At the tail-end of any writing project, it’s not uncommon to feel as if you’ve read your work-in-progress a million times.
By this stage, you should be able to recite the sentences word-for-word, yet there’s a strange phenomenon where even though you know the story so well, you don’t know it.
You’ve been working on those sentences at the micro-level of writing and editing, which has seen you focus on only parts of your manuscript.
While that was great while you were crafting it, now you need to understand the project as a whole to ensure it’s complete.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution—summarizing your WIP!
You can do this by looking at every scene and writing a summary that covers the events from start to finish. And here are 3 essential reasons why every writer will benefit from this.
3 Essential Reasons Why You Should Summarize Your WIP
1) It Helps You Get The Story Straight
Now, if you’ve just finished editing the final draft of your WIP, knowing the story linearly could be something you haven’t paid attention to in months, maybe even years.
Add in the confusing mix of deleted scenes, chapters, and removed characters and you could be remembering events from three drafts ago, not what’s in the final version.
By summarizing each scene, you can reintroduce yourself to the story—the one that’s on the actual page—and get everything straight.
2) It Shows You What’s Working And What’s Not
This is one of those “seeing the forest through the trees” moments.
When working on your WIP, you’ve been in the thick of the trees (aka the details). Now that it’s done, you’ve got to step back and take in that glorious forest view (aka the total story). After summarizing each chapter of your WIP, that’s what you’ll get.
Another perk of noting down the overview is seeing the sections of forest that aren’t as lush as others, the areas where the trees are overgrown, and the broken branches.
With that knowledge, you can fix what’s underwritten, overwritten, or missing from your WIP, and decide if your forest is thriving or still in need of TLC (aka what’s working and what’s not).
3) It Allows You To Create Other Helpful Items
The final benefit of a summarized WIP are the helpful items that info can create.
Seasoned writers know the work isn’t over when you type “The end.”
If you want to query agents, submit to publishers, or gain the interest of readers, you’ll need a blurb, query, and synopsis, which you can’t put together without the inner details of your story.
A summary will give that to you and is worth the extra effort, so give it a try with your current or next WIP. You won’t regret it.
K.M. Allan is an identical twin, but not the evil one. She started her career penning beauty articles for a hairstyling website and now powers herself with chocolate and green tea while she writes novels and blogs about writing.
When she’s not creating YA stories full of hidden secrets, nightmares, and powerful magic, she likes to read, binge-watch too much TV, spend time with family, and take more photos than she will ever humanly need.
Visit her website, www.kmallan.com, to discover the mysteries of the universe. Or at the very least, more writing tips.