This is something that always in the back of my mind when I’m reading the synopsis of a book.
Will it spoil me? Do I really want to know this before opening the book?
But writing a synopsis must be hard. How do you explain what a book is about without actually explaining anything that happens? A synopsis is a vague summary… And yet sometimes they might not be vague enough. But what one person considers a spoiler might not be seen as a spoiler to the people who write synopsis’.
So can a synopsis spoil the book for readers?
I know they’re there to give a brief summary of the book. Enough needs to be revealed to be intriguing. Enough needs to be said so the readers can judge whether they want to read it or not. If the purpose of a synopsis is to tell you what the book is about, shouldn’t it be a given that you know the story before going into it?
Well, I don’t think so. A synopsis can spoil a reader simply by saying too much. Isn’t that what all spoilers are?
But think of it this way:
Have you ever seen a movie trailer, and it looked INCREDIBLE…only to be disappointed by the actual movie because all the best bits were actually in the trailer? You’d already seen the best parts, you already knew what was coming, and so the rest was just a bit “meh”.
That’s how I view spoilery synopsis’. A summary that just reveals too much of the story…and leaves you feeling a bit deflated by the time you realize.
It’s not a problem in the sense that we should all riot with pitchforks. It’s not that extreme. But sure, it’s a bit of a problem. Or possibly just more of an annoyance.
I mean, imagine going into a book thinking it would be amazing, only to reach the end and feel like it was a waste of your time because you already knew what happened. Because you were expecting something more than just the synopsis in full description. It can be so disheartening to reach the end of a book and feel like you’ve wasted all those hours.
Just think of how annoyed people get when someone spoils a book for them. Just because it’s published on the back of the book, doesn’t mean it’s no less a spoiler. Most often than not, it can be even more annoying because you don’t realise it spoiled you before you’d already “wasted” the time reading it all.
Luckily, I don’t think it’s that common. Most people are great at not giving too much away.
But it’s happened to me a couple of times. Annoyingly, I can’t remember which books they were. I just remember finishing this one particular book, closing the pages, and thinking “nothing new happened”. I remember somewhat enjoying it, but I couldn’t help mentioning in my review that slight disappointment I felt when I realised the synopsis basically told me everything beforehand. I hated it.
And because of that, every single time I write a review of a book, I’ll reread the synopsis to see if I think it gives away too much of the story before I add it to the review. If it does, I’ll either give a warning or just post a link, so people can only read the synopsis if they look for it. If the synopsis on the back cover of my book is different to the one on Goodreads, I’ll read both and copy down whichever one I think suits best/is most vague/is least spoilery. If I’ve been spoiled by a synopsis, I’ll mention it in my review, on twitter, possibly other social media. I kind of do everything I can to warn people it’s there.
Granted, a lot of that may be fueled from annoyance.
But I don’t think it’s a common thing. I may be wrong – I don’t actually read the synopsis of a book that often. Or at least, I DO…but then by the time I read it I can’t actually remember what it said, I just know I want to read it. I go into most of my books blind.
So now it’s your turn!
Do you think it’s possible for a synopsis to spoil a book?
Have you ever been spoiled by a synopsis? Did it bother you?
Do you even rely on the synopsis to judge if you’ll read it or not, or do you use other things? The genre, reviews, people’s recommendations?
Join the discussion in the comments!
Until next time…
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