DISCUSSION: What counts as a spoiler??

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28 Responses

  1. Dreamy Reads says:

    Oh these could be called spoilers but these are not going to ruin the book for us. They’re very minor spoilers. Like the twist ending one , I don’t count it as a spoiler.

    • J.W. Martin says:

      For me, I don’t want to know there’s a twist ending. Cause then I’ll be looking for it. And when it happens, it won’t be nearly as shocking, because I’ve been expecting a twist the entire time.

      I admit, I may be a little obsessive on the subject.

  2. Tammy says:

    I read so many book reviews, and many of those books I’ll never read, so either I forget that I read certain details before I get to the book, or it doesn’t matter because I know I probably won’t read that book at all. If I’m worried about spoiling things for a book I AM going to read, I’ll just skip review until after.

  3. i do kind of worry about marking books as either cliffhangers or HEAs because that could give someone some idea of how it will end

  4. I only consider a spoiler a “spoiler” if it gives away something major of the plot. If it’s something like there’s a twist or whatever, i don’t much consider it a spoiler. I guess everyone has their own ideas of spoilers. When I write my “spoiler-free” reviews I just take care not to mention any major plot points.

  5. I don’t tend to read reviews (even spoiler free ones) until after I have read the book because things that maybe aren’t technically spoilers make me overthink when I’m reading, like if someone says there is a great pairing in the book, from page 1 I’m trying to figure out who that pairing is or who it’s going to be and if I read that there is a plot twist I’m always looking for it and wondering if I missed it! In terms of writing my own reviews at the moment I only write reviews that include spoilers as if I’m addressing people who have already read the book because those are the kinds of reviews that I read myself.

  6. Kiersten says:

    This is a tough one. I question myself all the time when writing reviews because I don’t want to spoil the book for others. It’s impossible to write a review though without giving way at least SOME details. Otherwise, what would your review even say? “This was a good book. The end.” People want to know why you liked/disliked a book, so you have to say SOMETHING. I try to stick to general aspects of the book without getting too detailed. “Zoe is a really interesting main character because she’s unpredictable” feels less spoiler-y (yes, that’s now a word) than saying “Zoe was amazing. She was pissed that Brad kicked her dog so she smothered him with a pillow in his sleep. I never even saw it coming!”

    Side note: I have no idea who Zoe and Brad are. I’d kill him too though if he kicked my dog.

  7. I don’t mind finding out about the sequel potential or that a book-throwing-inducing cliffhanger is there. I need to know… That way I can happily wait for part 2 and then read both together. Cuz I will want to wring my book until the sequel somehow, magically pops out… hmm… but that’s just me! 🙃

    • WOW! Thats a really great way to think about it. I also much rather marathon a book series than have to wait and wait for the next one to come out (that’s probably why I don’t read many series) and then there is the whole book amnesia thing to deal with…

      I agree. I think I would want to know about the potential of a sequel so that I can better space my reading timeline and know that I can wait a little while to pick up a particular book.

  8. Great topic! I consider a spoiler as any detailed bit of information that is not included in either the synopsis or the first 10 or so pages of the book. So if it says that a character is dealing with grief and loss and it isn’t mentioned in the synopsis that it was a parent, I won’t say who they lost
    But if a book had dragons in the title or synopsis but the book itself doesn’t have dragons – that’s info I want to know! Aka good reporting 🙂

  9. Birdie says:

    I love this topic, specifically because I’ve always thought spoilers are subjective. For instance, I don’t like major spoilers (deaths, villain reveal, etc) but my sister won’t even read a quote because she doesn’t want to know ANYTHING. She doesn’t even like blurbs. It’s impossible to review a book, in my opinion, without saying something about how you did or didn’t like the ending – or that big cliffhanger. Plus, I feel like that’s the stuff people WANT to know, lol. If I pick up a book called One Thousand Dragons, please tell me if there’s no mention of actual dragons. 😀

  10. Hannah says:

    This is such a good question! The expectation spoiler thing is the one I am most careful about in my reviews but sometimes the lackluster ending is the reason for a particular rating and then I don’t know how to get around it. I personally do not mind spoilers all that much because 1) I read so many reviews I can never remember everything and 2) most books I read to not hinge (is that the right word? it feels like the right word but I am unsure) on plottwists. But on the other hand with tv shows I cannot even read the blurb for the next episode without it leading to me not wanting to keep watching (this is connected to my loathing of omniscient narrators in fiction; they make me anxious).
    I guess what I am saying is that I will have to think about this (which is obviously not stopping me from commenting anyway).

  11. I honestly end up reading tons of reviews for books that I probably will never read. But when I know I’m going to read (or watch or whatever) something, then I’ll avoid all reviews as if they were a plague-bearing rat.
    For those in-between stories, though… I guess I prefer to just hear if it was good or not, and a small bit about the premise. My favorite film recommendations are when people just say, “Chauncey, you should watch that movie. I think you might like it.” Those recommendations, perhaps because of the lowish bar that they set, often turn out being my favorite.

  12. I totally think that in SOME cases, saying “what a twist ending” is a spoiler. Like with Golden Son, if I was like “just wait until the last page!!!” that would 100% be a spoiler because then you *know* that everything isn’t finished. And I think it depends on the type of book too, because obviously thrillers and mysteries are going to have twists, but I think something like a contemporary novel might not, in which case it would be a spoiler to say there’s a twist ending

    • J.W. Martin says:

      I think ‘just wait until the last page!’ is fine. Because that doesn’t give them anything to anticipate except the end, which most of us are probably already anticipating. If an ending blows me away, but I don’t want to say much about it for fear of spoilers, I’ll say something like, “That ending. THAT ENDING!”

      I’m starting to get the idea that reviews are more of a ‘reader-beware’ than a ‘writer-beware.’

  13. Really discussion to have! I see your point about mentioning a twist exists- there was one book which I only knew had a “twist” so I spent a lot of time thinking “is this the twist?”- but that said, I don’t really consider that a spoiler, because lots of books (practically every thriller) has some kind of twist.

  14. Interesting discussion post. I agree with @Birdie I think the concept of spoilers is subjective. Some people don’t want to know anything about a book while others would want a taste of the book before diving in. Personally, I don’t like to know anything major about the plot, the beginning, and the ending. However, I’m someone who really likes quotes. It actually draws me into wanting to read the book even more. As long as a reviewer doesn’t quote extensively (like a paragraph, unless the paragraph is only 3 sentences long), then I’m ok.

  15. Mini says:

    Interesting question. For me, the spoilers would be a major plot twist or some specific details which I should be finding out myself. I would want to know the experience of reading the book than the story. When the reviewer talks about what the author is trying to project through the story, it makes me want to read the book more. But, if the title has dragons and the story doesn’t then I would want to know why because based on that I would decide the read the book or not.

  16. Great discussion! I know a few authors that believe that talking about anything outside of the synopsis is considered a spoiler. My personal opinion is that a spoiler ruins the plot twist or ending. I wouldn’t give away major plot details or talk about which characters survive, but I think little tidbits about the characters’ personality traits, and details about how the plot affected you as a reader are okay. Telling me that there were unexpected twists make me more excited to read. Telling me that the ending had a cliffhanger and could potentially lead to another book also makes me excited. But, the cliffhanger ending can be subjective to readers. My rule of thumb for my reviews is if I would consider it a spoiler, I won’t include it, unless I am giving reasons why I DNF’d something, and then I warn about spoilers.

  17. I don’t generally consider those types of things to be spoilers, although I know some people do. But I feel like, if people consider those spoilers, maybe reading reviews before reading a book just isn’t right for them? I don’t say that in a mean way, I just mean, when I read reviews, those are the types of things I want to know. I do get what you’re saying about how a sequel is kind of a spoiler that the MC prob doesn’t die, but that’s true of any series, whether the reviews say anything or not. Except, actually, sometimes a series changes MCs, and I’ve read books in which the MC died or, at least, was presumed dead (but turned out to be alive). I’ve also read a series in which the love interest died in the first book. So you never know!

    There are some times, however, when I feel like saying whether the ending was sad or hopeful or w/e is kind of a spoiler, so I’ll say something like *spoiler about whether the ending was happy or sad* and then hide that but still include for anyone who does want to know.

    • J.W. Martin says:

      Some excellent points here.

      Maybe the key is, people who don’t want anything spoiled shouldn’t read reviews. Which should have been obvious to me because I am the type of person that wants to go into a book as fresh as possible, and I’m also the person who just doesn’t read reviews! 2+2=5, right?

  18. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Somehow I missed this post Joe! OK you don’t want to spoil our fun telling us what a spoiler is 😉 Now spoilers are subjectives indeed. I try to stick to the blurb when writing a review but of course if I say “some will die” or “they will have a hard time” you could see it as spoiler. I write it anyway because I would only rewrite the blurb otherwise…

  1. February 1, 2018

    […] loved JW’s post on spoilers and have been thinking about what constitutes a spoiler […]

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