Dare: Summarize

Today’s dare is not character or plot centric, but in consideration of your whole novel(s), short stories, or scripts, or articles.

When you pick up a book, look at the back or the inside flap, and you’ll see, obviously, a summary of what’s going on. This pulls you in, gives you an idea of what you’re about to read, and a glimpse at what is about to happen within the pages. They are what we rely on when we decide if we want to read a book or not, usually.

Write a cover summary like this for one of your works. How would you word the conflict? Think about how engaging the first sentence is, would you want to keep reading on?

Don’t hesitate to look at examples, either. There’s a format and a tone typical to those brief pieces.

If you’ve already done something like this before, think about how you felt about it. Would you do anything differently? Do you like doing it, or would you rather have someone else do it for you?

This exercise, as I see it, is a good way to help you look at your work at a different angle. Summarizing, you are able to make broad strokes about what’s contained in all of your thousands (or less than) of words. Though vague, it helps to come up with a bigger picture. In that, it forces you to think about what are the most important points of the work.

If your weakest point is summarizing, or you have a big piece of work in front of you, this can also be a very helpful exercise, seeing as it helps you pick out what to mention and what needs or doesn’t require any wordspace.

Most of all, good luck, if you plan to take on the challenge!

-The Novice Wordsmith

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