But I digress...
The article is about a study done by a bunch of folks at the University of California, San Diego which finds that people enjoy a story more if they have had it spoiled. They presented previously written stories by famous writers in three ways, 1) as they were originally writted, 2) with a prefatory paragraph that spoiled it or, 3) with the spoiler paragraph included in the text of the story.
They found that people who got spoiled ahead of time enjoyed the stories more than people who were unspoiled and those who got their spoilers in the text of the story.
I find that intriguing.
The study didn't ask why this is true so there's no data on that but the authors of the study have a couple suggestions. One, that plot just doesn't matter that much. I stole that for the title of this post but I don't really believe it. I'm about as character driven as anyone but you still need to have a plot. There needs to be some there there. I don't care how much you love Kvothe or Elijah Bailey, you don't want to follow them around while they pick up their dry cleaning and shop for groceries. The second suggestion was that it is simply easier for your brain to process information if it knows where to put it. I think that sounds perfectly reasonable but I am not sure why something that is easier to process is more enjoyable.
Whatever the merits of those suggestions, I think most of the reason people enjoy something more if spoiled like this is that they like being in on the secret. It's cool to know something other people don't. I remember at one point when I was a kid a neighbor told me about this thing his teacher gave him about the Body Rituals of the Nacirema and it was just nifty enough for it to stick in my mind so a couple years later when I had that teacher and he pulled out the same thing I knew where it was headed and had a little grin on my face the whole time.
So while the authors of the study say they don't have any secrets for writers I think they actually do and it's about building a community. I've read a bunch of writers blogs lately and one of the things that always comes up about marketing is building a community. Build a relationship with a fan base and you're in great shape. One of the things that builds community is stuff like sample chapters and the like.
You know, giving people stuff ahead of time to make them feel special.
I don't necessarily know shit. I haven't written anything unless you count about a third of the backstory for a guy who I think might be the main character of some serial storytelling action and I sure as shit don't have anything to sell that the moment. So take what I say with a pillar of salt.