Surprises are much more fun to plan than experience. The human mind is a prediction machine, which means that it registers most surprises as a cognitive failure, a mental mistake. Our first reaction is almost never “How cool! I never saw that coming!” Instead, we feel embarrassed by our gullibility, the dismay of a prediction error. While authors and screenwriters might enjoy composing those clever twists, they should know that the audience will enjoy it far less.
I have a love/hate relationship with spoilers. I’m tantalized at the secret information they offer, and I regularly read them whenever I can find them. However, I only like spoilers that hint at or explain things that might happen up through the middle of a story. I avoid them like the plague if they tell me the ending.
For example, I’ll read anything I can find about the new Batman or Avengers movies coming out next year, because I want to know what to expect going in… EXCEPT the ending. Don’t tell me the ending, because that’s the surprise I want to reserve for myself. You can explain the first hour and half of those movies to me, but that’s about it.
Of course, this article has little to do with all that. It’s more about how knowing the ending of a story, or being comfortable with it’s predictable nature, makes the story more enjoyable.
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