August 25th 2007
To Spoil Or Not To Spoil
When I was a kid, I loved going to movies. I loved the moment that the lights went down, when the trailers started projecting across the screen, when I was shown tantalizing glimpses of worlds to come. I was totally drawn in by the hints and the suggestions, the story bits that were sprinkled across the screen to draw me in.
Not so much anymore. Trailers routinely tell the viewer the entire story, from start to finish. Every character arc is revealed. Every plot detail is displayed.
And it’s not just trailers. Movie reviews routinely tell the entire plot, including any backstory and all Big Reveals. Book reviews recite plots, juggernauting from point to point with a vigor that would have doomed any elementary school book report that I attempted to submit for credit.
Due to a number of time-sucking real-world events, I was unable to read Harry Potter VII until three weeks after its release. I skated through mainstream media with my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears. I skimmed the hundreds of blogs that I monitor each day, skipping over all entries that contained the letters H and P in close proximity. I squinted as I read book review sections — even headlines — in newspapers and magazines both print and electronic.
And somehow, I survived unscathed. I opened the Deathly Hallows without knowing if Snape was good or evil, if Harry lived or died, even without knowing what the Hallows were. And my reading experience was superior because I didn’t know.
I am astonished when readers ask me to tell them about my books. I say things like, “SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL is the story of Jane Madison, a librarian who finds out that she’s a witch. When she takes on the powerful women in her local coven, she has to fight to keep her witchcraft skills. The only way she can win is to decide what — and who — is important to her.” About fifty percent of the people I talk to say, “Yeah? What is important to her? Does she end up with this guy? Or that one? And does she keep her witchcraft skills?”
My mind boggles. I ask people if they really want to know. About half say yes. About half want to know every last plot detail for a book that won’t be released until September 25.
So, how about you? Do you read for plot? For character? For the invention of alternative worlds? And do you care if someone spoils the plot for you?
Mindy, avoiding the spoils of reading and movie wars
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Mindy Klasky is the author of eleven novels, including WHEN GOOD WISHES GO BAD and HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH in the As You Wish Series. She also wrote GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL, and MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL, about a librarian who finds out she's a witch. Mindy also wrote the award-winning, best-selling Glasswrights series and the stand-alone fantasy novel, SEASON OF SACRIFICE. Visit site.
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