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Lily

Sookie Stackhouse and why I like spoilers

I love spoilers and often read the endings of books after I’ve read the first couple of chapters. (My reasons why are below.)

But I think I’ve outdone myself this time.


As a long time vampire fan, I’ve been listening to the Sookie Stackhouse books (I’m on book # 8) and watching True Blood (about to finish Season 2). I started both universes at the same time. It’s been fun experiencing these two parallel universes simultaneously and enjoying the points where they diverge and the ones where they converge.

I heard the last novel in the series had been published, so off I went to Amazon for spoilers. Wow!

From the very first book, I’ve had one particular “ship” in mind for this series – but I never once thought the author would go there. This was going to be my private fantasy AU head canon. But wow – the author went there. I’m a bit stunned. With all the different guys Sookie’s been involved with (half the male members of the supernatural community, it seems), she winds up with the one I wanted her to be with.

It’s all in the telling, of course, and with five books worth of twists and turns between me and the end I may or may not like the end as much as I expect to. But that’s OK. I’m enjoying the ride right now.

And speaking of my favorite book character, thank you, “True Blood”, for showing him frequently in the nude. Much appreciated.

(And thank you, “True Blood”, for not killing off Lafayette; he’s my favorite TV character.)

Why I like spoilers:

1. I hate surprises
2. I’m an editor at heart. I love seeing how stories are structured, and knowing the end allows me to see how the author crafts the story. I get almost as much enjoyment out of witnessing the craft of writing as I do out of reading a really good story. And that’s a lot of enjoyment, in both cases.

Comments

I am three episodes away from finishing True Blood season five (the newest season that just came out on dvd.)

I am really enjoying it. It's highly entertaining with interesting details everywhere.

I am rather unopinionated about spoilers because if they are out of context lines like "Castiel grew a third eye in Supernatural" it will mean nothing to me and I will probably quickly forget it by the time I get to watch the season on dvd. The story isn't really spoiled for me. But it depends. If someone said "Castiel dies" I might worry about it more, but it still doesn't ruin my viewing pleasure. Not when I really think about it. I found out that Darth Vader was Luke's father before I saw "Empire" and that was a biggie, but the moment was still very dramatic when I saw it play out.

I think I actually enjoyed the Harry Potter movies more because I actually had read the books. So I knew everything in advance and it felt strangely comfortable. I saw the first HP movie before I'd ever read the books. Intrigued, but feeling I was missing some "magic," I ended up reading all the books that were out at the time, and then I re-watched the first movie. I got so much more out of the viewing the second time. It had way more meaning and magic to me. Same with the Twilight movies. The books added depth to the movies for me. Again, it felt comfortable, like a universe I was coming home to.

I do like surprises, though. I like the unexpected. I like scripts that turn things upsidedown and make the viewer perceive from different angles. But I also like a feeling of comfort and being able to savor a story without feeling like I must rush right through it to find out what happens. Sometimes I'm so intent on a book or story that I think I read too fast and don't allow myself that savoring pleasure. So there is something to be said about looking ahead at the ending. You can then slow down and enjoy other details of the ride you might have missed. And you point out that you enjoy looking at things as an editor, and looking at story structure. That's a joy in itself and so in essence the spoilers are allowing you to put your brain in a more relaxed (rather than desperate) mode and savor structure, style and the poetry of words themselves. I "get" it.
You’re way ahead of me on True Blood – I’ll probably have seen the whole series by the end of summer. I’ve been watching one or two a week. I’m really enjoying it.

I’m with you – even if I’ve been thoroughly spoiled on a plot point, there’s no comparison between reading a quick snippet or the equivalent of a script and seeing something played out. Otherwise, we’d all just read scripts and not bother to watch TV/movies/plays.

I can’t imagine watching the Harry Potter movies before reading the books. The books are so incredibly detailed and some of the movies had to cut out so much I wondered how much sense they’d make to people who hadn’t read the books. That’s such a rich, fascinating world.

I do like plot twists. I recently listened to the pro mystery novel “Gone Girl” which had a lot of them. I was somewhat spoiled for them, but other twists I could see from a mile away – I’ve read so many mystery novels I’ve gotten good at this, I guess. What surprised me were the number of people writing reviews on Amazon who hadn’t guessed some of the plot twists I thought were so obvious.

You have absolutely nailed it – I hate rushing through a story; I like to savor it – but if I don’t know the ending, and if the story is any good at all, if I don’t read the ending, I rush and skim to get to the end. And that always left me feeling dissatisfied, so years ago I just started what I do now – read a couple of chapters, then the end, then savor the story all the way through. This way, I can enjoy the story on every level – as you said, structure, style, and poetry. It makes for a much richer experience for me.
1. I hate surprises
2. I’m an editor at heart. I love seeing how stories are structured, and knowing the end allows me to see how the author crafts the story.


With you 200%.

I detest surprises, even good ones. One reason I think I never got much into movies or a lot of TV dramas is that inability to see the end first. I did go regularly to my local repertory theatre - but as soon as the next play they were putting on was annouhnced, I went to the local library, which had a very good drama section, and if they had it, would borrow the script and read it so that I knew what to expect.

With the coming of VCRs, at least I could record something, watch the end and then rewind to the beginning... At least with a series you (usually) know that the main characters will be all right at the end.

With books, I always checked the end first.

I've been told that by embracing spoilers, by looking at the end of a story first (and I've even been known to check the end of a declared PWP before committing to reading it!) I missed 'the first joy of discovery'; but - although I try in my writing to introduce surprises - for me there's no fun in reading something 'blind'; I don't enjoy second-guessing where a story is going - like you, I enjoy seeing, right from the start, how a writer has crafted a story. In addition, though, I have a serious suspense squick (a word I haven't heard for a while, and am wondering if it's gone out of fashion) - I've been known to switch something on TV off halfway through because it was hitting a level of suspense that was seriously bothering me. (I don't like sitcoms either - I tend to get too embarrassed for the characters, even though I know it's all set up for laughs. Cheap laughs, usually at the expense of the nicest character. The other side of the suspense coin.)

Yes, I enjoy a good story - there are some I've re-read a dozen times, and they never get old; I enjoy them as much on the twelfth reading as I did on the second. (I never count the first, because even when I know the destination, I don't know the route to it. The second reading is the relax-and-enjoy one.)
I don’t like surprises in RL either. If someone tells me they have a surprise for me I get all stressed out. I have no idea why I feel this way, but I always have.

I agree about plays, as well – if I can read the script ahead of time I will. I’ve always been known to watch the end of an episodic TV show first, if it’s a special episode and not just a regular one.

The only time watching the end ahead of time did NOT work for me was with “Atonement”. I saw the movie first and part way through I HAD to know the ending. Big mistake; the ending was how the main character wished things had turned out, not how they had actually turned out. I was all primed for that ending – and SLAM! Tragedy I never saw coming.

(I’ve never figured out what exactly the “first joy of discovery” is supposed to mean.)

You know, I haven’t seen ‘squick’ in awhile myself – short lived slang, I guess. I have the exact same squick. I DO NOT LIKE suspense. It makes me nervous and anxious and jittery. If I know where a story is going I can relax and enjoy the ride. If it's a suspenseful story or movie and I don't know the ending I don't enjoy the ride.

I don’t like sitcoms either, with a very few exceptions. I remember liking “Murphy Brown”. Some episodes of “Third Rock From The Sun”. Not much else that I can think of right now.

And agreed, I can read a favorite story over and over again, and enjoy them every bit as much each time.
I’ve never figured out what exactly the “first joy of discovery” is supposed to mean.

Actually, I can think of a parallel - on a hill walk you're taking for the first time, seeing what's over the brow of the hill. There's no suspense in it, but there is a lot of pleasure in the first sight of a spectacular view.

I can understand that for someone who likes to be surprised, who hates spoilers, working through the plot of a book for the first time is the equivalent of that trek up the hill, reaching the denoument the equivalent of seeing over the horizon.

I think that people like us, who don't like surprises, can still understand, if only vaguely, why other people don't like spoilers, though I've found that they never understand why spoilers don't actually spoil anything for us, but, instead, add to our enjoyment of the book/play/movie. What I don't understand, though, is all the things that can be considered a spoiler. The husband of a friend of mine complained bitterly, loud and long, that a movie had been ruined for him when someone happened to mention in his hearing that a specific actor was in it, and 'he didn't want to know anything about it!' (I also remember hearing a story, that surely had to have been apocryphal, about someone who complained that 'Titanic' had been ruined for her because someone had said something about the ship sinking... though wasn't it the Concordia sinking that someone commented was like 'a real-life Titanic'...)
I don't like sitcoms, but adore crackfic when it's well done. but crackfic is usually done with love, whereas sitcoms, not so much. add to that being a weird hybrid kind of british-american creature; most american sitcoms annoy the fuck out of me, and even british ones I'm good for maybe one or two eps and am so done. love Dr. Who, Torchwood, Being Human, all kindsa brit-tu\ype dramas, am just not a sitcom kind of dude, I guess. o well. thank gods for fandom, as fixes all teh stupid crap showrunners try to foist off on us just because *they* never got a blow job in tenth grade...
I love checking the ending of books so I can see if my characters are there alive.

The second viewing of a movie is a joy, no worry, no stress. (if I can get someone to tell me the end I am happy)
I once asked on one of the lists how Titanic ended. I made it clear that I didn't want to see the movie, had no intention of seeing it, but I'd like to know if the main characters survived. This was several weeks after it had been released.

One person responded... and left spoiler space 'in case I'd changed my mind'.
Quite a number of years ago I saw the musical drama “Titanic” staged. When I first went into the theatre, I noticed a lot of names had been written on the lobby walls. I didn’t pay any attention, figuring they might be some kind of listing of theatre supports. The play itself features many actual people as characters in the plot, as well as some original characters. During intermission, I discovered the names on the walls were actually those of everyone who was on that fateful voyage, with names asterisked for the ones who had survived. I spent the entire intermission looking through all those names to try to find out which characters were going to survive. At that time, I didn’t know who were actual people (except for the obvious ones, like several famous millionaires). For example, I wasn’t sure if the telegraph operator was a real person or an original character, until I read his name on the wall as a survivor.

Some of the original characters, mostly male, died. There was a very moving scene featuring the men left on board after the launch of the lifeboats, looking through portholes, singing their final song.
Yes, absolutely - the second viewing of a movie is so stress free. And I always like checking the ends of stories and books to see if the people I care about are still alive. Which is why I checked the plotline of the 13th and final Sookie Stackhouse book, even though I'm still on # 8 - I wanted to make sure my favorite character was still alive, because the author has killed off a lot of characters, including Lafayette, who is one of my favorites. (Fortunately, they kept him alive in True Blood, and went off in another direction.)

Much to my surprise and delight, not only is my favorite (book and tv) character still alive at the end of book # 13, he and Sookie wind up together - which is what I wanted, but what I thought would never happen - Sookie has other, more glamourous/charismatic choices. I didn't think the author would choose the only guy who's been there for her all along. But yes she went there, so unless there are other surprises about this relationship, I'm quite happy and ready to continue listening to the next five books.
I'm with you guys -- I hate surprises, hate guessing games, and hate suspense where the author runs on without ever resolving stuff -- the Chris Carter effect. I enjoy classic suspense, either books or films -- but only if it's well done. I find it very difficult to sit still while the bad guy creeps up behind Our Heroes. I went looking for all the spoilers I could eat for both of the new Trek movies, and definitely saw a lot of stuff I missed the first time around on a second (or more) viewing.

Can't speak to Twilight -- although I long ago admitted that I basically write romance that happens to be both m/m and fairly often, h/c, I couldn't get into that 'verse at all. call me an oldschool vampire purist.

True Blood, though -- woo *yeah*!! Haven't read the books yet but know I'll enjoy them if I can ever get my paws on them. I adore Lafayette, also Eric, and mm, Werewolf guy (never can remember his name.)

It's a good thing I knew about Spock dying in TWOK -- it's the only reason I didn't have a nuclear brain meltdown in the theatre, heh...

I just realized tonight that I learned a lot about pacing and interlacing different story threads from television, particularly the good stuff. The whole idea of keep it rolling, don't get bogged down in minutiae the readers won't care about. Get the bones well built and solidly put together and the story will help me flesh it out. And the concept of flicking from scene to scene while juggling multiple threads, for sure.

Let's hear it for spoilers!!! Give me spoilers, or give me death! Or cake... cake is good...

The more I learn about writing, the more I get out of what I read, and the more I learn... :D

And to Natasha, good to have the chance to say this: Thanks for all the immensely cool stuff of yours I've read and enjoyed over the years!! *puts his paws in his sleeves and bows*

Edited at 2013-05-31 11:17 am (UTC)
Oh Chris Carter! What a con job you pulled on your fans! I loved the X Files, and I really thought Chris was actually going somewhere with his convoluted plots – but no, it’s clear he was in over his head and didn’t have a clue as to what to do next. Grrrr!

I’m looking forward to me third viewing of Into Darkness next week. I’ve read a whole lot of commentary and know there are things I missed the first two times around that I’ll be looking for specifically this time.

You may not like the Stackhouse books, at least not as much as True Blood. The author kills off Lafayette in the second book, which really pissed me off and I almost stopped reading, but then she hooked me again and I plan to listen to the next five books in succession. (Werewolf guy is Alcide Herveaux, and he is hot.)

I knew about Spock dying in TWOK before seeing it. I was part of the “Save Spock” campaign, due to scripts being leaked to the fans. The first script was AWFUL – Spock dies about ¼ of the way through, and gets a basic “he knew the risks of the service like we all do”, and then he’s never mentioned again for the rest of the movie. Boy, did that send fandom into an uproar!

Like you, I’ve learned a lot about writing from TV (and thriller novels, which rely on razor-sharp pacing to keep the story moving). There’s always so much to learn, and I learn more with each good new book I read or movie/TV show I see.
hmm, yeah, not so keen on killing off Lafayette -- he so much more fabulous than I could ever be, I hate the idea of him not being there anymore. still an' all, if ever I get the chance, I'll read at least the first one or two, see if I like 'em. am, after all, quite capable of loving moar than one version of a given Source.

I still hate Jennifer Keller, though -- boo, hiss!!
sorry -- been spending way too much time in the SGA 'verse of late, 'tis my new fannish love (and yeah, in personality I'm kind of a mix between the McShep twins, lol... they're just sooo tasty!

then again, so are the nu!boys, so, made of win all the way.

as for Chris Carter -- srsly, the best eps are either the early ones where Cigarette-Smoking Man was the main baddy -- I think Carter still had a sort of coherent worldline at that point -- or, the standalone eps, like the one with the old psychic man and the serial killer-of-psychics, or the one with the hillbilly cannibals, Liver Fluke Man -- and okay, the one with Mulder and Krychek in prison together, mmmm, yum!!!

Carter's mistake was believing all those brown-nosing fen who kept tellinbg him how brilliant he was. Always a fatal error!!

Lafayette icon for the MFW!! :D
inu-spockya:

Wow, thanks so much. Blush.
thee is most welcome indeed!!! *puts his paws in his sleeves and bows* arigato gozaimasu!
A woman of my own heart! I always read the end of a book or long story before I invest time in reading. ;-)

And the same with movies. I usually check out wikipedia for a full synopsis. ;-)

Terrie loves the Sookie series and is constantly trying to get me to read it. ;-)

I think she said there is a big difference between the books and the tv show. My thing is the violence - I'm weird that way. Can read it, but not see it. So though I love vampire stories, my level of viewing is Dark Shadows and Twilight series...mild. Interview with a Vampire borderline. BTW I heard a good interview with Anne Rice. I think she said she has one more book that she is going to do of the series.

Edited at 2013-05-31 10:46 pm (UTC)
Another person who reads Wikipedia before seeing a movie! I do that all the time. :-) I’ll get a movie via Netflix, read the whole plot, then watch the movie. Much more satisfying that way.

I’m doing the same with True Blood. I found an excellent site which has very detailed plot summaries, and when I’m about to watch the next one, I read the summary first.

I don’t actually mind unhappy endings – as long as I am aware of them in advance. I’ve seen various Shakespeare tragedies, and more modern tragedies, and enjoyed them – because I know how they’ll end. My investment in the characters then is entirely different. But I want their sacrifice to be epic, rather than “oh! the meaninglessness of it all!”, a trope I dislike intensely.

I think you would very much enjoy the Sookie book series. Particularly since you said you can read violence, just not watch it. I don’t think you’d care for True Blood, however; it has a LOT of very graphic violence. (Did you ever see “House of Dark Shadows”? That was pretty gory for that era. The TV show was pretty violent – characters dropped like flies at the conclusion of some storylines – but without so much graphic gore. Speaking of DS, I'm currently rewatching the first year - I'd forgotten how much of a paranormal plotline they had even before introducing Barnabas.)
House of Dark Shadows was my least favorite..and I think it was due to the blood. ;-)

I too don't mind unhappy endings - if I am prepared for it AND if it is not characters I have invested fandom time on...aka Kirk/Spock.

Example...The Front Runner. I wouldn't mind if that was made into a movie. ;-)

Yes...it is the visual gore. And odd I was able to actually observe a surgery - the removal of a tumor in a throat. Thought I would go into the medical field. The surgery didn't bother me at all. But it was a documentary on an ER...and the sight of a bleeding stab wound that made me look at another career. Just the thought of violence made me sick.

I'm with you on this. I don't mind unhappy endings if I know to expect them - I've read the odd story where the unhappy ending (for the reader) was the only possible happy ending for the character. And I can read things I couldn't watch - but I hate the lovingly described blow by blow beating up of a character. Fine if it's in hospital afterwards and the doctor is explaining what happened. That's one step removed from the actual violence. I can read about detailed injuries even while they're happening if a character is in a serious road accident, caught in a landslide, mauled by a bear or a shark, but let similar injuries (and how they're inflicted) be deliberately caused by another person, the writer has lost me. Odds are I'll never read another story by that writer... especially since that seems to be the sort of writer who objects to giving warnings. Though "People should be prepared to start reading anything, and stop if it bothers them" is a warning in itself that the writer who says it is going to produce the kind of theme I'm not going to like.

Girl...

I knew I liked you for some reason! ;-) I totally agreed.

It really bothers me when a writer delves in this area. You wonder what is lurking in that person's mind. ;p
I dislike writers who make those kinds of vague warnings, but not because I mind interpersonal violence. I've done quite a few truly horrible things to characters in my stories and it's almost always done by someone, not by random nature.

I hate those kinds of "oh, now, y'all aren't gonna like where you think I'm going with this, but just keep reading anyway -- and please review each teeny little 1500-word chapter so I'll have the gumph to write teh next one!" because I know that A) that author is so damn immature I'm gonna be reaching for my barf-bag from the OOC annoyances, and B) if they knew what the fuck they were doing they wouldn't use a stupid warning like that. and fankly, if an author can't bring hirself to finish a story without me kowtowing to them every little chapter, then fuckit, I'm outta there, got more important things to worry about, like the Stanley Cup playoffs or who dies on Game of Thrones *this* week!

god I hate people who constantly troll for feedback! is it just me, or is that annoying to others as well?
I tend not to read anything that's being posted in 1500-word chapters until the whole damn thing is finished - but if the only reason something is being written (especially like that) is so that a 'writer' can get her fragile little ego stroked at regular intervals, the story probably isn't worth reading anyway.

The kind of writer who keeps asking for feedback like that only wants positive comments, not criticism, no matter how constructive; she is also the kind who will accuse you of flaming her if you gently point out that nobody is going to get hypothermia in a temperature of 25C - she either means hyperthermia or - more likely - the temperature is 25F. (And yes, I have seen that happen, years ago.)
I hear ya!! I've seen equally horrendous science fuckups. *sigh*

and agreed about the delicate little egos. Have you noticed that a lot of folks nowadays, if they leave a review on the archive, they are all 10s, no matter what. Man, I don't even know how many reviews I've done over there, and in all that time I think I've made maybe half a dozen 10s, mostly I go about a 7 or an 8, and that's if I like it. I won't read WIPS except by a very very few people I trust not to flake midstory, and the more they beg for feedback, the less I feel like leaving any. pfft! that's the "everybody's a special little snowflake" culture for ya.

I have a helluva time posting anything partial, cos I go back and revise so much as I go along. First drafts tend to be around half the word count of final editions. Sometimes less. Just the broad strokes. Humour, internal dialogue, details of plot, these only come along later...

heh. Damn kids, git off mah lawn!! *shakes his hickory stick at them*