when it comes to writing. While we give voice to our withheld ideas and imaginings when we write, there is still a part that we hold back. That "be quiet" part.

When I write, I can see my characters clearly. I can feel their pain. See their struggles. Understand what they're going through. While trying to convey that, sometimes an author's personality steps in and blocks some of the information necessary for the reader. While I might know what's going on in the character's head, the words might not have made it onto the page.

It's okay to over share.

I know of an author who is horribly introverted and shy and fabulously successful. I have been watching her progress on her latest book, only to hear that she's setting it aside to move onto a different project at the request of her agent. Her communications have shown that she's struggling with the personalities in the stories, and they're distracting her. I wonder if she's having some trouble with the oversharing part. And then there are other authors who might be slightly less introverted, who share their personal issues as easily as they discover them in their characters. I read a book recently where the main characters were mortified by the amount of their personal lives that was on display. Sorry, characters. It's necessary to the story line for people to understand who you are.

I'm circling back to an old story one more time. This is the last effort I'm going to make with it, but I can't seem to walk away from it. I finished it once, but the story didn't feel "right." I've had other stories that I've written that are beyond help, but this one continues to tap me on the shoulder. One of the issues with it is that the characters are too superficial. They have strong personalities, but none of that made it to the page the first time around. As I'm rewriting the story, I'm seeing the parts where we didn't know what the hero was thinking and how he got to the decision he made. Likewise with the heroine. How did she get where she is?

Time to overshare. We need to know their deep, dark secrets, what makes them tick.

As an author, I'm always learning new things, gaining new insights, seeing things in a different light. Looking back on an old manuscript shows me how far I've come in my career, and reminds me there's always room to grow.


  1. Yes, if you've been raised 'not to make waves' it can be hard to find the right way to express all that's going on inside the characters' heads.