Discussion: Are spoilers always a bad thing? And what do you consider as a spoiler?

Hi dear friends!

 

Today’s discussion is about:

-something that’s hated by most readers;

-something that’s sought after by a minority of readers;

-something that can be a life saver for trigger unhappy readers;

-something that can lower your blood pressure when you have a thirst to KNOW!

Today’s discussion is about spoilers!

 

First thing first: what is a spoiler for you?

After discussing with my kids (they often help we about these discussion posts) we came to the conclusion that a spoiler is:

-every important event in a book, kind of a plot twist or a big reveal;

-a decisive choice the main character or one of the main characters made;

-the ending;

-in a mystery or crime “who did it” of course;

-in a love triangle “who will be chosen”;

-….fill in the blanks here!

 

Based on this what can you write about the plot in your review without being spoilerish?

-everything that’s mentioned in the synopsis;

-if the synopsis is very vague, the story up to 10% of the book maximum.

 

But are spoilers always bad?

What if there is rape in the book? Or abuse? Or addiction? Or cheating? And it’s not mentioned in the synopsis?

Some people would never buy the book if they knew there was one of these elements in it! If we don’t say anything in our review they could feel cheated! The spoiler looks more like a warning about possible triggers but I think we should mention something about it!

 

What if there is no happy ending? Should we mention it?

That one is trickier and I don’t have a definite answer!

 

And of course there are times when you can’t avoid spoilers!

I speak about the review of a second or third or …book in a series. Because nearly everything will be a spoiler for people who don’t have read book one or two or ….!

 

Last word here: if you know how to hide spoilers in your post on wordpress let me know! Maybe write in white? Or is there another trick?

Do you agree? Disagree? Have another definition about spoilers? Think of other circumstances where they can be a blessing? Now you talk!

 

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

 

 

 

 

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40 Replies to “Discussion: Are spoilers always a bad thing? And what do you consider as a spoiler?”

  1. Oh, i hate spoilers. I also agree with you on the definition of spoiler… The only time when i actively look for spoilers is when i didn’t like a book, i DNF, but kinda want to know who was the murderer 😀
    Those abuse / rape, etc should be trigger warning. But along the lines that “there’s rape in the book”, not specifying who is doing it to whom and in what way.

  2. To me spoilers can be anything! Just “I loved this book so much” can be one, because if we know the person well and are used to chat about books with her/him you can already figure some things out before they happen. I agree with trigger warnings, usually I’m against them because I find it super spoilery, but then one time (but this happened only once) I read a book and I wish I’ve read the warnings because they were too much for me… Great topic anyways!

  3. I’m one of those people who actively seek out spoilers, but I do try to avoid them when writing my reviews, as I know most people prefer not to see them.

  4. I completely agree with your list of what counts as a spoiler. I try to confine my plot-related comments in book reviews to teasers from very early in the book. It’s that fine balance between wanting to give a little taste of what the book is like, without giving away so much that they don’t feel like they need to read the book. Trigger warnings are a tough one. I feel like they’re important but am not sure how to keep that element completely spoiler free. Spoiler tags are probably a good option for that. I don’t know how to use those though, lol.

  5. I hate spoilers. I did a whole post about it, and pretty much agreed with you about what is “safe” (synopsis, early chapters), but what could be a spoiler can be very subjective. I will read trade reviews, and think some the things they include are spoilery.

  6. This is such an interesting discussion, Sophie! I don’t feel that potential triggers are considered spoilers, for me they should be mentioned in the reviews to warn readers, I know that personally I would be more careful and know that I need to be in a certain mindset to read a book that has potential triggering content. So for me, triggers, despite being considered a little spoilery at times, are so important and needed, definitely. When it comes to other kind of content, I’d rather keep the reviews I read and write spoiler-less at best and, if there’s something I need to mention, I’ll put it with big heavy warnings and bold letters beforehand so readers won’t accidentally read it. I hate it so much when I read a spoiler somewhere and I haven’t been warned beforehand, so frustrating!

  7. I really don’t like spoilers! I also don’t even read trigger warnings because I have no triggers myself and find them to be spoilery (but I respect and understand why they are there!). But yes, even knowing about the HEA feels like a spoiler to me…

  8. Great topic, Sophie. I personally prefer to stay away from spoilers in my reviews and find that it gets harder and harder when you start reviewing sequels. I still do my best to remain vague about it and try to get to the point to not ruin it for anyone. It’s why I’ve always been skeptical about trigger warnings since I prefer not knowing it before reading but then there are others who need to know them because of their personal experiences.

    P.S. a very long time ago I used a html code to hide spoilers and people would have to hover over the word to see the spoilers. I could try finding it if it interests you! 🙂

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Oh yes please! The html very much interests me!!! But as it seems that WordPress can hide html in comments maybe you could DM it to me on IG?

  9. I think spoilers are all dependent on the reader. We all have various needs on it. Now for me personally, I don’t mind spoilers, it doesn’t ruin the book for me. And there are some things I need to know like if there is a love triangle or cliffhanger, now for triggers like rape or something I like to mentally prepare for it because those are real things that I think should be in books more to bring awareness. I don’t like books to sugar coat life too much, but I know some readers that don’t even read blurbs because those are even too much of a spoiler for them.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      For very dark and angsty books I also need to prepare! Or someone reassuring me ! If I don’t see spoilers then I will read the last page LOL

    2. Great topic!

      I don’t mind spoilers, usually. I guess, for me, it’s akin to the journey being more important than the destination. The spoiler fact is that destination, and yes, I may now know to *what* I’m travelling, but… still gotta get there, and that will be filled with fun.

      I know most people don’t like them of any, so I try to be mindful not to post any.

  10. Spoilers are a great sin in the bookish world! I don’t mind trigger warnings but i hate when the reviewers reveal some major stuff like romantic relationships, character deaths, and plot twists. I always avoid social media when a new SJM book comes out.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well indeed these are major spoilers! I would never reveal these because where would that leave other readers right?

  11. Writing reviews has made me so afraid to post a potential spoiler. Sometimes it is so hard not to give things away. I think that if I am wanting to know about certain things to avoid or triggers in a book, then I am totally okay with that. It is so hard because everyone has their own ideas. You have given me lots to think on, for sure!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Happy to make you think Lori LOL But yes it’s complicated! Same as an author can’t pelase everyone our reviews can’t please everyone either …

  12. I always try to write my reviews a little on the vague side… but personally I don’t mind spoilers so much unless you are going to reveal who the killer is… then what’s the point in reading that book? I prefer to go into something with some Idea of what to expect.. like you said before what if there’s abuse, or rape.. and it’s not mentioned?

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well for some books that are quite dark or angsty I do prefer being warned too !!!

  13. I always thought I did well not spoiling in my reviews, until one day some bloggers were having a conversation about me on twitter how there were some medium level spoilers in one of my reviews… I went and read the review again to double check and I didn’t see it. So now I really doubt what is a spoiler or not. I try to stick with the premise in my premise section.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That’s another problem indeed: everyone has his own definition or feel of what a spoiler is Dani! Hard to avoid them totally and write a somewhat good review.

  14. Well, I know Goodreads has a spoiler button so when you copy the html code to cut and paste on your blog just leave it as is or make the ‘spoiler’ into a link to your goodreads review? I know the free wordpress doesn’t have the spoiler button option but if you pay for your blog hosting there is an option for that so yay! Anyhoo , booklikes.com has a spoiler button as well. I think a review should be describing what you just read. If it had certain things that didn’t appeal to you then you could mention the reasons in your review, but I personally don’t care for anyone’s “opinion” because everybody is different and everyone has an opinion. I would suggest to just write about what you read without giving away too much. A review is never spoilery to me because you can’t fit a 300-400 page novel into one page.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well when you put it like that… indeed I can’t fit the book into one reveiw! Thanks for the tips about the spoiler button!

  15. Great topic Sophie! I concur with your list of what constitutes a spoiler and I do try to avoid them. However, when there are themes/topics that I think might trigger some readers I usually provide a warning, especially if the publicist hasn’t given one in the synopsis.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Yes Kim as I think some people could really be shocked, depending on their past and trauma!

  16. I personally don’t care about spoilers. I find them comforting if a book is angsty or stressy. I find I can deal with a lot if I know it works out in the end! For me, it’s the journey that matters not the destination. In other words, I like to know where I’m going!
    However, I appreciate that others do get quite pissy about them so I try and moderate what I say and if I can’t avoid dropping a big one I write it in white with a ‘highlight here to read’ type of message.
    And as you say, if you’re reviewing later books in a series, it’s natural spoilers for early books inadvertently creep in otherwise you can say nothing!

    People are so different when it comes to what they deem acceptable, with regards to spoilers, that you can’t please everyone no matter if you try!

    1. Exactly. I feel the same way you do. It would be hard to spoil the journey but I appreciate reading reviews nonetheless.

    2. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Good point about a book being angsty! Sometimes when it’s really too much I just HAVE to peek at the last page …so a spoiler is very useful!

  17. Also, I have found a way to hide parts of your post, and the reader has to click-to-reveal! If you check out my GOT post (scroll down to the 2nd “Spoiler Warning” stop sign almost at the bottom) you can see it says “click here to see the list” I am still hesitant to use this because I don’t know if it works for all browsers and devices and I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything so I still try to provide warnings.

    https://perfectlytolerable.com/2019/05/09/thoughts-so-far-game-of-thrones-seasons-1-4/

    I have wordpress, and the HTML code for the click-to-reveal is this:

    Put what you want your “click here” link to say

    Put whatever you want hidden here

     

    1. shoot apparently comments translate HTML. Let me try again

      Put what you want your “click here” link to say

      Put whatever you want hidden here

       

      In order for this to work in your code you would have to remove all the spaces within the brackets

      1. Ahhhhh so apparently it ignores spaces Sorry for spamming your comments 😀

        Here is a link to a place that shows you how to do it:

        https://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_details.asp

        1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

          Thank you Brittany!!!!!

  18. Spoilers are super tough. I agree we need trigger warnings but a lot of the time they are spoilers. Also is saying that there is a big twist a spoiler even if you don’t say what the twist is? I would say its not a spoiler, but its also not something some may want to know.

    My rule for myself is, that if I haven’t read a book and have any desire to read it then I won’t read any reviews at all. I like going into books fairly blind and I don’t want to know ANYTHING! I usually have to read the synopsis to see if I would even like a book, but its my favorite to go in not even knowing that much.

    Recently I read Sherwood and Sorcery of Thorns. I knew Sherwood was a Robin Hood retelling and Sorcery of Thorns had something to do with libraries and magic. I didn’t know anything else. I didn’t read the synopsis and I avoided other people’s reviews like the plague. And I loved it! Both books were amazing and I loved having no idea what was going to happen!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well when I plan on reading a book I sometimes avoid reading the reviews before being finished! I want to go in blind!

  19. I try really, really hard to keep my reviews spoiler free. I do include warnings and those may sometimes ruin things. The last one I scheduled, I put that there was a trigger warning I couldn’t share, but would tell it privately if someone wanted to know. It would have ruined a huge part of the book though.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well that is probably the best option! I will use it if there is a massive spoiler who could be a trigger for some people!

  20. I think that when it comes to topics like rape, addiction etc., it’s rather a responsibility of the author to include some hints, at least, in the blurb or a flat-out warning and it shouldn’t be up to the reviewers to let everyone know what the possible triggers might be. Overall, I think I personally would want to know in advance whether a story did not have a happy ending, but I’d limit this for the romance genre and would still prefer to be surprised when it came to general fiction, or even fantasy or YA probably.
    Usually, when I write a review, I try to talk about the characters and their development, the writiting style, and pace. And only include some minor aspects of the plot that are included in the blurb. If I do include spoilers, I announce them, because I would never want to read a review to decide whether to pick a book up and stumble accidentally on a spoiler.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I agree with you on the triggers Talia but if the author said nothing I feel bad remaining silent …

  21. I try to mention triggers but use a spoiler alert so those who need to know can click it and say something to the effect… the story touched on a sensitive subject that may be a trigger for some readers. Read spoiler>

    And yes I agree on your list of what is a spoiler. I try to keep mine to mentioned in synopsis but am often surprised when others reveal things I would not. Or when someone says I did. Like for example I said it was a rough ride to our HEA. And someone said well now I know they got a happily ever after what is the point. For me a romance, and by definition a romance novel includes an HEA, otherwise it falls in another subgenre or completely different genre. IDK.

    Now Mystery Thrillers and Horror are hard, because those I rarely read the synopsis especially if it is an author I read. Examples would be Ruth Ware, Stephen King etc.

    Great topic.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Kimberly you are right about romance and HEA. I have had similar reactions from people but what you said about the rough ride is not a spoiler for me!

    2. Kimberly – I’m with you. The HEA is expected. Even the pairing is usually obvious in a “real” romance. That is NOT a spoiler.

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