Chapter Summary

Chapter Summary

A Lesson by guy drori

More helpful than you might assume . . .


Finally! You begin writing the first draft of your novel. The characters, plot and scenes are already implanted in your head. Now, there is nothing that can stop you from typing away. You're feeling ecstatic - excited to bring the world that has lingered in your head onto the screen. 


Writing a first draft, as we all know, need resemble an artist spilling paint on canvas without much thought. No editing, no corrections - going back is simply not an option. It can disturb the natural flow of the story. But wait! Did you forget to add a 'Chapter Summary' document?'


A 'Chapter Summary,' as I like to call it, is a method I am personally fond of using when writing the first draft. What is it? A 'Chapter Summary' is a document where one writes the characters, time, setting and main events of every chapter after writing the chapter. Adding details you suspect you might be required to remember in the future is highly advised. Some writers write the summary of their chapters BEFORE they write the chapters themselves in order to set a certain path to follow.





Chapter 10: 

Characters - Lucy, Harry, Samuel

Time - Starts at eight in the morning . . . skips to twelve at night

Setting - Lucy's house

Main Events - Lucy is at Harry's house. They talk about Jessica's mental disorder. At night, Samuel sits inside his Volvo, thinking about the horrible act he has committed. He falls asleep in his car.


*Notice I mentioned the brand of Samuel's car, for it is a detail I assume I might need to remember in the future.


Making it as short as possible is advised. Needless to say that at the revision process, remember to change the summary of the chapters accordingly.




Aids how? 

Creating a 'Chapter Summary' can grant help in two ways:

1) Saves Time - You reach chapter 15, and wish to write about an event that is linked to a scene that occurred in the tenth chapter. You go back to the tenth chapter, yet it is 18 pages long! And you don't even remember the characters who participate in that chapter. Why waste time reading 18 pages - most information being unnecessary for you at the moment - if reading two lines in the 'Chapter Summary' is easily optional?


2) Creates order - When making a 'Chapter Summary,' it creates order in the writer's head. Remembering the scene, time and main event of every chapter of a 300 + page long novel is not an easy task (hats off if you are capable.) Hence, writing a 'Chapter Summary' you can review within minutes grants organization.


Well, what are you waiting for? Open a new document and start those summaries. Trust me, you'll be thankful for doing so in the future.


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Added on October 27, 2016
Last Updated on November 5, 2016

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guy drori
guy drori

What is life without art? I've been writing since I was 8 years old, and it is my main passion. I love inspiring other people as much as being inspired by others, and when my work touches the crowd I ..