1. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Sequels and spoilers

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Francis de Aguilar, Nov 13, 2016.

    Is it inevitable that a sequel will contain spoilers of the book that preceded it?

    I am writing a sequel and while I want it to stand on its own, I find I need to include some of what went before.

    In doing so I will 'give away' some of the plot from the first book.

    Has anyone had this problem?
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't know if it's inevitable, but I certainly think it's common.

    If people read books out of order, they can't really complain about being spoiled, I wouldn't say.
     
  3. Caveriver

    Caveriver Active Member

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    Inevitable, I would think, at least so far as the plots are character driven. Isn't this necessary for a character arc? Maybe less so for something structured like a TV series: you don't have to know the detective's backstory in every episode of Law and Order to enjoy one in the middle of a season. They are still going to do their jobs and catch the bad guy, no matter what happened in their subplot previously. On the other hand, while each Harry Potter book has an indvidual conflict, it's going to be mentioned throughout the series what happened to his parents. Nature of the beast, I'm afraid.
     
  4. ToDandy

    ToDandy Senior Member

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    It depends on the sort of story you are writing. If you are making an episodic sort of series such as a collection of mystery novels, then it is very possible to write a sequel where for the most part the only spoilers deal with character arcs and development.
     
  5. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    I sort of think it is inevitable really. I shall see if I can limit the 'spoiler factor' in the edit. Thanks for the input guys.
     
  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    To tell the truth, I don't think it matters as much as you'd think. If a person picks up your second book and reads it first, and loves it, they will want to read the first one as well. I know this for a fact, because I've done it many times. Okay, some of the suspense is removed, but the enjoyment of reading a well-written book isn't. I wouldn't worry about it too much. As long as it's advertised as the second in a series, buyers will know.
     
  7. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

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    I started reading a series called Everworld. But it didn't make any sense, and I didn't know why. I thought they were just giving a lot of backstory early, and it would make sense to me later.

    Turns out, I was reading the last of a twelve book series. lol I ended up buying all the others and it still stands as one of my favorites series of all time.
     
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  8. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    [nitpick]Technically, the Great Course I'm taking right now would say exactly the opposite ;)

    According to Professor James Hynes, "surprise" is then the reader doesn't know something even if the characters might or might know, "suspense" is when the reader knows something that the character doesn't know, and Alfred Hitchcock always preferred suspense because the minute before the bomb exploded was more frightening to him than the second that it did.

    Some developments do work better to the average reader as surprises than as suspense, but some specific readers would prefer a specific development to be suspense than for it to be a surprise.[/nitpick]

    More relevantly @Francis de Aguilar , if a reader a) finds your second book, b) reads the blurb and decides that she wants to read it, c) is shown that it's not the first book in the series, and d) she decides to read the book anyway instead of wanting to work her way up from the first one, then clearly she doesn't care about spoilers as much as you and I do. :p

    If she would rather that the developments of the first book be Surprises than that they be Suspense, then she can just look for the first book instead of starting with the second one.
     
    tonguetied and jannert like this.

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