WARNING: This article is about book spoilers.
“Don´t spoil the story!”
“I don´t want to hear it!”
“Great. Now I don´t need to read the story because you spoiled it for me.”
Book spoilers. There´s nothing more a reader hates. To have a story spoiled for them.
That´s a book spoiler. Pretty informative, right? You know exactly what a book spoiler is. But you don´t, really. Because book spoilers aren´t necessarily book spoilers.
Believe it or not- Readers have their own definition of a book spoiler.
But who get´s to decide what an actual book spoiler is, and what´s not? Is revealing an insignificant piece of info enough to be considered a spoiler? Is explaining a story a spoiler?
I think it´s obvious that revealing an end scene / the end of a book is considered a major spoiler. That´s just ruining it right on the spot.
But the rest? Who is the judge of what a true spoiler is or not?
If you want an answer from off the top of my head I´d say that it depends on the person / reader. Some readers don´t mind when a review reveals minor details and some go completely ballistic when a tiny bit of detail is mentioned. It´s a matter of opinion- Like everything else is.
I´ve been reading more often, than not, how readers don´t want to be spoiled. Something I completely understand and respect. But what I don´t understand is:
Why attempt to read a book review if you don´t want to be spoiled?
Has anyone ever thought of book spoilers as book teasers? Because book teasers are often included in reviews, too. Let´s see what the definition of a book teaser is:
Oh-HO! This means a book spoiler isn´t actually any different from a book teaser. Technically- A book teaser is a spoiler. It reveals an aspect of a story others would have found out themselves, for sure.
Book teasers come in a few forms: Graphic quotes ( a line taken from said book included with a lovely fitting graphic), excerpts, or book teasers can be built in reviews ( 3 lines that are enough to tickle a reader but not enough to full spoil the story). Funnily enough- teasers ( in all their many forms) are excepted. But it´s not okay to reveal a spoiler? I´m confused.
I´m a book blogger. That means, I read a book and then I write a review that´s hopefully helpful for those who are looking for their next read. I include the following in my reviews:
- Title, author, special features in form of graphics ( e.g maps, book cover, gif )
- Plot summaries ( If needed. Sometimes the synopsis, provided by the author / publisher, goes into great detail )
- A one – liner ( One-liners can be used for quick social media posts that could hook a reader )
- Including useful info (Main characters. Were they credible? Which were my favorite characters. )
- Personal experiences ( Was I able to relate to the characters? Did I experience a similar event as the characters?)
- My opinion ( Did I like the book? What was my favorite / least favorite part/ scene?)
- My recommendation ( Would I recommend said book? And to whom would I / would I not recommend said book?)
The above are what I try to include in all my reviews. Sometimes, a book doesn´t allow me to add all at. Sometimes emotions play a bigger role and over rule everything else. But one thing I try my best to do is: Not to reveal, what I think could be, spoilers.
That´s harder to accomplish than one would think.
When I write my reviews I take my time to think of what can be seen as a spoiler and what not. I read the book´s synopsis twice before adding a plot summary ( because who wants to repeat what´s already available, right?). I sit and wonder and ponder and break my little head over words and sentences. My biggest problem is not how to write a review- It´s about what information I can include to avoid someone telling me that my review contains spoilers.
These days, I feel like I should include a spoiler warning in all my reviews. You just never know who´s going to spot something they consider a spoiler. And I do add spoiling warnings.
I want my reviews to be read. I mean- That´s why I´m spending my free time writing and publishing them in the first place.
Other bloggers want the same thing- For readers to read their reviews.
How does a book blogger recommend a book without revealing a tiny, itsy bitsy piece of detail about a story? Because when I read a review where someone just repeats the synopsis and doesn´t give me something more, other than a “I really enjoyed this book / I loved this read.” then I will hop on to the next review that hopefully has something more convincing. I would rather read something I don´t already know. I need that little convincing push.
A book blogger not only writes a review. In that moment when a book blogger publishes their review they recommend a product. They want others to see WHY they´re recommending the product. They want you to know HOW they came to love / hate the product. They want you to find out WHAT is so special. No one wants to buy the whole cow, but everyone wants a taste of the milk first. They want to know if a product would be something they´d also like or dislike. If a review is so diplomatic and 100% neutral then I, as a reader, have no flipping clue what a book is about. In that moment, I don´t need to waste my time with a review and can stick to reading the synopsis until I turn blue and purple.
So, my question still stands: What is considered a book spoiler?
I´ve talked to alot of people and have learned that many despise any type of book spoiler. Which is fine. To each is their own, I say. But in that moment where you´re talking books with someone, face to face, who doesn´t like spoilers… you´re completely handicapped.
“Don´t spoil anything.” They say, often in a frantic, slightly louder voice. ( as if saying that in a normal tone wouldn´t work as well. Lol)
Well, if that doesn´t kill a conversation on the spot then I don´t what does. So you find other ways to try to convince your friend / family member / neighbor to buy the book that´s REALLY good.
“It´s a great book.” You say and you leave it at that because your hands are tied. Conversation = Over
On to the next subject which is usually food. * insert laugh*
Book conversations are safe when both parties have finished reading the same book. But, recommending a book is just as much fun as discussing the aftermath.
Personally, I don´t mind spoilers. I actually belong to those people who can listen to someone rave about a complete story in great detail and I´d STILL want to read the book.
I can literally hear you all holding your breath and see you shaking your heads now. But I truly don´t mind spoilers at all. Why? Because everyone perceives a story differently. Everyone explains a story differently. I might envision something entirely different.
For me, there are 3 different types of book spoilers:
- Minor Spoiler – This is where a review adds a little more detail about the story than the synopsis has already revealed. A minor spoiler does not reveal the story.
- Random Opinion – This could be anything from quoting a piece of a dialogue to ranting about what a certain character has done to evoke stong feelings from a reader. Random opinions do not influence my book purchase.
- Major Spoiler- This is where something highly significant is revealed, such as: sickness/illness, plot twists / game changers, ending scene. Anything that can actually ruin a story for someone.
I understand the concept of spoiling. I also understand and respect others when I´m told not to spoil a book. I would never go against someone´s wishes.
There´s a fine way to avoid spoiling ANYTHING for ANYONE. It´s called “giving a spoiler warning” beforehand. Two words- that´s all it takes to make the world safe for spoiler haters.
That way, the person reviewing a book can always wash their hands in innocence. It takes a few sublte words to make a major impact on a bloggers reputation. Because no one likes to be thought of as the one who ALWAYS spoils.
So, after all that´s been said… I think it´s safe to say and to point out that whatever a reviewer does, it´s always wrong. Or always right ( depending on a person´s perspective).
This article is dedicated to those who hate spoilers and to those who spoil. You are both loved.