WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE BRIDGE SERIES 2 (ALTHOUGH IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THAT YET, WHY ON EARTH NOT?!)
This post has been brewing for a while, because I keep having to grumble when people who should know better spoil books or TV programmes. Why on earth would you want to destroy the reading experience for your fans?
Now, I don’t mean friends who inadvertently blurt out key plot points when I meet them (“Did you finish XXX yet? I just loved it when – ABSOLUTE GIVEAWAY OF STUNNING PLOT TWIST.” Followed by a hideous silence when you both realise what’s just happened). No, that’s understandable, if unfortunate. What I have a problem with is the increasing tendency for blurb writers to completely miss the point of what they’re supposed to do.
My view is that a blurb should make me want to read a book/watch a film/programme, whereas a spoiler makes it pointless to do so.
So, my The Bridge rant – I fell in love with The Bridge (Scandi-drama shown on BBC4) and was delighted when there was a second series. These programmes were shown in huge, wonderful gulps of 2 episodes back-to-back each week. My TV guide magazine attempted to whet my appetite with the following: Episode 3, Saga and Martin (our heroes) continue to hunt the eco-terrorists. Episode 4, The deaths of the terrorists are investigated.
No prizes for guessing what happens in Episode 3, then?! Why on earth would you think that was a good summary for those two episodes? Did they somehow not realise they were going to appear in the same paragraph?
And it happened again last weekend. I finished a YA novel (liked it, didn’t love it, but it was a good, sound read). It’s the first in a trilogy and at the back it had blurbs for books 2 and 3 to encourage the reader to move straight on to them.
Now, I fully approve of that – if I like the book I like to know there’s more ready for me, and if I really like it I’ll get the next straight away. However, the plot summary for Book 2 made it clear that it was a triangle in which the heroine was going to be torn between two potential boyfriends. Which is a perfectly acceptable trope in the romance genre, no problem with that. The problem was that the blurb for Book 3 on the facing page announced that the heroine was now with a particular one of the candidates from Book 2 … so I could skip all that angst and go straight to Book 3 where she’s made up her mind, eh? It does seem that writing a blurb without giving the game away is now a dying art – or perhaps our attention spans are now so short that writers feel they have to tell us what’s going to happen immediately, before we can drift away to the next thing.
Does having a big plot twist given away before you start spoil the story for you, or are you happy to read even if you know how it’s going to end?