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  • Hannah Fielding - Romance Novelist

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Do you ever have a week when synchronicity leads you to keep encountering a term or idea, causing you to stop and give it some thought? This week, I have ‘spoilers’ on the brain.

First, authors accidentally dropping spoilers. One poor author has spoken of her distress when she realised that in a quickly worded comment to a reader of her blog she had given away the big twist at the end of her crime thriller – and before she could remove the spoiler, it was out across the internet. Not ideal, perhaps, but I wonder: perhaps the publicity did not hurt, but helped. After all, how many readers knew already that Dumbledore would not survive The Half-Blood Prince thanks to spoilers galore, but still read the book avidly?

Next we have readers giving away juicy details. I was reading a discussion between a group of authors on the subject of reviews of their books. Spoilers, it was clear, were a big problem: a small number of reviewers had given away plot twists in their reviews without giving fair warning that they were doing so. A little more research uncovered that this is quite a problem in the publishing community. A few of my own readers have included spoilers in their review, but thankfully they’ve always included the ‘Spoiler Alert!’ tag that means a reader who wants to be surprised can still be.

Finally, we come to on-screen adaptions spoiling books. There has been the ongoing debate about the Games of Thrones books versus the television show. Basically, the show has galloped along at such a pace that it’s about to catch up with George RR Martin’s writing – and surpass it. The final season is due to air in two years’ time, before the final two books in the saga, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.­Readers are up in arms: major plot developments on screen before in print? How can that be when the book was the foundation, the genesis? But this week the show’s co-creator David Benioff said in a talk at the Oxford Union:

‘I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on. . .and that’s what we’re going to do.’

What do you think of the spoiler issue? Should there be a bigger outcry? Should a book’s twists be safeguarded more closely? Should you, for example, be able to report a review to Amazon or Goodreads as containing spoilers without the proper warning? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Finally, on the subject of spoiling… Veronica Roth, bestselling author of the Divergent series, has been in the news recently for allowing the producers of the film based on her second book, Insurgent, to depart quite some way from the book itself. The film, according to some fans, has spoiled the story. The author has spoken out about the differences between the film and the book in an interview for Vulture magazine, and it’s an eye-opening account of trying to make a story in words translate to a story in film. Well worth a read if you have a few minutes.

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