This is equally important in person and while writing. Actually, it’s probably more important.
Last week, I spent some time at Robber’s Cave State Park in Wilburton, Oklahoma. It was my mom, sister-in-law, nephew, one of my nieces, and three cousins.
That night at the campfire, my nephew wanted everyone to tell ghost stories. Now, that day also happened to be the anniversary of a very traumatic event for two of the cousins who were with us.
I knew that. I forgot that. When my turn came to tell a story, I started telling one I had heard during the ghost tour at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs about a little girl.
That past event never crossed my mind. I started telling the story. One cousin said, “No ghost stories about children, please.”
That had the effect of a bucket of cold water. I could not believe I didn’t think about that. I still can’t. I felt like an inconsiderate dolt.
Learn from my mistake. Always, always keep your audience in mind, whether in writing or oral storytelling.