The story I'm writing is all about discovery, so 95% of it needs to be unknown by the reader at first. But I just don't know how to make a short description of it, for example when telling to a friend about the story, or even an official description, that doesn't spoils anything but still gives enough information to show that it's an interesting and deep story.

So how should the description be in such scenario?

2 Answers 2


Millions of people bought tickets to see Titanic even though they knew in a advance that the ship sinks. They went back to see it again and again even though after the first time they knew exactly who lived and who died.

Good books do not depend solely on the audience not knowing what happens. Rather, they rely on the identification with the characters to whom it is happening. Our hearts can be in our throats at a climactic moment in a well told story even if we have heard it ten times before.

And in many cases we know what will happen in a book because only one thing can happen and we would be wildly disappointed if it did not. Boy wizard battles Lord Voldemort and ... loses? Or consider a novel about Columbus. What does he discover?

So while you don't have to reveal any more than is necessary to get the reader interested, you have to reveal at least that much and if your story is well written, it won't detract from the reader's enjoyment. But the reader will not enjoy it at all if you don't give them enough information to decide that they want to read it.

Far from not wanting to know the ending, most readers want a guarantee of what kind of ending it will be before they buy the book. The ending, and the emotional satisfaction that the ending provides, is the payoff the reader is looking for and they want to know what flavor is inside the chocolate before they bite into it. A romance in which the girl does not get the guy? A mystery in which the detective does not get the killer? No thanks.

This is not to say that we don't care about spoilers. For certain kinds of books, in particular, there are details we don't want to know. But even then, we have very definite expectations about what kind of ending we will get, even if we don't want to know the details of how we get there. But if the story is really good, we will read or watch anyway because we have to be along for the experience even if we know exactly what will happen, as we always do when we reread a favorite book.

And if people don't care enough to want to go along for the ride anyway, then merely not knowing what will happen is not going to make them read because they will not care enough about the characters it happens to to want to find out.


Your description has to be about the setup — the 5% that isn't about the discovery. Or maybe the first 10%, after the initial discovery which gets your protagonist over the threshold of the adventure. The rest will have to be vague puffery about the wonders of discovery, adventure, fantasy, thrills and chills, etc.

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