What’s a Spoiler??

Spoiler is typically defined as a person or thing that spoils something, but it’s not that easy is it? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about spoilers when it comes to book reviews. On Goodreads, there are people that will straight up lash out on others for including spoilers in their reviews, but just what exactly is considered a spoiler?

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I recently reviewed a book and compared my review to somebody else’s review on the same book and they had many labels for spoilers that I really didn’t consider spoilers at all. It made me reflect on my review writing and I’m questioning if I’m giving out too much information about the content.

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I’ve noticed that some people consider listing any part of the actual story as a spoiler, but does that mean that the blurb is considered one giant spoiler than? 

 

-What do you consider a spoiler and how do you feel about reviews that include spoilers without a warning? 

 

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Thanks for reading and please feel free to comment!

45 thoughts on “What’s a Spoiler??

  1. Nel

    I appreciate spoiler warnings but to me spoiler warnings should occur when someone gives away a big piece of the plot like someone dies but you don’t know that til the end of the book. Or a main character breaks up or kills another character or some huge plot twist I didn’t see coming. I think talking about the actual story is essential to a review. I don’t know how else you could write a review without describing the the characters and the setting and some of what’s going on in order to get readers excited.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, I feel like some of the story is essential. I usually check the blurb to be sure that I’m not going overboard, but sometimes the blurb seems like it reveals too much.

      I recently read a review where a lady started off saying, “Such and such dies in a fire.” I was shocked that she revealed such a major spoiler because I’ve seen people lash out with minor spoilers. I guess everyone is different. Thanks for sharing, Nel! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nel

        I think those people are either too excited cause they know what happens or upset that it happened so they want others to know right away. But usually, with Goodreads anyway, it’s easy to hide what you think is a spoiler and then if people choose to click it and read it, they can’t be upset at you, the author.
        You’re right. Everyone is different. Some people love spoilers for some crazy reason, lol.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I’ve never used the Goodread’s system of labeling spoilers and have always just put a warning above. I always feel like I need to include it, but have relaxed lately. I just have a real problem figuring out what people consider spoilers in the first place, lol, because we are all so different. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your insight, Nel! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is an interesting question!

    I am usually very careful when writing reviews and try not to give away anything about the story and focus more on my feelings and thoughts. I think for me, spoiler is anything that goes beyond the blurb description.

    Often I don’t even read blurbs before starting the book, I like to just dive in! Unless, it’s a book I’ve never heard of before.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Alex! Following the blurb seems to be a safety. I’ll continue to do that. I believe you’re right when you say that you try to focus more on your feelings for your reviews. I always strive for that as well, but sometimes I struggle with how I feel and putting it on paper. I end up sharing too much of a summary instead, lol. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this. It’s so helpful and I appreciate it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, some people on goodreads hide things that I wouldn’t. To me a spoiler is anything that gives away something the author intends as a surprise. For example, in Harry Potter, I wouldn’t call it a spoiler to talk about the Mirror of Erised. It’s not a major plot point, and someone who hasn’t read the book probably won’t remember it. But I WOULD call it a spoiler if you said the Philosopher’s Stone was in Vault 713, or to remember the name Nicholas Flamel, because those are major plot points that are intended to surprise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I totally agree. I think it takes a lot more thought than I’ve been putting into it! I definitely don’t mind that people hide tons of stuff on their reviews, but it always makes me question what I should and shouldn’t be revealing.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a great post, Mischenko! I struggle with this issue every time I write a review, since I mainly read plot-twisty stories and mysteries. Sometimes, it is a straight up spoiler to say that the main character is an unreliable narrator. I try really hard not to reveal anything that isn’t on the book jacket blurb.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much! I think that’s a good thing to do, to go by the blurb. That’s what I try to do as well, but sometimes the blurb in my opinion seems like it reveals a little too much, lol. Thanks for sharing! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So I always provide a brief summary of the book as part of my review, I guess some would consider this a spoiler, however I try not to stray too far from the official blurb so it’s nothing that isn’t officially spoilered anyway. And I don’t wrote anything that I consider vital plot or character points and I think that is something that is essential to the spoiler question.
    I read a book recently where there was a beautiful scene where a character came into his sexuality, it was done so well and was one of the best scenes I’ve ever written. But mentioning it in my review would ruin a huge chunk of the book for anyone reading it so I totally ignored it. However, I read someone else’s review and they hadade a really big deal of it and not put a spoiler warning in which to me felt wrong, the scene was near the end of the book and the journey that character makes is huge. I think as reviewers we need to understand the difference between informing people about a book and knowing where we are dropping plot points.
    I honestly don’t feel like I take anything from your reviews that would hinder my reading of any of the books, and that is the key.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Claire, thanks so much for saying that. Understanding the difference between informing and dropping plot points is exactly right.

      I do summaries often and I’ve gotten myself into trouble a few times, although the spoilers were mild and not really what I would call spoilers anyway. Saying that a book has an emotional ending even gives it away for some. Writing reviews takes work and I find it so hard to not include what some consider spoilers sometimes. From now on I’m just going to add the spoiler warning if I have any question at all about the content I’m adding.

      Thanks so much for sharing, Claire. You’re always so helpful! ❤

      Like

      1. As big hugs Jenn. 💜

        I find it so hard with some books finding the right balance and some people will never be happy. Just find a balance you are happy with and add the warning when you feel it’s right. But don’t worry about it, as with all of it, it’s not worth it! At the end of the day it’s just a review and it’s not going to hurt anyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Anything that briefly elaborates on the blurb is fair game and not a spoiler. I also don’t think something is a spoiler if it’s not on the blurb but happens within the first chapter. But I tend to error on the side of caution and label anything that could be perceived as a spoiler as such. I’m awful in person though and have definitely mentioned key things without even thinking, I’m so excited!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The death of a character, even a villain, is considered a spoiler, because a lot of villains make it to the next book of the series.

    It’s somewhat inevitable that people would write that a book has a happy/sad/emotional/shocking ending. After reading my book, a lot of reviewers wrote that the ending made them cry. I still have mixed feelings if they wrote that. Here’s some examples:
    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1868466664?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2003912274?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34122259-the-policewoman
    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2035761567?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

    I consider those reviews as compliments, but on the other hand, I prefer other readers to experience it themselves. Would you consider them as spoilers?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Justin, that’s a great question! I think crying could mean a lot of things, but in the case of The Policewoman, it can lead one to predict. I don’t know if I necessarily consider them spoilers though. I knew about the emotion factor ahead of time, but what happened in the book wasn’t ‘exactly’ what I expected. You know ‘something’ will happen, but what?

      One things for sure, my review for The Policewoman has scads of spoilers, right? It’s a good example…a lot of people might say that it was chock-full of spoilers, whereas I really don’t think the review was THAT revealing. Hmm…I still labeled it.

      My mom and I are in a heated discussion right now about reviewing. She feels that too many people rewrite books in their reviews…Yikes!

      Like

  8. I give spoiler warnings if I share a pertinent detail necessary to awaken the reader’s desire to read the story. However, I want them aching for more and tend to write spoiler-free reviews.

    Blurbs, on the other hand, sell the story. It’s rare to see spoilers in them. I don’t count them as such.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. starjustin

    Ok, here is my thought on spoilers and reviews that talk about the book from beginning to end. What is the point in either?? I try not to get too excited about it but, if someone is going to read a book, I feel, the reader of the book is not going to read it because the reviewer tells them what it is about or the crucial factors that happen along the way in the plot or with the main characters. No, no, no! Whatever would be the point of adding a spoiler to a review or letting something that is an important happening in the book “out of the bag” to use an old phrase to explain what I am trying to say. lol. Sorry if I am making this sound extreme however, I truly don’t want to read a review that tells me totally about the book from beginning to end( I can get that from the blurb) and I don’t want to know about the plot or what happens to the main characters in the book ahead of time.
    Take the rating system for example: One readers #1 is anothers #5 or vice versa r/t rating a book. So why would a reader ever read or not read a book on the thoughts of another person when they could be missing out on a ‘great’ read. So sorry, too much ranting I know but I guess this is a subject I feel strongly about. Thanks for the post Mischenko! I feel better now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally get it, and I’m guilty of doing this at least a few times. I think when I get passionate about a book, I do it more. It’s true. What’s the point of summarizing the whole book and why do we do it? I’ve come across so very lengthy reviews on Goodreads. Hmm…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I adore this post, and I actually took the time to read every comment written so far. I usually skim comments for people I know, or skip in total if I don’t have a lot of time. Wow… let’s see… a bunch of random thoughts as it’s 11pm, I’m tired and really behind on reading WP blogs. But this one is a good one, so I’m pondering by answer a bit more…

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt your reviews contain spoilers.

    People need to stop yelling at each other over review spoilers.

    My philosophy is if you are going to read a review, pick people you know or have read reviews from before, especially if you’re seriously trying to choose whether to read the book or not.

    If you’re going to read random reviews, how do you even know if that person’s taste or opinion is valid? Sure you might pick up something new, but it’s a risk unless you know who’s writing the review and trust his/her style and opinion.

    I often tell more than the book jacket summary, but I am careful not to reveal anything big. I break the book down into the major story points, touch on each one, and if the information is at all going to spoil the major points, I warn others there is a spoiler, or I am so vague, you don’t know what happened, but you become even more intrigued by my hints and thoughts.

    That’s the sign of a strong reviewer, at least in my opinion. They give away a bit more than the book summary, add in some teasers, cover all the major plot highlights and characters and leave the reader of the review thinking… “how could I not read this book” or “nope, that’s definitely not for me.”

    At least that’s what I try to do in mine when I read and write a review these days.

    Such a great topic. I would like to re-blog this tomorrow or the next day… if you don’t mind, that is.

    Please forgive any spelling or grammar errors. My eyes are ready for bed but my To Do List is not.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. James, kudos for doing so well yesterday! I didn’t see you online at all. 👍👍👍

      Thanks for saying that about my reviews and the post. 😉

      Also, thanks for explaining how you review. I like the way you write reviews because they’re never to long and they’re to the point. Sometimes I feel like I struggle because I don’t have a lot to say about how I feel, so I talk more about the story. This gets me into trouble. If Im passionate about it, I preach too much about the book. Working on that…

      If I’m reading a review and I feel spoilers coming on, I stop. Here recently I came across a review that literally started with a MAJOR spoiler. How could you avoid it? It started “A woman dies in a fire” or something like that. That sort of review upsets me, but it’s rare. I would never attack the person for it, but I don’t want to read their reviews anymore. The bad thing about Goodreads is that even if you block the person, their stuff still shows up in the updates. It’s hard to escape it and you have to take the good with bad I suppose.

      Reblogging would be wonderful! Always feel free.

      Thanks for sharing, James. I truly appreciate your insight… ♡

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely not good to start out the review that way, yikes.

        As for blocking, they still show up if someone else you follow likes them or comments probably. I guess that makes sense. Can’t hide everything individual for everyone. Unfortunately.

        I will re-post sometime today so more comments show up too!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Spoilers can be a minefield to navigate. A reader once complained that I spoiled the film my mentioning something that happens in the first five minutes. In my recent review of School-Live I had to give away a big spoiler because there is a huge twist in episode one. In that case the spoiler actually makes people want to watch that series.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I have been wondering about this lately as well. I really try not to give away the story and perhaps I inadvertently do, but it is never my intent. I hope if I do, someone will “kindly” let me know so I do not do it again.There is no reason to be nasty about it, there is enough meanness in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I’ve even status updates with people ‘pleading’ for others to label their spoilers. It makes me second guess my reviews a lot. I don’t want to spoil it for others, but I’m going to continue to use a warning before my review from now on if I think at all that I’ve written spoilers.

      Thanks for sharing, Carla! I appreciate it. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I consider something a spoiler if it gives away critical information. But everyone is different and sometimes I find it infuriating what others consider spoilers that I do not, and jump all over me for mentioning. This happens a lot with my family in regards to shows or movies. Less so with books. I try to be very careful with my book reviews. If I think I do have spoilers, I put a **spoiler warning** at the beginning of my review.

    I think that a warning is good for critical info, major reveals and the like. For more minor stuff, I kinda just feel like people need to get over it. There are far more serious things to worry about or be angry about in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aislynn, I think you put that very well. I too like to use the warnings, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it’s really needed. It’s hard to please everyone, and I also agree that there are definitely more serious things to worry about. Thanks so much for sharing… ❤

      Like

  14. I think it’s impossible to write an intelligent review without saying what it is in a book I liked or didn’t like & why. Some reviewers just gush & tell me how late @ night the book kept them up. In deciding from a review whether I want to read the book, I definitely want to know the setting, the kinds of characters & if there are elements I might find disturbing, such as domestic violence or child or animal abuse. In the case of a classic, of course we’re expected to know the ending. (Oedipus killed Laius; Tom Ripley gets away with murder! Hamlet doesn’t marry Ophelia & get crowned King of Denmark.) With mystery stories, I think it’s wrong to reveal the identity of the villain & the ending & major surprises, but I want to know if I’d like the characters. I once got taken to task for revealing that a character was killed off half-way through the story, but as it was the only attractive character I found in the story, had I known she’d be written out half way through, I’d have never started the book in the 1st place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are some very good points, Bill. It’s hard to just see a 4 or 5 star rating and add it to your shelf without knowing what some of the content is. The abuse brings up an excellent point because it’s something I wish was revealed by the publisher, rather than having to wait for someone to warn. For example, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a book that some people love and some people hate. It comes down to one group that believe it’s a book that contains child abuse, where others see it differently. Mentioning Kellen and Wavy’s relationship would surely scare many away due to her age. Hmm…I’m getting too deep into a different issue here, but to me, mentioning that relationship surely spoils the book because it’s what the book’s all about, which is why I labeled that part of my review a spoiler. Many people just ranted on about the book in their review and never once said anything about spoilers…

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Bill. I appreciate it so much. ❤

      Like

      1. I think handled with taste & intelligence such a relationship is an interesting subject. I chose not to read the book because I was put off by the setting & characters, but that’s my problem, not that of Ugly & Wonderful Things.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, I agree. I’m not sure if I would’ve read it had I known the age issue. It was very difficult to read at times. I was also shocked that a few close friends of mine on Goodreads found my review distasteful, but that’s a subject for another day. Thank you for your thoughts! 😉

      Like

  15. I like to stay with the blurb or at least anything the blurb hints at… I also don’t mind mentioning specific events that happen in the first 20% or so as that is setup… especially if I have a problem with it… I try to stay away from any twists or startling events. If something doesn’t seem like a twist I may reference it in a very general way to be able to share my feelings… Great subject!

    Liked by 1 person

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