In the Last installment we talked one liner titles and how to make them stick. Now let's jump into how to make that title into a base summary. Time to break out the notepad!
Step 1: If you haven’t done so already then you need to pick a genre.
Now I get that this decision could be quite taxing, however, given the nature of writing we need to be consistent. If our overall writing project is void of this basic foundation then it can make formulating a cohesive summary more challenging than it has to be.
Step 2: Make a Connection.Know your plot.
Pull subtle hints from your plot. If you have more than one interweaving plot line then, omit the obvious, and allow the reader to fill in the blanks. You want to draw in the reader, not stir them away because you handed out too many details.
As the writer you must make a conscious decision on what to cut and what to keep. When you take too much content out of your plot, in order to hide everything, then guess what, it stays hidden.
Step 3: Know your title.
Developing your title took on different phases that ultimately lead to its creation.
Now in order to make a summary you need to consider this because it will assist you in creating your summary.
Is your title a one liner, a short sentence, or just a few words? Can this approach work for the summary? Will it put limitations on the text or make it stronger?
Weigh the pro’s and cons of using the base title as a starting point for your summary.There needs to be a connection between all parts of your story from the initial concept, plot, summary, tagline, manuscript, and even books’ design.
Don’t run the risk of sending the reader over the edge with inconsistency.
Step 4: Restrictions help.
Ask yourself a few questions.
What’s your sentence or word count limit? This will curb the urge to write a long winded summary.
Should you cut it close on the reveal, keep it balanced, or lead the reader into a mystery?
Be specific in what you want your summary to accomplish.
How many Characters make their debut in your summary?
What’s your writing Point of View and Style.
Step 5: Write the summary more than once.
Have a thesaurus handy, because when it comes to actually writing the summary you need a ton of word options. There's nothing I like more than a summary that uses words to project a varied assortment of emotions.
Step 6: Edit
When you have a mini collection of summaries,also known as the backup drafts, merge ideas and reflect on others. Get friends, a proofreader or even an editor to take a look for you. Also try reading it out-loud in the tone that you want the summary to take on. Ask yourself does it carry in the way you predicted or does it fall a bit short. Editing will help maximize your summary, so that it can be absorbed in the way that you want.
Step 7: Make a Pick but don’t Settle.
Sometimes the best summaries are missing something. Then the worse ones have bits that we need. But fear prevents us from collecting those bits and adding them to the better summary. I say just do it. If there is text that can be harvested or recycled to make the ultimate summary then by all means hack it up. It's okay if you need to start again, because you are the only person who truly knows your story. That means that the summary you choose will represent your story in the best possible way.
Happy writing. Now go off and create a great summary.
Envision & Wonder Team
Envision & Wonder | The Team | Independent Publisher, Creative Consultancy, & Open Studio.
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