So, all of your friends have read the latest suspense release from your favorite author . . . except you. It’s been a busy month, or you’re on a library waiting list, or you have to finish another book first. Whatever the case, you’re likely to hear people talking about it. Here’s how to avoid hearing someone ruin the ending for you.
Preorder. This one is entirely preventive. If you’re the first one to order and read the book, no one can beat you to it, right?
Know the potential hazards. In case you missed out on preordering, here are some good Plan Bs. List your friends who are dedicated readers, the ones most likely to out-read you and get to the last chapter before you’ve even started. Feel free to communicate to them that no, you have not read the wonderful new release and would prefer that its plot not be discussed in detail when you’re around. If you practice, you can even say this in a nice way. Or just wear a T-shirt that says, “No one talk about [Title Name] for the next month!”
Have someone screen the Amazon reviews. Can’t stay away from those blurbs under the purchase button while you wait for the book to ship? Not all Internet consumers are sensitive to little etiquette details like the fact that the murderer’s name should not be written in all caps in the first sentence of the review. So if you have to look at reviews, have a disinterested third party scan them for you first.
Don’t read the last page of the book first. Seriously. I know it’s tempting . . . but just don’t. Self-spoilers are the worst.
Resign yourself to inevitable not-really-spoilers. If the title of the book includes “bride,” for example, the characters are probably going to get married. Also, most rhetorical questions included on the back of the book have answers you can guess pretty accurately about. Once you’ve accepted this, you have a lot fewer conversation triggers to avoid.
Develop selective hearing. Speaking of conversational triggers, the first step in avoiding plot spoilers is recognizing when they’re about to occur. Here are a few key phrases to note:
“Why do you think the author decided to . . . ?”
“My favorite part was when . . .”
“Could you believe it . . .”
“I was so angry when . . .”
Also, this list should include any sentence containing the words “ending,” “mystery,” “choice,” “died,” “secret,” or pretty much any proper noun.
Enact your escape plan. This will vary based on the social setting and your amount of dedication to not having the plot twist spoiled to you. Novice-level strategies include politely mentioning that you haven’t read the book yet or walking away while humming a tune. A few steps above this would be tactics such as interrupting and changing the subject to a really great dessert recipe you found on Pinterest. Finally, in a few code-red cases, it may be necessary to run away with your ears plugged, yelling, “I haven’t read it yet!” in sheer panic. Use your best judgment to determine which strategy is right for you.
Become a hermit. Live in a cave without a TV, Internet access, or magazine subscriptions. In fact, don’t tell anyone where you are, except people who are sworn to secrecy, too young to read, or illiterate. Safer that way. Have Amazon deliver the book right to your door . . . er . . . rocky outcropping. And then come out when you’re done with your reading. This is a last resort, of course. But some books are worth it.
There you have it, friends! I have given you foolproof ways to stay out of reach of those pesky plot spoilers. No need to thank me . . . I’m currently using many of these techniques myself.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be loading up my comfy reading chair and looking for a nice cave in the Minneapolis area. . . .
***Giveaway news: Our winners from the Release Day Giveaway are listed in that post at the bottom. Check it out! And, if you didn’t win, here’s another chance for you: we have a suspense giveaway on our Facebook page of all three titles pictured in this blog post! Enter here.***
Okay, readers, did I miss anything? What’s your favorite tactic for avoiding spoilers (book, movie, or TV show)?