Talk To Me 14: The Accidental Spoiler

I try to keep this blog was spoiler-free as possible. The only exceptions are when I have to talk about a very important plot point to explain why I liked/disliked a book so strongly (e.g. my review of The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise), or when I’m reviewing the second book in a series. Usually the second book contains some sort of spoiler for the first book in its synopsis, but I don’t spoil the second book. I put some red SPOILER ALERT kind of text to warn the reader.

But sometimes, the accidental spoiler pops up. The accidental spoiler is sneaky. It’ll sneak up on you and leave you in either a tornado of rage or a puddle of tears. When a friend accidentally spoiled me for a major death in a show, my reaction was to yell and lay face down on the carpet until I calmed down. So yes, my reactions to some kinds of spoilers can be rather extreme. Sometimes.

So what kinds of sneaky accidental spoilers have I come across?

#1: Spoilers in casual conversation

Friend: Hey, Ana! Seen any good shows lately?

Ana: Yeah, I’ve been watching [name of popular television show].

Friend: Cool, me too! Are you up to the part where [important character] dies?

Ana: SIT IN A CORNER AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.

This one is very sneaky but very effective. You think you’re about to enter a flail-fest with a friend and you get spoiled for a major plot point. When I’m the one that asks the question, I make sure to ask them where they’re up to before going on. I say that I don’t want to spoil them for anything, and we have the conversation on the middle ground of what we’ve both seen or read.

#2: Spoilers in the synopsis of the next book

I only have myself to blame for this one. I’ll be in the middle of reading book one of a series and decide that I want to check out book two to see if it’s out or not. I hop on Goodreads, find the next book and what’s the first thing I read?

With the death of [important character], [main character] must learn to survive on their own.

Then I sit in a corner and think about what I’ve done. I usually close the tab as soon as I can after I read something like that. The fault is my own.

(gif not mine)

(gif not mine)

#3: Unmarked spoilers in a review.

Some blogs have that really nifty feature where they can tag some sentences as a spoiler, which hides those sentences until the reader clicks to reveal it. I really like that feature! But not all blogs have it, and I have to sometimes be wary. It’s one thing to talk about being frustrated with a cliffhanger ending, but it’s a completely different thing to go “I can’t believe that [unexpected character] was the killer!”

I understand that it can be hard to explain why you liked or disliked a book without giving spoilers, and I agonise over this in my own reviews. I’ll try to phrase something differently so it sounds kind of ambiguous, and then read over it because I really don’t want to accidentally spoil people.

What about you, dear reader?

What kind of accidental spoilers have hit you? How do you avoid accidentally spoiling someone?

Let me know in the comments!

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24 thoughts on “Talk To Me 14: The Accidental Spoiler

  1. Ana…oh Ana…I have a sad, sad story for you about a spoiler. It was either late last year, or early this year and I was on Twitter which is like the spoiler hub, but this one truly caught me off guard. So I had started the Night Huntress series, and read the first three books, giving two of them 5 stars. I was loooving the series, but my library didn’t have the next ones yet, so I was stalled. Book 7 recently came out or was coming out when this spoiler popped up, so I had been careful to avoid the synopsis and any discussion of the newest book.

    WEEEELLLLL….I get on Twitter and a VERY popular blog in the Urban Fantasy genre posted a spoiler for…Book #4! What?! What?! Whyy?!?! It didn’t even cross my mind to have to be wary of spoilers for the earlier books, since there was a new one on the way. But there it was! It was essentially of the form “Were you shocked when [spoiler] happened in Book 4?”

    Just the way it was phrased showed that they KNEW it was a spoiler of a major event. Why else would anyone be “shocked.” It was even worse because it’s such a big blog and they should have known better! Just because there’s more books out, doesn’t mean everyone is there yet! I know it’s impossible to know where in a series every follower is, but still! I still haven’t picked up the next book, even though my library finally got it in. 😦

  2. Spoilers are the worst! I try so hard to keep my reviews spoiler free though, but I hope that if someone does come across something that is spoilery in my review they will let me know (nicely) so I can sit in a corner and think about what I have done. LOL But really, it’s much more responsible as a reviewer to talk about a book in a way that someone who hasn’t read it could be interested (or not as the case is) and pick up the book as a somewhat new experience.

    I try to avoid the major spoiler outlets (AKA everywhere on the internet) when I know a big episode is coming out, although I have sometimes experienced the way too informative sequel synopsis! Oh well. I do make sure my friends and I are on the same page when it comes to things we want to discuss though, thankfully my friends are usually careful about that too!

  3. GAHHH SPOILERS ARE THE WORST. The casual conversation type are pretty bad, but I actually think reading the blurb of the sequel is worse, because it’s your own fault so you can’t even whinge about it. 😦

    It’s really annoying when the blurb contains spoilers for the actual book as well (not for previous books, for the book itself). Like, Rebel by Amy Tintera. I didn’t actually read the blurb because I never read blurbs for sequels, but when I went back to look at it after I’d read the book, I realised it COMPLETELY spoils this one event that happens about 3/4 way through the book. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! Not on, people. NOT ON. /endrant

  4. I hate accidental spoilers! They’re everywhere! :)) I think the worst are the ones on a synopsis. But I also hate seeing them unmarked! I totally avoid spoiling people as much as I can.

  5. Oh, ew, spoilers. They are the bane of my existence.
    Recently, TWO – TWO – people accidentally spoiled the ending of a trilogy for me. One was in a post not even ABOUT the book, so I wasn’t even PREPARED and then nope, just ruined. And then someone commented on my blog about the ending and I was just *rage quit*
    Another spoiler that I think can be accidental, is: ohmygosh the ending was SO SAD.
    Like, obviously that means someone dies. So now I know someone dies. THANK YOU, SPOILERIFIC PERSON.
    I try really hard not to spoil anything for anyone because I know how much I loathe it. Like, if I’m talking about a show, I will ask them where they are up to but WITHOUT telling them what happens. No one should ruin a show or movie for someone else. Not good, not good at all.
    In my reviews, I try not to include spoilers of any kind, and if I do, I do this: SPOILER and then END SPOILER because it’s nice. I mean, warn your readers, people! And even in my reviews of books in a series (beyond the first) I try not to really mention anything that happened in the previous, so people who haven’t read the previous book/s can read my review.
    Ugh I hate it when synopses ruin books. That’s just REALLY REALLY BAD. UGH.

  6. Aghhh! Why would you say that about a show?? When I ask people where they are in a show, I always ask what the last episode they watched was – then you can steer clear of all spoilers after that moment.

    You blame the synopsis spoilers on yourself – but I don’t think they should be published on the book covers, not if they’re massive spoilers. They could be referenced, framed in a subtle way without mentioning names!

    I always try to avoid spoilers in my reviews, I did include them in my first few reviews but I always marked them.

    I accidentally ruined the second series of Skins for a friend. From the way he talked about it, I assumed he’d seen them all – then I mentioned about one character dying and he just stared at me like ‘WHAT??’. Ooops…

  7. Ugh, #1 is just a terrible person. That is literally the worst possible way to ask how far you’ve gotten. Why would you phrase it that way?

    #2 is a big part of why I like to go into books as blind as possible. There are blurbs that I’ve felt were semi-spoilery for the book they were blurbing, let alone books that came before it. But again, it’s hard to place the blame anywhere but myself; of course blurbs for sequels are going to talk about where the previous book left off.

    #3 makes me really mad. With smaller things, it’s usually a matter of just not agreeing what counts as a spoiler. (For me, a spoiler is anything you wouldn’t learn by reading the blurb… the only time I break this rule is when the blurb is extremely vague, in which case I may set up some basic information you learn right off the bat.) But when bloggers spoil big things with no warning – usually under the pretense of “it’s a terrible book, I’m saving you time” – that’s just unacceptable. There’s a huge difference between having that opinion and forcing that opinion on anyone who happens across your blog.

    Yes, it can be hard to talk about your feelings on a book without talking specifics. But then you have to ask yourself, who are you writing reviews for? If you’re writing a review to spread word about the book… well, suck it up, and figure out a way to talk about your feelings. I’d rather read a review that is too vague than too specific.

    But if you’re writing it because you HAVE to get your thoughts out and share your feelings on the BIG THING THAT HAPPENS… well, then, put a big spoiler warning at the top… and maybe call it something else instead of a review. I’ve read bloggers who have “Reviews” and then also have “Thoughts On…” or whatever they want to call it, and I really appreciate that. If I’ve read the book, we can get into a discussion more than we could in review comments (or more than I’d feel comfortable, anyway), and if I haven’t, then I know to steer clear.

  8. The most recent inadvertent spoiler I brought on myself was when I went to the back of the book and read the author’s note. Author talked about killing off a secondary character. I will never do that again.

  9. I try really, really, really hard not to have spoilers as I detest them. I do however sometimes find I can’t discuss an issue that arises as much as I want as it would be spoilery. It’s a dilemma but on the whole I’m happier being spoiler free and I do the spoiler stuff in dm’s when I know someone else has read the book.

  10. Auuuugh! Oh nooo! 😦 That’s such a downer for the bookish life! T___T I hope that the spoiler didn’t impede on your enjoyment of the series, and that you are able to finish the series soon.

    Twitter is such a spoilery place to be! Especially with TV shows! That’s why I disappeared off Twitter when a show I wanted to watch had its season premiere, because of all the dang SPOILERS! DD:

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone tell me I’ve given a spoiler in my review, and I hope I never will shove a sneaky spoiler in there! :O I would hate to spoil them before they even picked up the book. 😦 It totally ruins the experience.

    It’s great to have friends who understand what spoilers are! πŸ˜€ It makes me so happy when we can fangirl over things without worrying about spoiling someone. πŸ™‚

  12. They are the worst indeed! The blurb spoilers are some of the sneakiest, because I certainly don’t expect the blurb to spoil me. It totally ruins the twists that make the book appealing, augh! DD:

  13. Aaaaugh! Why would you comment on someone’s blog about the ENDING?! Totally uncalled for.

    It’s good to use those SPOILER and END SPOILER tags on your blog, because it does give a heads up to the reader. As for reviewing series, I put a big ol’ spoiler warning for the previous books in the post. Mainly because the synopsis can totally spoil a person and ruin the book experience! :O

  14. Yes, I ask people what their last watched episode was. It makes for a much better and spoiler-free conversation. πŸ™‚

    So yes! Instead of being like “With the death of Hottie McHotterson, Weepy Heroine must find a way to–“, they could do something like “Reeling from a hard loss, Weepy Heroine etc etc.” Definitely a better idea than stating the names outright!

    Oh nooooo! Oops indeed! 😦

  15. It was a very shocking way to get spoiled, I’ll give them that.

    I always read the blurbs before starting the books, or at least before adding them to my TBR. If I really want to read the book that’s been sitting there for a while, I just jump in relatively blind. I say relatively because I might have read the synopsis, but I’ve forgotten it by then, haha!

    So true! I’d rather read a review that gives me a good overview rather than scrutinising every single little thing, and spoiling me. πŸ™‚

  16. Ah, that’s a good strategy! One-on-one conversations with someone about them can make for a really good experience too. πŸ˜€

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