Why spoilers are good for writers

River Song (Doctor Who)

River Song (Doctor Who) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

~~River Song, Doctor Who

So I was driving back from Ottawa last fall, listening to DNTO, on which there was a brief feature about spoilers.

The issue was people who skipped to the end of the novel they were reading.  Clare Lawlor was firmly of the opinion that reading the end of a book before you got there was a bad thing.  A study showed, however, that people generally enjoy a book more if they know the ending …

I immediately thought how I’ve never been bothered by knowing the end, whether of a

Cover of "The Sixth Sense (Collector's Ed...

Cover via Amazon

book, in a movie, or anything else.  I regularly read the ending of a book.  When someone innocently disclosed the twist at the end of the Sixth Sense, I still went to see the movie, and I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

I wondered why that was, and the answer slowly surfaced: even if I know the ending, I still enjoy reading the book because I like to find out how the story goes.  I’ve been doing it for years.

When I travel, I have my starting point and destination in mind.  Knowing where I’m going allows me to enjoy the journey.  The same goes for a book.  If I know where the author is headed, then I can get into the mechanics of the novel more.  As a writer, that’s where my enjoyment in reading comes from: finding out how the writer got from point A to point B.

So here’s my tip for writers: read the ending, if you can bear to, and then read the book.  As a writer, you’ll start seeing where the author has planted clues to the ending, how the plot has been structured, and how the protagonist goes from beginning to end.  It will save you some time if your habit is to read once for enjoyment, and then to reread for analysis.

You may balk at the thought, but trust me, spoilers are great for writers.

If you do give it a try, please let me know how it goes.  Are spoilers good or bad for you?