Summaries

How do you come up with a summary for your novel?


I write mine before starting so I tend to have issues with it.


Well, I know what's going to happen in my story as the Official Main Plot. I give broad strokes about that, then focus on what the reader'll get into during the first twenty chapters (y'know, when I finish writing them). Any further in than that, and I'm overloading my audience with teases they'll not only have to read pages and pages to get to, but I'm also cutting into the limited time I have to sell them on the stuff they'll immediately start with.


After that, I try to write it in the mood of my actual story. I stepped back from my story's third person limited to use a third person omniscient, and that's because it sounded better in the end. And that's the last trick: in the end, it has to be a little blurb that, on its own, I'd enjoy reading. It's a sample before the real meal - it better be tasty.


Thanks for the feedback, I think I'm just being lazy, I should write a couple chapters first before I do it. After getting some feedback, I'm already changing plot points that would affect the summary.


I constantly change mine. With the one I have currently have up (it's not up on WFG yet, Chris is probably sick of the updates :) ) I've tried to state upfront the genre to let the readers know 'What' this thing is (Futuristic Epic Fantasy), then I've added a few details about the world to provide context and hopefuly hook them, and finally I introduce the protagonist and the source of the conflict he will face in the series.


I have no idea if that's the right way to do it :)


I can't really imagine writing a synopsis before the story is written. For me, it's definitely a process of looking at my story and then, using only a few sentences, describing some of the premise but more importantly, why someone would want to read it.


It's all about the hook. Generally, I see two types: 1) the ending is given to you (in a romance, the guy and the girl get together; in a coming-of-age story, the hero defeats the bad guy) and it's the journey there that the readers have to tune in to find out. 2) The main conflict is given to you (e.g. a continent-shattering war, the invasion of dragons), and it's the resolution/ending that remains mysterious.


Other than that, like Tartra said, your synopsis is all about capturing the flavor and style of your writing so that readers have an idea of what they're getting into. It's the sampler that makes everyone want to buy the cookies.


For me, Book 1 of Delvers LLC was a process because I hadn't figured out my writing style or cadence yet.


Book two I hit with my new, improved process and gave a bad ass blurb.


I'm a weird hybrid of an outline writer and a discovery writer. I plot out my big plot points but how I actually write from point to point is always a surprise.


Argh, I truly suck at those.


My summaries always start out some variation of "there's this guy that does stuff. Space!" "there's this guy that does stuff. Magic!" "There's this guy that does stuff. Superheroes!" and then there's a long, painfully embarassing iterative process of making it suck less.


Blaise hit the nail on the head, personally speaking. I'll have a general idea of what twists and reveals I want to happen, what major set pieces I want to write about, and the people I want to encounter along the way. The specific 'chapter by chapter' stuff, however, is almost entirely off the top of my head.


@gloomybear86 - it's the best of both words! It allows for a decent plot with real arcs, the ability to have crossing plots, and still be able to have that fun as a discovery writer of reading while you write.


I think it's interesting how different everyone's process is, and how alien other processes are once we figure out what works for us.


@Moonfeather remember you can change your summary. It doesn't have to be a static thing!


I suck at writing summaries. It sucks even more if I write it before I start. I mean honestly, the summary will become irrelevant before the stories half-way mark. I just write them when I'm done and then it gets re-written a thousand times.