How To Write A Plot Summary: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Write A Plot Summary A Step-by-Step Guide

In any story you plan to write, it’s essential that you know where your story is headed from start to finish. Writing a plot summary is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. A plot summary acts as a road map for how your story will unfold. Your readers will be able to read your plot summary before they begin reading your story — something they might not have been able to do otherwise. In this blog post, we’ll explain what a plot summary is and how you can use them effectively in your writing journey. We’ll also explain why you should create one, as well as some common mistakes to avoid when creating one

What is a Plot Summary?

A plot summary is a brief overview of your entire story. It’s the first thing your readers read, and at that moment, they’re forming an idea of what the story is about. If your plot summary isn’t effective, your entire story could be bungled before it ever makes it to the page. What you need to know about the plot of your story early on will help you avoid common writing mistakes and can help you avoid spoilers for your readers. You’ll also be able to use this information to develop an overarching story structure and even a marketing plan for your book. A plot summary is your chance to let readers know where you’re going with your story.

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Why Create a Plot Summary?

The most important aspect of a plot summary is that you want to get it right. If you don’t get this right, then your story will fall flat on its face. If you don’t bother to create a plot summary at all, then the burden is on the reader to figure out what the story is about. With a plot summary in place, you’ll be able to avoid these major problems that could keep your readers away:

Spoilers – If you don’t include a plot summary, then you’ll be ruining the experience for your readers before they even get to read your story. You’ll ruin the suspense of your story and leave readers confused as to why they’re being asked to read it in the first place.

Misleading descriptions – Your plot summary needs to be as accurate as possible. You can’t just throw in whatever information you want in there. You must ensure that your plot summary is clear, concise, and thorough. If your plot summary is inaccurate, you will confuse readers and leave them with the wrong impression of your story.

Incorrect, that is, confusing – If your plot summary is confusing, your readers will be confused about what they’re reading. They might get confused as to where they are in the story and how they got there.

What are the five parts of a plot summary?

The plot parts of a story include the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The five parts work together to build suspense and flow together seamlessly to create a unified storyline.

What are the five parts of a plot summary(

1. Exposition

The exposition is the beginning of the story and sets the stage for future events. In the exposition, the author introduces the main characters, sets the setting, and reveals the main conflicts in the story. The author often discusses the characters’ backstory, allowing readers to gain insight as to why the characters act or react the way they do. The exhibition sets the stage for his turbulent, life-changing journey on a riverboat.

2. Rising Action

The rising action represents a rising line (indicating the escalation of tension) until it reaches its climax – the climax of the story, or turning point, and when everything changes. This is the crucial moment when the escalation of actions accumulates, and the conflict tightens the tension.

3. Climax or turning point 

The climax is the center of the story as the protagonist deals with the climax of events. It often focuses on the protagonist’s toughest challenge or most depressing moment.

4. Falling Action

The falling action comes right after the climax and describes the consequences the characters have to deal with after the turning point of events. It leads to resolution and sets the stage for the story’s final chapter.

5. Resolution: end of story

Resolution tells us what happens to the characters after the conflict is resolved. All loose ends are restricted unless the author plans to write a sequel, intentionally leaving room for further plot development. Some stories have happy endings. Others have sad endings. The resolution leaves readers in a bind until they understand the fate of the heroes and antagonists.

How long should a plot summary be?

There is no universal set length for a plot summary, although it shouldn’t be excessively long. Well-written plot summaries describe the most important events in work and combine them with fairly brief descriptions of less important scenes or paraphrase the dialogue. The length of a plot summary should depend on the piece of writing such as a film or a novel. However, the average length should be between 200 and 700 words.  While longer descriptions seem to provide more information, a short synopsis can be more informative when it highlights the most important elements of the plot. By focusing attention on the larger structures of the diagram and omitting unnecessary trivial details, a concise summary can often be useful in allowing the reader to understand the work better.

The plot summary follows the structure of writing an essay.  It normally defines the steps through which a story’s conflict is resolved. It names and identifies significant characters and describes the film’s or story’s main events. It does not explain the events or interpret them in any way; the plot summary merely describes what happens. The author of the plot summary does not need to use quotations from the story; however, they can be used if one feels they are necessary.


Tips for writing your plot summary

Tips for writing your plot summary(

Make it brief and to the point. – Your plot summary must be short and concise. This is the very first thing your readers will read, and it must immediately transport them to the story. A plot summary must be brief, but at the same time, it must include all the key information you want your readers to know about your story. Consider this your chance to sell your story to your readers, so don’t hesitate to get creative here!

Write it in the present tense. – If you keep your plot summary in the present tense, it instantly becomes more interesting. This is something you can practice while writing your plot summary.

Include setting details. – You don’t want just to tell your readers where your story takes place. You also want to include some details on what the setting looks like and smells like. You might also like to describe the weather in your story because it will affect how your characters feel, what they’re wearing, and even how they eat their food.

Add characters. – While you’re writing your plot summary, you can also think about who your characters are. Who are your main characters? What are their personalities like? What are their conflicts? What are their main goals?

Use action words to help you describe your story. – One way to describe your story in a plot summary is to replace any “is” verbs or words with “does” verbs. For example, if your story takes place in a forest, your plot summary might say something like “The characters explore the forest” instead of “The characters explore in the forest.” This will help you avoid any “is” verbs and give your plot summary a lively feel.


When you know where your story is headed, you’ll be able to think of creative ways to get your readers interested in the story. You’ll also be able to avoid many of the common pitfalls that could ruin your story. A plot summary is a great place to start; once you have one, the rest will come naturally. Planning a plot summary for your story is essential to avoid spoilers and misleading descriptions for your readers. A plot summary is your chance to sell your story to your readers and give them a clear overview of your plot. With a plot summary in place, you’ll be able to avoid major problems that could keep your readers away.


Learn How To Write A Plot Summary: Video Guide

In this video, we’ll explain what a plot summary is and how you can use it effectively in your writing journey.




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