Create a Chapter Summary

17th September 2021
2 min read
25th May 2022

Create a chapter summary for your story with this creative exercise.

Chapter Summary

Although chapter summaries are more often used for writers of non-fiction when they are putting together their submission materials, writing a chapter summary document is still incredibly useful for fiction writers.

A chapter summary is all the more useful if you are in the throes of editing and can't see the wood for the trees. So, if you're in need of a steer, try this exercise below.

Write a line for each chapter summary, which tells you exactly the thread of the narrative/plot. This will help you understand how each chapter moves the story on.

Can you boil down what happens in each chapters to just one sentence? This will keep you focussed, especially if you are rewriting new sections of your story. 

Each sentence should take the form of 'something happens and then the consequence of that action/event takes us to the next chapter.' This keeps the pace moving and ensures that the pages keep on turning. 

So now it's your go!

P.S. If you do this successfully, you could lift out your one sentence chapter summaries and list them together to give you a synopsis..


Clare Povey is the editorial and communities manager of the Writers' & Artists' website and author of children's fiction. She fell in love with France as a child, inspired by the stories in her local Barking & Dagenham Library, and by discovering the vocabulary in Usborne's First Thousand Words in French. The magic of speaking another language eventually led to her living and working in France, and writing her debut series, the Parisian-based The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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