Spoilers: what are they, and how to protect yourself from them. Well, no, that’s not quite the topic of this blog.
However, in this digital age of the internet, articles about fictional works coming out as soon as the thing their describing has been released, instantaneous information pushed into your eyes, even if you’re not trying to seek it out—if you’re just scrolling through your social media feeds, you might come across some information that you didn’t know that you didn’t know.
As such, you might come across some information that you don’t want to know. Now, although there’s all sorts of stuff out there that I just don’t want to know about, in the creative realm, I am of course talking about spoilers.
Now, there’s only so many hours in the day, there’s only so much time we have to enjoy the things we like. Whether that’s a good book, movie, show, comic, or video game, you can’t do it indefinitely. Because there’s only so many hours in the day, there’s only so many days in the week, there’s only so many weeks in the month, there’s only so many months in the year, and only so many years in one’s life. (More on this exact topic later.)
I digress. Time is limited, therefore, you don’t have all the time to get up to speed on all your favorite shows or comics or whatever it is you do. That’s where spoilers come in. People who are just as/even more enthusiastic about the work of fiction might give away some plot details that you didn’t want to know yet—ie, a spoiler.
But why is it so frustrating when you come across a spoiler?
The reason is because you’ve already put some value into the fictional work in question. For ongoing series, there’s that resource of time that I mentioned earlier already paid. You’ve put that time that you’ve been setting aside to watch this show
And then when someone just lays a plot detail you didn’t want to know, many people feel a sense of betrayal, almost.
Spoilers have value because they steal said value from a story that has value.
Because the value of a spoiler is different to different people, other problems arise. Some people have an attitude of: “This movie is 5 years old, I can go ahead and tell everyone about the ending. It’s their fault for not having seen it by now.” while other people may be more of the mindset of “I don’t care how old the movie is, if I haven’t seen it yet, I don’t want the end ruined for me.”
Just because a fictional work is old doesn’t mean it loses all value. Some might diminish in some regards; maybe the graphics are outdated, maybe they couldn’t record sound, when we think of that being so easy now, maybe it gave rise to a stereotype that has been overplayed at the time you get around to watching it. But it still retains what intrinsic value it has.
The topic of spoilers is a tricky one. I for one, do everything I can to avoid spoilers of any kind if I have the slightest inkling of a notion of a hint of potential interest in something. Why do I go to such lengths? Here’s why: as a writer, I know the level of detail that is put into a work of writing. I know how the author wants it to be presented. That presentation is part of the art of writing, and the end part of the creative process. Think of theater and dance: it’s all in the presentation.
Because of that, I want to give the author the respect he or she deserves by consuming his or her work in the way that it was intended for me to do so.
Again, I am a huge stickler for spoilers. I want to have that first experience of that presentation, the method that is meant to be. I don’t want to suddenly know all the plot points and plot twists and what characters die and then I can get on with my life. I speak often on how limited time is, but if you’re going to get into a work of fiction, do yourself a favor and get into it in the correct way. Make that commitment to that story ahead of time, and that’s the way the author wants to make their connection to you, the audience.
But am I being to strict? Do you seek out spoilers deliberately? For fun, or to actually start gaining interest in a story? Usually, that’s what taglines and blurbs are for, but hey, feel free to let me know your take on spoilers in the comments.
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