How to Summarize a Story in a Paragraph

In school you are often asked to write a summary of a story.  It may seem daunting because you are not sure what to include and what to exclude in the summary.  Here is an outline that will help you write a summary with more ease and less pain.

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Step one: The first sentence must be the main idea.  In one sentence write what the story is mainly about.

Step two: The remaining 7-12 sentences must explain the details supporting the main idea.  These are the details you must include:

  • In 2-3 sentence explain what happens in the beginning of the story or what leads to the conflict
  • In 2-3 sentences explain the conflict (the problem) of the story.
  • In 2-3 sentences explain how the conflict resolved or the resolution

Next time you have to write a summary follow this outline.

What other difficulties are you having in your English studies, let me know in the comments and I will address it here.

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2 Responses to How to Summarize a Story in a Paragraph

  1. fatima says:

    this is very short and esay to learn but what if i was writting about a story and i should summaize it and talk about the characters but not SPOIL the story for someone, then what should i do , what would be my headlines ? !

    • Vera(City) Borukhov says:

      Thanks for your question Fatima. In that case you’d summarize the story indicating what makes it so compelling and not reveal the ending. For good examples, read the summaries of the back book covers and dvd covers or movie summaries online. Hope this helps and always contact us with your questions and comments.

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