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The Summary: Nugget of niceness, or clump of crap? - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
caffienekitty
caffienekitty
The Summary: Nugget of niceness, or clump of crap?
You know what there needs to be? Some kind of Summary generator. Something that sorts through your story and comes up with a pithy line of text. I don't think I've ever had a single summary that I've been really happy with. There have been a couple stories where I've debated picking ten random words from somewhere in the story and calling it done.

So, open questions for any writers who are bored enough to answer them: How do you come up with your summaries? Are you happy with your summaries? What, in your opinion, makes a good summary?

(Also, gratuitous icon post. I expect to get a lot of use out of this one...)

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Current Location: work
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Comments
ciaranbochna From: ciaranbochna Date: June 17th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I looooove that icon! Snagged a Chuck one myself from..somewhere, can't remember whose now, so afraid to use it. Anyway, summaries. Ummmm, I can never stand the little tags I put on when I post things, so I guess I am not the right person to ask..lol My last Harry fic one was pretty goofy:P I would definitely bow to the summary generator, oh yes;)

Hugs
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 17th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Snagged a Chuck one myself from..somewhere, can't remember whose now, so afraid to use it.

Attribution is definitely important, and also asking the person who's using it if it's gankable. Some don't want other people using some of their icons, which I can understand, because it's kind of an online identity thing. There's a bunch that I've saved offline just to look at that I'd never use because I have no idea where I got them from.

Also lucky you finding a Chuck icon. I couldn't find any so I ended up making my own.

Ummmm, I can never stand the little tags I put on when I post things, so I guess I am not the right person to ask..lol

Tags are an entirely different story. It's like indexing, really, to make it easier to navigate your journal by topic or type of post. A lot of people have crazy creative tags, but generally they're practical and dull.
malevolent73 From: malevolent73 Date: June 17th, 2009 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I was a writer so I could 1) answer your question and 2) use that icon. :D
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 17th, 2009 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
1) You could answer as a reader... what do you think about the summaries writers put on fic/vids? and 2) you're welcome to use it if you want to, I made it last night in a fit of distraction.
malevolent73 From: malevolent73 Date: June 17th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm, I definitely read summaries to see if I want to read the fic. I like knowing the timeframe, death warnings, angst, I guess those are more of general warnings, huh? I like knowing if it's case fic or just a coda or oneshot. And I like to know word counts. I have found that the way crack_impala does it is very helpful to me. They have the author's summary and then the reader's mini review under it. This doesn't have much to do with summaries though. :/

I would need to be a writer to use it! It's special.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 17th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nods* It's good to have an idea of what you're getting into before you start.
ficwriter1966 From: ficwriter1966 Date: June 17th, 2009 01:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I generally just pull out a random paragraph that seems like an attention-grabber. I suck at writing TV Guide-like summary blurbs.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 17th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I generally just pull out a random paragraph that seems like an attention-grabber.

That works great for long stuff, for sure. I pick an early line for the cut-text but it's tough trying to figure out sometimes what's an attention grabber and what gives too much away.

I suck at writing TV Guide-like summary blurbs.

Well, TV Guide summaries are usually spoilery as hell, so I'm rather glad about that! XD
tigriswolf From: tigriswolf Date: June 17th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I generally pick out a sentence I think captures the fic. Or if I have a phrase going in, I use that. My five things fic, I usually use whatever it is.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 17th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)
That makes sense. Or using the prompt from a challenge. Finding a sentence that captures the fic, though... seems to be beyond me. I mean for the thing I just posted (I think it's one you had asked about. It springs sideways off some meta I had about Mary) I was looking at random vaguely-related Voltaire quotes for while there. :-P
aescu From: aescu Date: June 17th, 2009 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Coming from an advertisment background seems to help. I only have problems with my summaries at fanfiction.net because I tend to use 3 words too much *grr*

I think a good summary has the mainchars, the mood and a few hints about the plont in it.

As there are a lot of people using betas for their story why not get suggestions for the summary, too?
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 17th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
As there are a lot of people using betas for their story why not get suggestions for the summary, too?

That would be the ideal case, yeah.
aescu From: aescu Date: June 17th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
So you know what to do the next time you can't think of a fitting summary, just let the comments flow :)
samalander_dawn From: samalander_dawn Date: June 17th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
ahhh, but a summary generator would probably be as crappy as the things Word does for you - one ends up spending more time going back and fixing than it would've taken to do the thing oneself....

as for me....I've just written short things so I've been lucky enough to have just one sort of idea to strip it down to.
For reading I like the summary to give me the basic idea of what it's about, but no details that might spoil the ending or even give me expectations of specifics because chances are I'll imagine them differently than the writer has and disappointed expectations make for a less happy reading experience, even if it's my own fault for making stuff up in my head :) (wow, verbose)

love the icon :D
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: June 18th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I see what you mean.
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