In Summary, Thralls …



Boys oh boys. Writing summaries. Hmmm, how to answer that one succinctly? Maybe a visual would assist in telling what writing a summary does to my brain:

Slight over-reaction? Perhaps, but I do hate them. Perhaps it would be best to approach a summary in light of how kes7 describes it oh so perfectly. My opinion of summaries is of course that they are important to tell the reader what the story may be about in broad strokes. The purpose is to get across the themes and the tone of the story in some manner or guise.

How do I do a summary? Badly. Very, very badly. I don’t why but I plain suck at summarising my own stories. I hate to give away the plot (why then would a person have cause to read it). I fumble and struggle to not be too heavy handed with hints about plot developments. I want to give some colour and background information in the blurb but too much is superfluous and detracts.  Yet when I try to be succinct, I feel I end up being remiss and lacking anything to sell the story.

I do marvel at the ability of other authors to write interesting and gripping story summaries. Getting the right balance is difficult. You don’t want to give away too much of the story but to offer only vague brush strokes of the story makes it too generic and may not hook a reader into sampling the story at all. Obviously, when it comes to the summaries of other authors, I want something that is interesting and gives an impression of the tone of the story. I want something that will set the story apart from all the others and not sound like it is retreading the same ole same ole in the same ole fashion. Clichés are to be avoided like the plague (oh I couldn’t resist). Oh and do more good grammar and proof chequeing of your summary. I’m no grammar nut but mistakes on the packaging of the story make me resistant to reading the story as it suggests a lack of checking the details of the story.

Summaries though are not only notoriously difficult for me to write. They are difficult for me to read too. It doesn’t help that I do tend to take a different read on things when I read a summary, blurb or teaser. I don’t exactly conjure the images intended by the author or publisher. For example:

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”95%”]Kirk and Spock struggle for their lives stranded on a planet surface. Meanwhile, with Sulu in command of the Enterprise, strange things are happening…[/pullquote]

I guess, one thing I do like to do, are the vague ominous trailer type teasers for stories, with orchestral music playing over it and lots of ominous moody lighting to go along with. Such as with my Watchtower teaser. Moody and effective I like to think, just not very informative in any way.

After reading kes7’s piece, I’m going to try and figure it as a persuasive writing exercise and approach it more consciously in that vein. Perhaps it ought to have been oblivious that that is the approach to take but gah I just hate writing summaries. Actually, after reading kes7’s piece. I’m inclined to think I’ll use her to write any summaries. Hmmm … now that might take some persuasive writing!

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