Friday, August 12, 2011

Knowing the Story

Have you ever noticed when you go to the movies and they show trailers that the trailer often gives away the entire plot of the film? Within just a few minutes you can experience the full emotional scope of the story and have a good idea of how it will turn out. In some ways it feels like you don't even have to go see the movie for yourself later, you already know what it's about and how it likely ends.

This has always annoyed me a little, but then I read somewhere that most Americans prefer this...they want to know their time will be invested well in the film, therefore they want to see the story in the trailer. They want to know how things will turn out.

Yesterday Jen shared this article on tumblr that was simliar in idea, a study about whether or not people prefer spoilers before reading a story. The results of the study so far indicate that yes they do.

To be honest, this makes a lot of sense to me. Life itself is so unpredictable and we don't know how it's going to turn out. Curveballs are often thrown our way that knock us off whatever course we set for ourselves. We have no control over it and that makes it difficult sometimes to simply relax and appreciate the moment we are in. Why would we want that same stress in stories? If we know how a story will turn out, we can relax and enjoy it, noting the strength of the craft or the clever way its told instead.

I am sometimes guilty of wanting spoilers. Most often for TV shows I watch when I'm worried a character I love will be killed off or I'm hoping a couple I enjoy will get together. But mostly I like to go along for the ride and enjoy the discovery. There have been so many times I was spoiled accidentally and I regret not experiencing the story the way the author intended. I can't stand them when it comes to books, it's the main reason I skim most reviews.

How about you? How do you feel about spoilers?


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