I have a question for the general authoring population:
Can’t we just have one book where we don’t know the entire plot going into it?
Now, before you object to this, just hear me out. Obviously I don’t mean the entire plot. I mean the premise.
Think about it. Everyone knew before reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s Stone, of course, to some people) that he was a wizard. Therefore, Hagrid’s big reveal doesn’t really mean anything except to get the main plot started.
The same thing happened with (sorry, haters, but I gotta put this in) Twilight. WE KNOW MR. TALL, DARK, AND HANDSOME IS A VAMPIRE. It’s just a fact.
And again in (sorry again, but it’s on the brain) Shiver. We know Sam is a werewolf. Whoop-de-doo. Nothing is a surprise for the readers, at least not in the first few hundred pages, when all the main characters get the most surprised, generally.
For once, just once, I would love to read a book where something wasn’t already known. But, alas, this spoiling has many sources. One, the fandom. Once a book gets popular, the basic plotline is spread to the rest of the human population. Even to people who have never read the series. Another source would be the summary on the dust jacket/back of the book. In an ideal world those would be eliminated altogether, and we would choose our books by reading the first few pages. I would love that, personally.
Or, I guess, you could just not read the dust jacket. Which would mean I would have to control my excessive habit of reading anything within ten feet of me.
The point is, in a world with little suspense in the premise of books, readers like myself don’t get to really experience the character’s world along with the character. Somewhere in the back of our minds, when reading the first few chapters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we were saying, “Come on, come on, just find out you’re a wizard already and get this ball rolling.” The book is just boring before the big reveal, or the introduction of the conflict or whatever. And I think that’s a big part of what makes people stop reading it, saying it’s “too boring.”
They know what’s coming and they think it’s taking too long getting there.
In this context, we don’t get to fully enjoy the book. As I said before, we don’t ride the adventure with the characters, and in turn that just ruins the feeling of being immersed in a story.
So, starting now, I’m going to make it my goal to read at least one book without knowing anything about it but the title and cover art. We’ll see what kind of shenanigans I get myself into.
(P.S. Another thing kind of related to this: I think it would be a very interesting experience to read a book (other than Bree Tanner) where the narrator dies at the end. Any suggestions?)