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9.02.2010

Book Blogging 101 - SPOILERS


Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the comments section or email me parajunkee at gmail dot com


Q. Do you put spoilers in your reviews?

Maybe Sometimes? Is that a good answer. I don’t know how to think about spoilers. Because when I haven’t read a book I hate spoilers, of course. But when I have read a book, sometimes the spoilers are good, because you get the full gist of what someone has to say about that book, instead of the watered down, “I can’t give exact references because they are spoilers”, version.

But, I do that. I do random just androgynous statements saying I didn’t like something random, but I can’t tell you what exactly, because it might spoil a major point.

Case in point. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Twilight. {If you haven’t read it this will be a spoiler ;) }

The biggest item that POd me sooo bad was a major spoiler. I couldn’t discuss it with anyone who hadn’t read it - because it gave too much away. I hated the imprint between Jacob & Renesmee. Hated the name too. LOL. But I couldn’t review that, I could only say a major point in the book really aggravated me. Aggravated me so much that it ruined the end of the series for me. Ruined it so much that I don’t know if I want to see the movies. I felt it was a total cop out by Meyers, the easiest way to break up the triangle, put a stop to an ensuing wolf/vamp war...etc. etc. But could I say that? Nope, because people that hadn’t read it yet would have tore me apart. But - it was the whole reason that that book has such a low rating for me.

So spoilers, I don’t know. I would definitely write SPOILER *** or something a good bit before you write a spoiler. Or put at the beginning of the post that this post contains spoilers.

I do this with series posts and I’ve seen a lot of other BBers doing this. “If you haven’t read book 1 & 2 of this series, this post contains spoilers, I suggest you read my reviews...here & here of the 1st & 2nd series books instead of reading this one.” I think it is a very considerate statement and directs traffic to your earlier reviews.

But can we give a blanket statement like, Spoilers Suck. Don’t do it!?

As usual, I’ll hide behind the it is your personal preference, line. You like giving spoilers in your review...by all means go ahead. But, I might not read it.

What got me thinking about this, were these recent Mockingjay reviews. Over 100 on amazon the first day of release. And then with Collins coming out and saying please NO SPOILERS in a PR she sent out. But, did I read a few reviews with spoilers? I read a TON of reviews with spoilers. Very blatant spoilers like who Katniss ends up with, the death of a few of the key people, etc. Stuff that is integral to a story. There was even a dimwit that posted that they only read the last five chapters and thought they were competent enough to give a solid opinion of the book. Gotta admire the honesty though, right?

What is your stance on Spoilers? I really do try not to, but every now and again one slips away from me...how do you handle them? What is your opinion of a review that has them in there?

But most importantly: would you stop following a blog that has reviews with spoiler after spoiler?

I'm not saying that this post will warrant as much discussion as last time...but a few posted their own follow-up posts in response to this one...so to make it easier, I've attached a Mr. Linky. If you posted in response to this one...link it up.

22 comments:

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Spoilers is a tough one. Its almost a judgement call on the book/series. It is hard to review books in a series with out spoiling previous books. So That I do watch for. But in the book itself is one that I try to avoid. When reviewing I try not to spoil the current book, and like to think many readers know there will be some lead-up to what happened in previous books given in the review.

But, I like when ***SPOILER*** is noted on the review as I can enter at my own caution.

I might skip areas of the review to avoid the spoiler, but at least I am aware they are there.

This is another great topic! Thanks!

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I generally don't include spoilers in my reviews. If I include even a mild spoiler I say so in bold print above the review. As for Mockingjay, I wrote an in-depth review of that with a lot of spoilers. I again put a bold notice at the top and then put the rest behind a jump-cut.

Nely said...

Great post. And BTW, I absolutely agree with you on Breaking Dawn. I had the same issues you did! Urgh.

As for spoilers, I agree I normally don't put any in my reviews, and if I do I always try to warn them with a spoiler warning. Take Mockingjay for instance - this is one that when I get around to doing my review will have a big spoiler warning on. You can't discuss some books without having to cross into spoiler territory.

That's just my opinion. ;)

Autumn said...

Sometimes? But I never sit there and go through everything that happens in a book, because then why would anyone ever need to read it?

I think there's a big difference when there's a huge book release event and there haven't been advance copies sent out specifically to prevent spoilers getting out, like in the case of Mockingjay or the Harry Potter books, than it's just a random run of the mill next book in the series (like so many books are...see ReadingTeen's post on the subject yesterday).

In the case of the big event release, I don't do spoilers and generally don't think most people should, find a spoiler chat to vent about it or schedule one for your readers. On the random series release (or even stand alone), chances are the bloggers (as a whole, not any one person) have more than likely already given away most of the plot already so what does it matter if you talk about it? Know what I mean? Most of these series have been talked about to death waaay before the book even comes out.

All that said, I don't generally care if someone posts spoilers if they make known that they are doing so. Then it's your own fault for read it.

Danielle said...

I try to keep away from spoilers but if I do include them I always make it known ahead of time. I think that's just common courtesy. I do agree that its hard sometimes to give an honest review without mentioning spoilers.

The Book Guru said...

I almost exclusively post spoiler free reviews. I think it is more important for my readers to find out if I was excited about the book, loved the book, hated it, etc. A lot of the feed back I have had on my blog tells me that readers are coming to my blog for suggestions on what books to read or to see if my opinion of a book was similar to theirs. I would stop reading someones reviews if they contained a lot of spoilers because I have no self control and I may read it and then be disappointed later on because I ruin the book for myself. One way I manage this is that I deleted every blog from my google reader and then starting adding blogs back that I really enjoy reading and that I know are spoiler free. I still go through the big long list on a weekly basis or more to see what other blogs are reading/reviewing but I generally stick to the 15-20 blogs that I really connect with.

Patti (Book Addict) said...

It depends on if I'm going to read the book and how involved in the series I am. I would not have wanted to read the Breaking Dawn spoilers!

What I'd like to learn to do *hint, hint* is how to "hide" the spoilers if they are integral to the review, that way the reader can choose whether or not to read them.

luv46kdz said...

It really depends on how passionate I feel about it then I'll include a spoiler alert.

The whole imprint thing just grossed me out and quite frankly smacked of pedophilia it was so scurvy! Hands down that book sucked big time and you are right about it being a cop out.

Paula
Tomes Devotee

Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

I generally don't include spoilers but sometimes when I have too--I just put spoilers ahead. Do I read reviews with spoilers? Yep doesn't bother me at all. In fact, sometimes it helps me prep for the big moment instead of stressing about it. I should say that I am also the type that will read the last chapter in a book then turn around to read the whole thing LOL. I also don't mind TV Spoilers so I am guessing that means I am probably a minority :) Yet, as I said I don't post spoilers in my reviews because I have learned that people don't like it LOL

Trillian said...

Generally I don't include spoilers but if I really can't avoid mentioning something then I make sure there's a clear warning. When reviewing later books of a series I assume readers will have knowledge of the previous ones but again, I'd put this at the start of my post.

Mostly I think spoilers are okay as long as there's a warning but like you said, I probably won't read a spoilery review of a book I haven't read. If it's one I'm planning to read then I'm likely to bookmark it and read it later though.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Spoilers burn my britches. I prefer a blogger make them invisible unless highlighted.

I recently read a Mockingjay spoiler (I haven't read the book yet) and it made me sooooo mad.

The Book Vixen said...

I did have one review that had spoilers in it and that was for Beautiful Creatures. That book left me with a few questions and I had to get it off my chest. I did put the spoilery part at the very end of my post, with a SPOILER warning. And if you read the review on my blog (as oppose to using a RSS reader), I made it so you have to highlight the spoilery text in order to see it.

Other than that, I try to refrain from spoilers. This is part of the reason I have stopped "summarizing" the book in my reviews. I didn't want to worry about giving too much away. I just talk about why I decided to read the book, what I thought about the book in general and how I felt about the book.

When I read a book and I have to vent or talk to someone about it, I'll find someone either on Twitter or on Goodreads.

I have AVOIDED every single review on Mockingjay. I haven't read any of the books in that series so I'm not even reading the blurb for this book!

Would I stop reading a blog that continually has spoilers in their reviews? Yes. Yes, I would. I read reviews to get the gist feeling of a book; not to find out who killed who. You want to read the book to find out that stuff. Leave that to the author ;)

LupLun said...

Good question. On the one hand, the reviewer wants to maintain the experience of the book for the readers, which includes being shocked/surprised/horrified by any unexpected developments. On the other hand- the reviewer's first duty is honest evaluation, and if this means either praising some big idea or calling the author on something that Just Doesn't Work, then that's what you gotta do.

When I reviewed Moonlight, the twist near the middle affected the quality of the book so radically that I had to go into it, which was impossible without mentioning it. So I gave the reader a brief warning, then went ahead.

On the other hand, a twist literally ten pages from the end of Linger also undermines its story (though not as seriously). When discussing this, I was able to articulate my opinion in general terms.

The rule I follow when dealing with spoilers is, try to say what you need to by using vague and general terms. But if you can't, put up the warning and do what you gotta.

I may have to test this theory a third time soon- I'm reading Kitty Takes a Holiday, and I want to talk about a major development in a subplot running since the first book. I think it's a good move, but at the same time it's a big swerve. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with it.

BTW, keep in mind that you have some technical tools in your arsenal if the situation arises. If you're afraid of readers accidentally getting spoilers from quick skimming, a bit of ROT-13 will be a good safeguard. Readers will usually accept that reviews of a sequel will spoil the previous book, but properly using the "Read more" link can protect virgin eyes.

Riv Re said...

Usually I avoid putting spoilers in the review. For Mockingjay, since it's so big, I plan to write a spoiler-free and a sploilery review.
I'm going to write a review on the Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa.There's a big spoiler at the end, which I plan to mention. What I'm going to do though, is do black text on black background, and have a reader highlight it to read the spoiler. Of course, I'll say there's a spoiler on that black strip over there. It's kinda like whiting it out or drawing a black line over it, except not permanent.
In general, I am careful to avoid spoilers. I think I only read 1 Mockingjay review, for fear of accidental spoilers put in.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Well, I'm torn! When I'm deciding whether to read a book (or watch a movie), I don't like reviews that reveal too much of the plot, especially (of course) the ending. But if I've already read the book (or seen the movie), I try to find all the in-depth discussions I can, and careful reviews just seem bland. =P

On my own blog, my favourite way to write about books is to do memes like "Character Connection" and "Locus Focus". These let me write as much as I like about certain aspects of a novel (namely, character and setting) without having to go into the plot. General reviews, on the other hand, demand a balanced look at all elements, including the plot--which is probably why I don't write reviews very often. I always want to go more deeply than they will let me.

Marie said...

I try my best to avoid writing reviews with spoilers but I think that sometimes it gets in the way of really telling my readers why I liked or disliked a book.

Usually if I do have spoilers (which I've only done twice) I let them know ahead of time that there's spoilers ahead.

Chapter Chicks said...

I HATE spoilers. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. I've unsubscribed to many blogs because they've spoiled books for me. If I'm reading what you thought about something, trying to figure out if I want to read it or not, I don't want someone telling me what happened. I want to know whether or not you liked it. Leave it to the author to tell me what happened.

As for spoiling earlier books, there is NO way to get around it if you put the synopsis in the review. But you can still not spoil that book. Then, it would be my fault for reading the review when it clearly says, don't read this if you haven't read yada and blabla. You don't find a cool new series and pick up the last book and read the synopsis do you? Nope. :)

This is a great subject.

Laura Ashlee said...

I've been reading up on your book blogging 101 posts. They're really great. Anyway, about spoilers...

My rule for myself is that if I couldn't gather it from the jacket then it's probably a spoiler. Surprisingly enough, this gives me a good bit of room to talk about the books without ruining anything. Of course, I also have a tendency to read classics that I think are common knowledge (like Peter Pan). I just say what I think in reviews like this because everyone knows the story.

It is quite frustrating when people put up spoilers. I haven't read a single review for Mockingjay because I want to know for myself. I usually don't read reviews for a book I'm already planning to read until after I've finished it. I don't want to go into it with any bias.

Mariya said...

It is so hard sometimes because when I write my review I am like let's see how do I write this review without any spoilers because sometimes the spoiler is essential to how I thought the book is sometimes. It is a tough one. I like spoilers so spoilers do not bother me but I know some people hate them. I just started a blog, and I had to rewrite a lot of my reviews over because they are too spoiler-ish. But some books that I have read are just too hard to review without spoilering one part. wow.

Stephanie said...

Sometimes I have had people call me on spoilers when I didn't even think I included any. It is really difficult to write a review without making it sound like an empty promo. Yet if you write I liked/disliked the writing, character, pace, ect people feel as if you told them too much. It is a hard line.

After reading this, I am going to be more aggressive about labeling spoiler alerts.

Jen said...

A nice man with some code-writing skills wrote some spoiler-code for me, so that I can hide the spoilers in my posts. It lets me have the best of both worlds. With a book like Shadowfever, it was really hard for me to write a spoiler-free review, so that code really helped! (This is what it looks like: http://redhotbooks.blogspot.com/2011/04/review-shadowfever.html I love having the option.)

Jenn said...

So many people consider different things to be spoilers though. For some people you really can't say anything about the book without "spoiling" it. I like reading spoilers, they get me more excited about the book. I'm a new blogger though and I'm probably breaking all the rules fumbling through it. Who knows. I just start all my reviews with the statement that my reviews often contain spoilers then no matter what the opinion of what defines a spoiler is they've been warned. To be honest I don't really think I do have spoilers in my review but you never know who is going think what is a spoiler so I'd rather be prepared than to screw up. I write my honest opinion in my reviews and a lot of time I end up focusing more on the writing than the book because writing issues bug me. I'd like to have followers for my blog, I try my best to gain them, but if they don't like the way I review what is the point in them being there? I personally believe if you change the way you're comfortable with doing things it kind of stop being your blog and starts becoming like a politician swaying on issues just to gain votes. I don't really respect politicians and I want people following me who respect my opinion.
That said I did enjoy reading your post and plan to check out the rest of Blogging 101 and use what I like that you've recommended in further shaping my blog.

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