Category Archives: irony

Overshare from an Edit

In a novel I recently edited set in 1930s, the main character asks another to stay in his home with a young girl while he is out, and is asked what they should do:

‘… “I don’t know,” he said sardonically. “She’s a girl. Overshare your feelings.” …’

Me, as editor: It is a good line, indeed. However, the word apparently dates from internet and social media times, so doesn’t quite fit the period.

Author: I did check the origin of the word (I was curious, myself), and it seems to have popular roots in the early 1800’s, as well as a strong reassurance in the online age.

I did more research without running to earth the earlier roots, but I did find:

1. Webster’s Dictionary Chooses “Overshare” as the 2008 Word of the Year.

     2. Described as “beautifully British”, the “subtle yet devastating” put-down “overshare” was today named word of the year 2014 by the Chambers Dictionary.

Note the irony of the ‘beautifully British’, when it was chosen six years previously by an American dictionary!

In view of the likely popular perception that the word is modern, I reluctantly suggested either that it be dropped, or that there be a footnote (not recommended, Terry Pratchett notwithstanding), or that something appear in the front or back matter to the effect that some words have been in currency for much longer than one realises. The writer decided to remove it.

Had you written that passage, would you have stuck to your guns? Or, had it remained, how do you think you would have received it as a reader?

© June 2017 Leslie Hyla Winton Noble