Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Defense Of Spoilers

I have been following an interesting thread at Amazon where folks are discussing the pros and cons of spoilers, among other issues. Here are some thoughts on the subject.....

First of all, there is a difference between stating an "opinion" of a book, and writing a review. For example...

This is an "opinion".... That book sucked.

This is a "review".... That book sucked because of poor writing, shallow characterization, too much purple prose, and unresolved conflict.

This is an even better review..... That book sucked because of poor writing (do you not know how to spell "captin"?), shallow characterization (we never got to see any deep POV for Charlie's character), too much purple prose ("your petals are filled with the sweetest dew") and unresolved conflict (what happened to the sister trapped in a Turkish prison)?

In other words, an opinion is just a statement with nothing to back it up. A review should be supported by details. Specific details make it even better.

I have an academic background. You always, always, always, support your hypothesis. You cite specific examples from the text to back up your claim. It's still an opinion. What I consider purple prose someone else might think is the best writing since the holy bible. But at least I am supporting my point of view with details.

This is why I use spoilers in my reviews. This is also why I usually don't read full reviews of books until AFTER I have read them. I don't want to spoil the read for myself, but I enjoy checking out other folks' opinions after the fact.

It is possible to write a general review that includes basic details without including spoilers. I do it all the time. It just sounds like a more generic review. "Great pacing, lovely setting, beautiful love story!" This is fine. But this is even better..... "The moment when Zsadist scribbles 'I love you' on a scrap of paper and hands it to Bella is one of the most touching scenes I have ever read in a romance." It's a spoiler, but it also captures what is magical about that book.

So, those are my deep thoughts for the day!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday,