Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Luuuke, I am your..." "Ack! No! Spoiler!"

I have a friend who, bless her heart, hates spoilers.  Hates 'em.  We were talking at one point about Jasper Fforde's Tuesday Next books (which are hilarious, by the way) and I happened to mention that in one of the books, he includes one of my all-time favorite jokes.  "Don't tell me," she said.

"Well, but I'm just going to tell you the joke," I said.  "It doesn't have anything to do with the plot -- it's just a joke."

"Please don't do it," she said.  "If you do, I'll be waiting for the joke and it will spoil the book for me."

That seemed like an extreme case to me.  But there are a whole lot of people who don't like to be spoilered before they've had a chance to read a book -- or see a movie.  My daughter Kat says friends told her everything about "Rise of the Guardians" well before she had a chance to see the movie -- and in fact, she still hasn't seen it.  Even today, there are probably people who would be angry at me if I told them Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father, even though "The Empire Strikes Back" has been out for thirty-three years.  (Gods.  Thirty-three years.  Here, let me sit down for a sec....  Okay, I'm better now.  Thanks.)

Interestingly, though, it's been shown that spoilers can actually add to your enjoyment of a work of fiction.  Researchers at the University of California-San Diego did a study in which they found that readers who knew what was coming at the end of a story enjoyed the story more.

If you've ever re-read a book, you might have experienced this.  Did you find yourself lingering over the book the second time?  Savoring certain favorite passages?  Maybe it was because you weren't racing headlong to the end to find out what happened.  Because you already knew the ending, you could relax on the re-read and stop to smell the flowers along the way.

A lot of authors complain about spoilers in book reviews.  Some reviewers will retell practically the whole story, as if they're doing a book report.  Some authors are livid when that happens because they believe it will spoil the book for new readers.  Me?  I'm just grateful for a review -- any review.  Just don't totally give away the ending.

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I hope you guys enjoyed the Tapped travelogue this week on my Facebook page.  (Pretty sure the pictures didn't spoil anything....)  I happened to glance at the calendar on Monday and think, "Hmm, this is the week that Naomi and Shannon are in South Dakota, isn't it?  Hey, I could post some pictures!"  And it was off to the races.  If you missed it, or if you're not a fan of my Facebook page, click here and head on over to take a gander.  (And feel free to click "like" while you're there.  Thanks!)  I had fun finding the pictures and I sure hope none of the copyright holders track me down and sue me for using them....  If you'd rather not go hunting all over my timeline to find the pictures, I've also got them pinned to a board on Pinterest, which you can view by clicking here.

Gravid is greenlighted (yes, it's a verb -- leave me alone) for publication on March 20th, give or take a day.  More details to come...

Yes, I've signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo next month.  I need to get moving on writing Annealed and this should light a fire under my butt.  I've set 50,000 words as my goal, but I'm hoping to start writing the book well before April 1st.  If I manage that, I will probably adjust my NaNo goal downward -- which, it turns out, you can do during Camp NaNo.  Who knew?

Finally, welcome to anybody who made his or her way here from Smashwords' Read an Ebook Week!  I hope you enjoy your stay.

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You want to hear the joke?  Okay, but don't complain to me that I spoiled the book for you by telling it here....  Fforde presents it in a slightly different way, but the punch line is the same.  Here's how I heard it:

A reporter was doing man-on-the-street interviews -- you know, where you poke a microphone in a random stranger's face, ask him or her a question, and then record the answer.  This particular day, the question was, "What's the most amazing invention you've ever heard of?"

This one fellow stops and thinks for a moment, and then he says, "The thermos."

"Really?" the reporter asks.  "Why's that?"

"Well," the fellow says, "it keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold."

"Okay.  And?"

And the fellow asks, "How does it know?"

(rimshot)  Thank you!  I'm here all week!

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