We are going to start summary writing next week. I want you to think of some important things you need to remember when you write your summary. I’m sure I'm going to give you some basic tips on how to write a good summary that makes all the people who read it want to read the story right there and then.
Are you ready?! So, let's start!
Step 1 – The content
The content of the summary is very important. You want to give the reader enough info on the story to get them started while hiding plenty of interesting plot twists and replacing them with questions. Questions spark the reader’s curiosity. Humans are naturally curious, remember that, and the more curious you make them the more likely they are going to read the story. (This doesn’t apply to everyone) A suspenseful summary is also recommended. There could be no questions that you wrote in there, but plenty that come up on their own.
Step 2 – The format
In the many years I’ve read summaries I’ve noticed they all seem to be the same format. Usually third person, talking about all the characters and the story line. Now, provided you have good content there is usually nothing wrong with this. However, if you make an interesting format this is another great way to bag and reel your readers into the story that you’ve written. Some examples are writing the summary in the way that the story is written. For instance, if the story was in first person then you can write the summary in first person as I did with one of my stories, example later. Or, an even more fun way to do it is to use second person by saying you. Such as “Imagine you...” or “You went to...” and do it like that, not reveling the characters name until the end of the summary like “...that’s how it would be if you were [insert name here]”. By doing this you can give the reader a feel for how it is to be the character and also give away a lot of the start off story line this way. Emotions are a great way to tap into your reader so if you grab their emotions it is a great way to pull them into your story.
Step 3 – Revising
There isn’t going to be any examples for this step but it’s just as important. After you write your summary you need to go over and make it sound right and maybe ask yourself a list of questions.
- Did I give away too much information? Too little?
- Does it sound like something I would want to read if I hadn’t written it? (takes a bit of imagination but if you could write the story you can do this)
- Are there enough questions lingering in there to fire up the reader’s curiosity?
- Does the format go well with the story?
- Is there any useless information in there? Did I leave out anything that might be vital?
There are more questions you can ask yourself, but this covers the basis of it. After you check these and any common grammar errors that aren’t supposed to be there try handing it off to a friend who already knows the story line and one who doesn’t. Peer editing is a great way to fix any problems you may have missed.
That's all for now!
See you soon!