Let’s Talk with Diane A.S. Stuckart

Spoiled Rotten

By Diane A.S. Stuckart

Who doesn’t hate spoilers? Not me…sometimes. It depends on whether or not I have a vested interest in the movie/book/TV show being spoiled. As I’m writing this, we’re just a few days past the series finale of Game of Thrones. Confession time…though I’d read articles about the show on the internet for years, I had never watched a single episode. Then came the final one, along with the penultimate chapter that aired right before it. Since the spousal unit had left the TV tuned to HBO, I sat down and finally watched. But had I not seen the GOT ending, you bet I was going to read all the spoilers next day. Same thing with Avengers: Endgame. Haven’t seen it, probably won’t unless it shows up on cable and I’ve got a spare hour or three to watch. And so I’ve read all the spoilers I can find. This means I’ll bring a box of tissues to any eventual viewing because I know that [REDACTED] dies in the end.

On the other hand, I was very careful to stay off the internet until I’d had a chance to view a few critical episodes of The Walking Dead so that I didn’t learn in advance who ended up zombie-fied. And, years ago, I managed not to read about the end of The Sixth Sense so that I was truly surprised when THE BIG SECRET was revealed. I would have been outraged had someone deliberately told me that crucial bit of info before I had a chance to enjoy the shocking denouement. But had I inserted myself into a conversation with folks discussing that movie before I’d seen it, it would have been on me if I got “spoiled”.

Bottom line, when it comes to spoilers, intent matters. It’s one thing when someone accidentally lets critical plot points slip. (One of my favorite scenes from the old Happy Days series is when the Cunningham family is heading out to see the movie Psycho and—SPOILER ALERT!—Ralph Malph unthinkingly blurts out something to the effect that Tony Perkins is his own mother.) It’s another when someone deliberately leaks important twists to, well, spoil the experience for someone else. Which brings me to book reviews.

Most reviewers are good about revealing just enough plot to get a potential reader interested while keeping the twists and turns a secret. But not always. I’ve had reviews that revealed critical information about the killer and, almost as bad, revealed who the murder victim is. My publishers have always been lax about the latter with their back cover copy; this despite the fact that I try to make the victim’s identity a bit of a surprise in my books, since my murders don’t usually happen until a few chapters in.

With that, here’s hoping that everyone who reviews a book from here on out will keep the spoiler conundrum in mind. Be mysterious! Don’t tell whodunit…or even “who got it”…when you post that review online. Keep your readers guessing, just like we authors try to do. I promise you, it’s much more fun to know and not tell, than to know and spill!

So, has anyone ever accidentally (or on purpose) spoiled a book or movie for you?

 

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Comments

  1. sallycootie says

    My husband gets very excited and would blab the endings if I didn’t give him a loud (friendly) warning. When I review a book I try not to reveal too much except how I felt about the book and what I enjoyed. I don’t like it when a book review is so detailed it sounds like an analysis. I don’t really want to know everything that is going to happen – I want to find out while reading.

    • Yep, some folks just get excited and want to share. 🙂 You sound like an excellent reviewer. I think sometimes readers and reviewers forget they’re not being graded in English class on a thorough report of what the book contained, LOL. Thank you for not posting spoilers. 🙂

  2. I have to tell my husband not to reveal the end if he’s seen a show that I haven’t watched yet. Re books, I’ve had reviews where too much information is revealed. It’s one thing to write a thorough review and another to reveal too many plot points.

    • Fortunately, it’s rare that my husband and I watch the same shows, so spoiling isn’t a problem for us. In fact, he has a habit of coming in halfway through an episode and wants to know everything that happened up to that point. Not that it would matter if I spoiled it for him, because he’s one of those people who can watch the same movie over and over and over and over again……

  3. Maggie Toussaint says

    At our household, if my guy is taping the OU football game or a certain golf tournament, and anyone in the entire world gives him an update, he’s beside himself. He must reach the ending by himself! I don’t feel that passionately about sports, but I get it. As for books (or TV/movie plots) I am often a very good guesser on whodunit. Sometimes I’m also spectacularly off-base, but then I rationalize my miss by thinking that the writer missed a golden opportunity for a better villain. I get totally engrossed in a story, even if I already know the end, so that knowing doesn’t bother me. For me, the ending comes soon enough…I just want to linger in that story world. However, I refrain from putting spoilers in reviews for that all those people who feel strongly about spoilers. My goal is to have people want to buy the book. If you “spoil it,” there’s a segment of the world that won’t try it after reading the spoiler. Don’t you just love the word “spoiler?” If you think of food gone bad, your nose starts to wrinkle up and you naturally back away. Instead of sending a spoiler message to readers, let’s do everything we can to keep people moving forward to trying new books and authors!

    • Yep, those spoilers really stink, LOL. My favorite is when someone posts the warning “Spoiler Alert!” and then skips down maybe one blank line before revealing everything. NOT helpful. 😛

  4. authorlois says

    Off-hand I can’t recall any book or movie being accidentally spoiled for me by someone else. I tend to do that to myself. Maybe it’s genetic. My grandfather was a county police captain of a major metropolitan force. I guess I inherited his deductive reasoning skills. I knew the twist in The Sixth Sense even before the movie came out. As far as I was concerned, the trailers gave it away. And I usually figure out whodunnit in books and movies early on. So when an author or screenwriter keeps me guessing up to the very end, to me, that’s a fabulous book or movie.

    • That IS a problem with trailers. Half the time anymore, they put all the good scenes in the trailer, including the major plot twists, so that there’s almost no point in seeing the actual movie after one of those.

  5. I used to watch the tennis major tournaments. Often, I’d record them because my schedules didn’t match theirs. Fireworks ensued when the Hubster came in and said, “XX won” or “XX lost” while I was watching the finals.
    As for books, I don’t like it AT ALL when reviewers give “book reports” often revealing things we work so hard to keep hidden until the right moment.

    • People DO get crazy about sports spoilers. I guess once you know who wins, it’s pretty dull watching. At least with books, sometimes I can manage to “forget” what I know in advance so that I can still have an enjoyable read.