Summary writing toolkit
Summary writing toolkit
A summary is essentially a condensed version of a book complete with all of its key points. While carrying the core ideas, it should be considerably shorter than the book as the purpose of the summary it quite literally to summarize the book or chapter for those who are short of time and cannot afford to invest it in dedicated reading.
While writing a summary, it’s your job to simplify the language so that the summary is readable and usable to your audience. If you need to summarize a book or a chapter, here are a few tips worth considering:
WORK OUT A PLAN
Drawing out a plan is a useful step forward. The author must have made a detailed plan before writing the book similarly you would need to create a plan before summarizing. Here, you would need to decide the length of your writing piece (word count), as well as the type of summary which will depend on the audience you’ll be catering to.
Creating an outline plan before actually delving into it will assist you in condensing the information a lot better regardless you’re writing a book or video summary.
READ THE BOOK THROUGH
It’s a no brainer that to effectively, summarize, you must effectively grasp the concept of the book and for that, you need to read the book through from beginning to end. You may also find it useful to make notes, but don’t write anything yet.
The purpose of the reading is to grasp and book’s concept and if applicable, the author’s argument
DRAW UP A LIST OF TOPICS
You might want to ask yourself, were there any topics or themes that sparked your interest and will your readers find them interesting as well?
You would find it useful to list them down and group those that go together.
READ CHAPTER BY CHAPTER
One of the most effective methods to write a summary is to read chapter by chapter, taking notes along you go. You may also find it useful to underline and highlight. Since you would have read the book entirely previously, you would have a good command of the concept and this chapter by chapter method will enable you to effectively grasp the core theme of each chapter.
Using you notes, you can now actually compile your summary. This method will ensure you do not miss out on anything relevant, while simultaneously, irrelevant material can be edited out later.
It’s always a good idea to include quotations or in-text citations in your summary although you would not want to overdo it. This way your audience would be able to distinguish your text from the author’s and develop a clear-cut image in grasping the context better.
Remember, the key is to balance the correct number as you would also have that word count to keep an eye upon!
Finally, like all pieces of writing, your summary would require your thorough reading to make sure it’s free of all errors and contains all the key points that you found relevant. This is the step where you would want to edit any irrelevant or minor details out of your summary.
You can always go back to your plan and compare and make sure you didn’t miss or overdo anything.
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