BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

S is for SPOILER

SIn 2011 the University of San Diego’s psychology department researched the way readers react to stories where the end is revealed at the beginning.

Subjects were given a dozen short stories by a range of famous authors. Some were in their original form while others included a paragraph that gave away the ending or a crucial twist. The result?

“Subjects significantly preferred the spoiled versions of ironic-twist stories, where, for example, it was revealed before reading that a condemned man’s daring escape is all a fantasy before the noose snaps tight around his neck…” 

That suggests it’s not what happens next that drives the reader to turn the page (or carry on viewing) but wondering why it happened.
And now I’ve written that I can only think of the wonderful Columbo or Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow….there are others, aren’t they?

You can read more about the research by clicking HERE

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2 comments on “S is for SPOILER

  1. Carrie-Anne
    April 22, 2013

    My maternal grandmother often reads the ending first to see if she’ll like the book. I never got that attitude, and hate having the ending given away before I’m there. I even like to cover up the last page and then slowly move the cover down as I’m reading, so the last line really will be saved for last. One of the numerous reasons I couldn’t finish or get into an extremely overrated historical novel from recent years is because the narrator kept horning into the narrative with his annoying newsflashes giving away major spoilers and the ending. Dude, thanks for giving everything away! Why should I want to read on if you’ve told me almost everyone dies?!

  2. bridget whelan
    April 23, 2013

    Take your point – now I want to know the name of that “overrated historical novel”….but historical novels do have a problem, don’t they? However much we might love Hilary Mantle’s writing, we all know Thomas Cromwell doesn’t come to a happy end…she doesn’t have the luxury of will he/won’t he.
    Not a lot of suspense in a story about Anne Boleyn either….!

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2013 by in A-Z Challenge 2013 and tagged , , , .
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