Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Suspense Was Ruined

Last night was the broadcast of the 2008 WSOP (World Series of Poker) final table, and for a while now, I've been studiously avoiding all news about it. I really wanted to wait and watch the action for myself.

Yesterday while I was taking a break from shoveling snow, I sat down to flip around the TV for a few minutes, and what did I see scrolling across the bottom of ESPN? The results of the final table. I closed my eyes, but not fast enough. I didn't catch it all, but what I saw was "...defeats Demidoy to win...".

Dirty bastards.

I spent the whole time watching the tournament knowing there was only one person who could take out the lucky Russian. Thanks ESPN. =op---

How does this relate to writing, you say. Well, I'm the same way about books. I don't want to know what's going to happen in a book before I read the book. I think I actually would've throttled anyone who ruined the last Harry Potter for me. Seriously. If I'd known the end, I still would've read the book, but it wouldn't have been as yummy for me.

But it's even more than that. I don't read book excerpts - not if I want to read the book, that is - and I don't read the little teasers they put at the end of one book to get you to buy the next book. If I liked the first book, I'm going to buy the second without needing to read the first few pages. Hell, I don't even like to read the cover copy on books I already know I'm going to buy. And I only read cover copy on unknown books if I really can't decide.

I can deal with a one-liner. Like the one I created for Manhunter: Dwelling on the past can be murder. Stuff like that makes me want to know more, but it doesn't give away any of the story. I like to discover the story on my own, thank you very much.

Maybe it's that I like the mystery of not knowing what happens. Last season's ender for Criminal Minds had a delicious cliff-hanger. They showed each of the main characters getting into his/her own black SUV, and then they showed a black SUV blowing up. Sure, it was mind-blowingly frustrating to not know who got blown up, but I was a good girl about it. I didn't check online to see if anyone knew, and I didn't try to figure it out any other. Once again, I avoided all talk about the show. I never dreamed CBS - who set the cliff-hanger up in the first place - would out the damn secret in a commercial ONE WEEK before the show was scheduled to air. A whole summer of letting the suspense build, and it was ruined in a thirty second spot. As I said before: "Dirty Bastards".

I liked the summer of wondering. I like the months between book releases. Suspense builds to a fever pitch and when I finally get a hold of the book, I devour it. It's like cooking an awesome meal - the scent of dinner wafts through the house and by the time dinner is ready, you're starving. (Yesterday I cooked a pork roast. Two plus hours of the house smelling awesome seemed to make the eating itself even better.) I don't need no little taste ahead of time. I just want the meal. If I'm that hungry, I'll snack on something else while I'm waiting. (Watch a different program, read someone else's book, etc.)

Maybe that's why I write what I do and they way I do it. So far everything I've written has an element of suspense to it. And since I don't really plot, even I don't know what's going to happen before it does. The not knowing is delicious, and when the plot twists hit me, I'm delighted. (Tickled pink, in fact.)

I know I'm in the minority with regard to book teasers, and I can deal with not reading them. I have my own strategies for keeping myself in the dark. It's just when they sneak them in when I'm not expecting it that really gets my undies in a bunch. To those sneaky, dirty bastards I say:

Knock it off.

How about you? Do you like to know ahead of time or do you get into the wait? Have you ever waited for something only to have it spoiled by someone else (like the damnable ESPN)?

Or is it just me?


1 comment:

Kristen Painter said...

My husband's been watching that tournament too and today he announced he wanted to become a professional poker player, nevermind he doesn't currently play at all.


I hate knowing ahead of time what's going to happen. Hate it.