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emelee

Authors spoiling their own novels

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Have you read a book in a series (a series that, even though it's a series, the novels can be read as stand-alone novels --- often in the crime or police procedural genre) where the author spoils the ending of his/her previous novels?

 

I've read a few of those, and it's so annoying. I choose to read a novel that seems interesting, then I get the ending of previous novels by the author revealed when the main character reflects on things. I end up feeling like there's no point reading the previous novels as I know how they'll end.

 

Why would an author want to spoil their own books? I get that characters want to reflect, but why spoil the ending?!

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Perhaps they assume you read the previous books, it's an easy way to deliver fanservice and maybe poor writing or a lazy way to develop the character. It can also be an important information for the current plot, and dialogues or reflections are how an author can deliver it to the reader. Related to it, some authors reveal what'll happen ahead in the same novel in order to make us focus on other plot points, or to add suspense. My pet peeve is when they spoil books written by other authors.

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I'm reading 3 crime series, where it's obvious that you don't need to read them in the correct order. Like "crime of the week" series. Now all 3 series have spoiled the ending of some earlier novel in the series. And in all 3 cases, it's been absolutely unnecessary to do so.

 

There are usually 2 major plots in series. Plot 1 is the "crime of the week" that begins and is resolved within that novel. Plot 2 is focus on the private life/lives of the main character/detective/police. Plot 2 usually begins in novel 1 and doesn't end until the series end.

 

Plot 2 is one I can understand that authors spoil. But Plot 1 stories should not be spoiled, ever, IMO.

 

Why read a #1-#7 Wallander novel (for instance) if you start with book #8 -- if the author in book 8 writes about how Kurt Wallander solved previous, Plot 1, cases?

 

Don't authors know by now that people don't always begin with book #1 in crime series? That they might begin with book #8 to see if they like it or not.

 

 

Ps: I took Wallander as an example. I have not read more than 1 Wallander novel. It was not #1 in the series, but Mankell didn't spoil his previous books. It was just an example. ;)

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What bugs me, is in a series, if the covers give away what is going to happen or what has happened (I give the Gone series covers as an example).  It's obvious what will happen in book 6, when you read book 1 and see the cover of 6.  Likewise, the cover of book 3, totally wreaks the end of book 2.

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None of the detective series I read do that. I'm thinking of Wallander, Inspector Banks, Inspector Linley, P d James, John Harvey, Peter James and many others.

 

In most of them, it probably helps to see how the characters and their relationships develop over time although it's not absolutely essential. But they certainly haven't given away the endings of their other books. In The Linley detective series Elizabeth George does sometimes refer to incidents in her previous novels such as the fact that Inspector Linley's wife was shot dead by an unknown murderer but it doesn't affect the plot.

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I don't like spoilers, so I agree with Emelee that it isn't nice when it's done for little reason in a 'stand-alone' book series (if it's ie. a trilogy, then obviously there will be spoilers). Like Woolf, I also don't like it when authors spoil other authors' books, in their books. This has happened to me on several occasions, particularly older books seem to get spoiled, ie. older classics. And those Gone covers! I haven't looked of course, but that isn't nice at all :negative:. I'm glad my covers don't spoil anything. They should really be more thoughtful about spoilers.

 

If a book gets spoiled for me I feel less like reading it. It's a shame authors aren't more aware of what they are doing. Most of the 'standalone' series I've read, don't hugely spoil later books or books by other authors. But I know there are some who have spoiled things, as well.

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It's not something that I can remember coming across in a crime series, but I have to agree, it would be annoying, especially if it had no bearing on the novel you're reading. As you say, most readers I imagine come late to a series, so it's not in the authors interest to do this - they want you to buy all the other books!

 

Covers and back page spoilers are a major bane. I read a Jo Nesbo book that spoilt a major plot device that doesn't happen to over halfway through the book. One that I wouldn't have seen coming.

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In my opinion, the synopsis on the back shouldn't say anything beyond the first 10-30% of the book.

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:roll:  Amazon is notorious for spoiling books for me.  I can't count how many books I thought, "Well, don't need to read that one now." :unsure:

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I suppose that authors/publishers assume that readers have read the books in chronological order!  Some people might come later to a series, perhaps the series is suddenly getting a higher profile eg film or TV adaptation, and a new book is heavily promoted and new readers might not realise there are previous books in the series.

 

It happened to me with Song of Ice and Fire; I started reading the books just before the TV series began, but Book 4 has a major spoiler in the blurb on the back of it - I appreciate that the books had been around a while before the TV series started ,but as they were all re-printed when it started surely it couldn't have been beyond the publishers to take out the spoiler on the back of Book 4?  Not sure if the newer editions (they seem to re-print the whole lot every year now) have the spoiler removed, but basically don't look at it if you haven't read book 3 yet or seen the show!

 

But yes reviews are notorious for spoilers, some reviewers do warn of them and say scroll down through the next bit, but some people should be more aware of giving too much away. 

 

I'm not sure if it's the authors or the publishers who are responsible for the promotional blurbs though which give away spoilers from previous books, surely they could just say something like "after the traumatic events in the previous book" or a similar hint?

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I'm not sure if it's the authors or the publishers who are responsible for the promotional blurbs though which give away spoilers from previous books, surely they could just say something like "after the traumatic events in the previous book" or a similar hint?

I think it's the publisher, but I'm not 100% sure.

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I got a little fed up with every Harry Potter book, post The Goblet of Fire being promoted with the information that one of the major characters was going to die, because you just spent the book waiting for it to happen.

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I got a little fed up with every Harry Potter book, post The Goblet of Fire being promoted with the information that one of the major characters was going to die, because you just spent the book waiting for it to happen.

 

 

Yes! - ruined my first read of  Order of the Phoenix, that did!

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As far as authors giving away plot lines of previous books in a series, I can't say it's come up for me really.  OTOH, I've read books in the middle of series and they did reference something in a previous book, or by the progression of the plot line of that (later) one gave something away.  For example the Jane Whitefield series by Thomas Perry the main character is married to a particular person that evidently she was not early in the series.  Doesn't bother me.......lol.......frankly, I'll probably forget about it (not the marriage though) when and if I read the earlier novels in the series.

 

My pet peeve though is detailed reviews of books that people write that give away the entire plot of a story.....who does what, when and how, and why.  Honestly, it's awful sometimes. 

Finally last week, I'd had enough of one particular person on Good Reads that itemized her reading practically daily, giving the whys and wherefores of the plot of her present read.  Gak.  I finally made a post, a mild one, to the effect that well, I needn't read the book now, as she'd itemized it so well.  lol  She took great umbrage at that, became quite defensive.  /sigh/  Oh well.....guess I shudda kept my keyboard shut. 

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Yes! - ruined my first read of Order of the Phoenix, that did!

That was the worst one for it, because nearly everyone ends up on the floor at some point. I consequently enjoyed the book a lot more the second time around, when I wasn't waiting for the sword to drop.

Edited by Raven

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My pet peeve though is detailed reviews of books that people write that give away the entire plot of a story.....who does what, when and how, and why.  Honestly, it's awful sometimes. 

Finally last week, I'd had enough of one particular person on Good Reads that itemized her reading practically daily, giving the whys and wherefores of the plot of her present read.  Gak.  I finally made a post, a mild one, to the effect that well, I needn't read the book now, as she'd itemized it so well.  lol  She took great umbrage at that, became quite defensive.  /sigh/  Oh well.....guess I shudda kept my keyboard shut.

I really dislike it when reviews spoil plot points!! It is so annoying.

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I can't stand it when someone gives away spoilers for a movie or tv series, let alone a book, that is just rude! The Harry Potter one with the character dying advertisement did irritate me to no end. I mean who does that!? What exactly is the point? It would have more chance of sending a reader running then drawing them in wouldn't it?

 

Shelfy

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I haven't come across this often, fortunately. I do remember Tolkien writing things like ' . . . he would regret that soon'. But the way he was telling the story, you still wanted to read on and find out exactly how and why. 

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Wow, I never heard any promotions about a character's death in HP4. Lucky us!

 

Pontalba, how rude that that person took offence to what you said. :( I'd think it was quite a reasonable and understandable request!

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Wow, I never heard any promotions about a character's death in HP4. Lucky us!

 

Pontalba, how rude that that person took offence to what you said. :( I'd think it was quite a reasonable and understandable request!

 

I think some people just are looking for something to take offence about any little thing.  It irritated me at first, but then I just let it go, in the end, so what.

 

 

I really dislike it when reviews spoil plot points!! It is so annoying.

 

It really is, and totally unnecessary. 

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