What is the First Step in Summarizing a Plot

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When you’re writing a summary of a story it needs to be brusk, sweetness, and to the indicate. Fortunately, this isn’t hard if you follow sure guidelines.

Sample Summaries

  1. 1

    Read the story.
    Information technology will be very difficult to summarize a story without really reading information technology. And then scissure open your book, or plug in some headphones and listen to it on your iPod. Don’t always trust the cyberspace sites that merits to summarize books, because they aren’t always accurate.[ane]

    • As you’re reading, keep in mind what the cardinal thought of the story is.[2]

      For Lord of the Rings, for example, the central idea might be something near how the power of greed (i.east. the Band) is a strong force for evil, or even the actions of 1 insignificant person (like a hobbit) can change the world.[3]
    • Concentrate fully on the book. Don’t get distracted by anything, not even music.
  2. 2

    Accept notes.

    You’ll demand to accept notes as yous read then that you have refer to them when you’re ready to start the summary. Look for the “who? what? when? where? why?” These volition requite you the basis for what yous want to cover in your summary.[5]



  3. three

    Observe the principal characters.
    Yous’ll demand to know who the story is about, later on all, and y’all need to figure out which characters aren’t every bit of import to the narrative.[seven]

    If you lot’re reading a story with tons of characters, you won’t want to note down every single character that appears.

    • For example: for
      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
      you would write downwardly Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, because they are the main characters. You might even note down Hagrid, Dumbledore, Snape, Quirrell, and Voldemort because they figure importantly in the story.
    • You wouldn’t need to write down Peeves the poltergeist, or Norbert the dragon, because while they are important in their places in the story, they don’t influence the chief storyline plenty to be part of the summary.
    • A shorter story like “Little Red Riding Hood” is like shooting fish in a barrel considering you only have to notation downwardly Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, the wolf, and the woodcutter (depending on the version).
  4. 4

    Note down the setting.
    The setting is where the events have place. Now this can get complicated if the story you’re reading takes place in a lot of dissimilar places. If that’south the example, you’ll need to exist more wide.[eight]

    • Continuing the Harry Potter example: the principal activity takes place at Hogwarts, then you could write down something like ‘the magical school Hogwarts in the United Kingdoms.’
    • Now for a story similar Lord of the Rings, which takes place over a big corporeality of territory, you can mention that it’s Eye-Globe, and notation some places of important like the Shire, Mordor, and Gondor. You don’t have to get too specific (like mentioning the wood Fangorn, or the tower Minas Morgul).
  5. 5

    Notation the story’s conflict.
    This means whatsoever is the main problem that the characters are having to overcome.[9]

    Information technology doesn’t necessarily have to be a villain, similar with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.[ten]

    • For Harry Potter, the primary conflict is Voldemort’s attempt to steal the Wizard’due south Stone and return to menace the Wizard World (and kill Harry).
    • For example, if you’re summarizing The Odyssey, the main disharmonize is Odysseus trying to go home to Ithaca. Everything about the story is driven by his desire to get dwelling house and all the obstacles standing in his mode.
  6. 6

    Annotation the main events.
    These are the nearly important parts of the story. You lot don’t demand to note downwardly every unmarried thing that a character does. In fact, that is exactly what yous’re supposed to non do! But wait for the events that further the chief disharmonize, or help resolve it.[11]

    • For Harry Potter, some main events would be Harry finding out he’s a wizard, or Harry coming together the three-headed dog and, of course, Harry, Ron, and Hermione defeating Voldemort.
    • Information technology might seem easier for a shorter story like ‘Picayune Red Riding Hood,’ but yous should only note downward the most important moments like Riding Hood meeting the wolf, getting eaten after she mistakes the wolf for her grandmother, and the advent of the woodcutter.
  7. 7

    Note the decision.
    This is the big event, usually, that wraps up the story’due south conflict and resolves the issues. Fifty-fifty in a book that is part of a series there is usually some sort of decision to the story.[12]

    Spoilers beneath!

    • For Harry Potter the conclusion is defeating Voldemort. The story after that isn’t of import to the summary, fifty-fifty if it is important to the overall story. You lot won’t demand to get into the conversation between Dumbledore and Harry at the end, or even the Gryffindor House winning points, because it isn’t really part of the primary Voldemort storyline.
    • For Blood-red Riding Hood, the decision is the appearance of the woodcutter to relieve her and her grandmother.
    • For something like Lord of the Rings, the conclusion is complicated for a summary, because yous may want to finish off at the devastation of the Ring, but (especially if the central idea of the story is the importance of the the deeds of 1 insignificant person) you volition desire to mention the Scouring of the Shire, and Frodo’south departure from the Grey Havens.
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  1. 1

    Organize your notes.
    The hardest part is already finished, reading the book! if y’all’ve taken all your notes, yous’re completely prepare to write the summary. You’ll desire to organize your notes based on the chronology of the story. Await at where the story begins and ends and how the main graphic symbol gets from the first to the concluding.[13]

    • To proceed with the Harry Potter example, you lot’ll need to look at how Harry went from learning he was a wizard to defeating Voldemort.
    • For something like The Odyssey y’all’ll need to look at how Odysseus gets from his losing all his men and washing upwardly on Calypso’south isle to defeating the suitors and convincing Penelope of his identity.
    • A short story like Red Riding Hood, you’ll demand to await at why Riding Hood was going into the woods, how she was fooled into being eaten and how she was saved.
  2. 2

    Write the summary.
    This will exist totally easy, now that you’ve gotten all your notes in order. All y’all need to practice is write a short paragraph covering the key points of who? what? when? where? why? which you’ve already covered in your notes. Brand certain that you also include the championship of the story and the name of the writer.[14]

    • Make sure that you lot just focus on the main plot of the story. Don’t get side tracked into Harry’s Quidditch playing, or his feud with Malfoy.
    • Likewise, don’t quote from the story itself. You lot don’t need to replicate conversations from the story in the summary. You might need to briefly mention the primal point from a conversation (like ‘When Harry and his friends notice from Hagrid that the Wizard’s Rock might no longer exist safe, they go to finish the thief themselves.’)
  3. 3

    Look at examples of plot summaries.
    It is a lot easier to write something if y’all’ve looked at a couple examples and go the hang of the kind of diction to employ and the style to comprise all the unlike elements into i short, cohesive piece.

    • ‘J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Wizard’southward Rock” tells the story of eleven-twelvemonth-old orphan Harry Potter, who discovers that he is a wizard and goes to study magic at the British school for wizards, Hogwarts. While in that location he discovers that his parents were killed by the evil sorcerer, Voldemort, who was destroyed by Harry when he was a infant. With his friends, Ron Weasley, who comes from a large family unit of wizards, and Hermione Granger, the smartest witch in their year, Harry figures out that the Sorcerer’s Stone, which gives eternal life, is hidden on the off-limits third floor. When Harry and his friends discover from Hagrid that the Magician’s Stone is no longer be safe, they become to stop the thief themselves, who they think is Professor Snape, who hates Harry. When Harry finds the Rock, he discovers that the thief is Professor Quirrell, who is possessed by Voldemort. Because of a spell cast past Harry’due south female parent, he is able to defeat Quirrell and Voldemort is forced dorsum into hiding.’
    • ‘Homer’southward ballsy verse form “The Odyssey” tells the story of the Greek hero, Odysseus, and ten-year voyage to go abode to the island of Ithaca where his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus waited. It begins with Odysseus imprisoned by the nymph Calypso until the Greek Gods force her to costless him. The god Poseidon, who harbors a grudge against Odysseus for blinding his son the Cyclops Polyphemus previously in his travels, attempts to wreck his ship, simply is stopped by the goddess Athena. Odysseus makes it to Scheria, habitation of the Phaeacians, where he is given safe passage and asked near his journeys to this bespeak. Odysseus tells them of the diverseness of adventures he suffered through with his crew, the trip to the Land of the Lotus Eaters, his blinding of Polyphemus, his love matter with the witch-goddess Circe, the deadly Sirens, the journey into Hades, and his fight with the bounding main monster Scylla amidst them. The Phaeacians take him safely to Ithaca, where he enters the hall bearded as a beggar. In Ithaca, supposing Odysseus to exist dead, suitors take taken over his hall, tried to kill his son and tried to convince Penelope to cull one of them. Penelope, believing Odysseus to be alive, has refused. She arranges a contest with Odysseus’s bow, that only he can string. In one case he’southward strung it, he shoots all the suitors and is reunited with his family.’
    • These summaries cover the main plots of the stories that they’re summarizing. They utilize sentences similar “When Harry finds the Stone…” instead of explaining exactly what it took to find the stone, which is not the point of a summary. They are brief and they focus only on the about of import principal characters, like Odysseus, Penelope, the gods, etc.
  4. 4

    Revise your summary.
    Make sure that you’ve edited information technology so that there are no spelling errors, that the events are in their proper guild and that you’ve spelled all the characters and identify names correctly. It’s all-time to take a friend look it over to grab annihilation you’ve missed. Once you lot’ve revised it, the summary is ready to go![xv]

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Add New Question

  • Question

    Which notes should I take?

    Community Answer

    To summarize a story, find the primary points of the story. Asses whether the detail yous have included in the summary affects the story.

  • Question

    Could I skip a stride or ii? Would it make a difference in the summary?

    Community Answer

    It shouldn’t. But if the steps were related to the main conflict in the story, you should include them within the summary of the curt story.

  • Question

    How do I write a summary of a biography?

    Community Answer

    Summarize like y’all would whatsoever other story, but instead of a fictional story you will exist summarizing existent life event. Highlight the chief things that happened during his life and the main people in his.

  • Question

    What if I don’t desire to practice all that writing? Is there an easier manner?

    Community Answer

    You may seek aid from freelancers online. However, if you are summarizing the story for school or something like that, you will demand to do the work yourself. You could ask your teacher if they would allow you to summarize the story in another way, like through a video presentation.

  • Question

    How many pages should exist in a summary?

    Community Answer

    In full general, a summary should not exceed more than than ane to two pages.

  • Question

    Is it OK if my summaries take more than 6 paragraphs?

    Community Answer

    Information technology might not exist bad if you lot are summarizing a volume, but not brusk stories.

  • Question

    What verb tense should I use when summarizing a story?

    Community Answer

    You should use by tenses when you are summarizing a story.

  • Question

    Should I be using the past tense when I summarize a story?

    Community Answer

    Yes, you lot should write in past tense.

  • Question

    How many paragraphs are in a summary?

    Community Answer

    A general summary would be well-nigh five paragraphs, but information technology could vary, depending on the guidelines set by your teacher.

  • Question

    How practice I make a summary for the back cover of a book?

    Community Answer

    The dorsum comprehend is a summary of the book information technology tells you what y’all are going to be reading near. When you try to answer a question that is from a volume, use the RACE strategy: R is for restate the question; A is for respond the question; C it to cite your prove; and E is for Explain for evidence.

Enquire a Question


  • Make sure you keep your summary short. It shouldn’t exist longer than the original story![16]


  • If you’re writing an essay, yous shouldn’t only summarize the text.

  • Don’t include your opinions when writing a summary unless yous are explicitly prompted to by your instructor.


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Article Summary

To summarize a story every bit you read, have notes about the characters, plot, and setting. When you’ve finished the story, organize your notes chronologically so you can see how the story develops from kickoff to end. Then, write a paragraph describing the characters, followed past one dealing with the basic plot points. Side by side, note the fourth dimension period, the setting, and the main takeaways from the story. When you’ve touched on all these elements, become dorsum and revise your summary so there are no errors.
For sample summaries and ways to use them when you lot’re writing your own, go along reading.

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What is the First Step in Summarizing a Plot

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Summarize-a-Story