Spoiler Alert (commentary)

The truth is that spoilers aren’t really that difficult to figure out IF the story makes sense. There are basic, recurring tropes that happen in stories that make sense, and you really only need the most basic elements of the story to predict most of them.

It was like The Sixth Sense. The Spoiler is the most obvious “surprise” one can think of in a story about a boy who sees ghosts. (Spoiler alert: Bruce Willis was dead.)

Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Well, of course, he is. If he isn’t, there’s really not much of a story there.

Even now, I’m willing to bet, with almost no knowledge of the new Star Wars films and no interest in them, I can make some predictions (I won’t), and that many of those predictions will be correct. Part of this is because I’m a writer and I think about this stuff a lot. But part of it is also just that, like nearly all humans, I’ve absorbed a lot of tropes and cliches, just like everyone else.

So I’m neutral on spoilers. (Don’t worry. I don’t plan on speculating about Star Wars, even in a non-informed way so there’s no chance I might stumble upon some obvious “surprise”.) But I’m also past the point where I think stories being “surprising” is even really a thing. Maybe it never was.

But even it wsa, with the internet age, maybe it never will be again.

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  1. keith carpenter
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    I know you are right. With the Internet any story’s surprises can be found in 30 seconds. But you still have to look for them. Very rarely am I looking for the end of the story while I am reading them. Instead I am enjoying the characters and their adventures. Maybe as a writer you can’t stop looking how the story is made.

  2. L. K. Johnson
    Posted December 25, 2015 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    I think it is not so much a matter of trying to be “surprised” by the story as seeking out that feeling of “Aha!” when you’ve correctly guessed how that story is going to end,who the murderer is (the Butler), or why the alien ambassador keeps disemboweling people (he REALLY needs a restroom). This is as good a reason as any to at least attempt some level of spoiler avoidance. On the other hand, with a known bad director or series that has had plot problems and/or heavily clichéd storylines in the past, sometimes it pays to do the research no matter how good the apparent ratings. At least you’ll walk out of the theater less angry.

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