How to Summarize a Story?

As we see on the cover page of a novel, a summary of a story helps the reader comprehend what they will read. It is an abridged form of a long story that will take you around for a tour before you start reading the story. There is a strategy a writer needs to follow to write a summary.

Start writing a summary in your own words. Identify the main characters, setting, conflict, the resolving conflict, and ending of the story before you begin to write a summary. Understanding these would help you summarize the story in 100 words. 

If you pursue this strategy, you can condense the story meaningfully. It displays the creative ability of the writer.

Steps for Summarizing a Story


1. Read the whole story

Without understanding the main idea or theme, it is futile to summarize a story. For example, in the story- Lord of the rings, the central theme is to depict the cravings for power. Restrict the summary to the most significant ideas of the story. Organize your opinion and present them carefully. Take notes wherever needed.

2. Take notes: 

If you wish to write a summary, take notes to get answers to questions such as who, when, what, etc. You can narrow down the idea to main points if you take down the notes.

3. Identify main characters

Identify the main characters you need to include in the overview and the unimportant ones to ignore. Since condensing is recreating the story for the readers’ understanding, you should know all the main characters. Furthermore, the story revolves around the main characters, and knowing them would make your work easy.

4. Organize your notes

Depending on the chronology of the events, organize the notes. Get a deeper understanding of the story by understanding how it begins and ends.

5. Keep the summary short

The summary should not exceed four to five sentences. Moreover, it is a repetition of the main idea. Never repeat the same thought or sentences. It would dilute the purpose of writing a summary.

6. Avoid judgments:

When you write a summary, you convey the main idea of the whole story in five sentences. Present the concept in a nutshell since you are not reproducing the exact words. Be as objective as possible. Do not include your personal opinion.

7. It should have a natural flow

Your writing will get an impulse when you maintain the flow. All five points should be well connected. You would have picked the sentences from different sections of a story. Maintaining a flow would help the writer move conveniently from one thread to another.

Wrapping up!!

To write a perfect summary, don’t divert yourself from the idea of the story. Don’t add any interesting facts that are not from the story. You must mention all the main characters and their role in the story. 

You must write the sequence of all main screens as mentioned in the story. It must not be too long and boring. Keep the summary short enough to tell about the main characters and background only. 


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