You have to find the main idea and ignore minor details. Learning how to write a good summary is important, especially if you want to do research, write university essays or business reports.
In this lesson you will learn the four steps to writing a one-paragraph summary. I call this FACT summary writing.
Photo by Johnb2008
We’re going to use a video for this writing lesson. You will write a summary about the video called “Nuit Blanche.”
Read the steps, watch the video and then write your first draft.
Step 1. Focus.
Write one sentence that tells the reader the main idea. This will be the first sentence of your paragraph. To find the main idea ask yourself these questions:
- What is the story’s theme?
- What is the thesis?
- What is the purpose?
You may want to use sentence patterns like these:
- Nuit Blanche is a story about ….
- The video Nuit Blanche investigates what happens when ….
Step 2. Analyze.
Analyze means you take a big thing and divide it into small pieces. This is a great way to understand something.
Divide the story into big pieces. Give each piece a short name. This is called “chunking.”
Now, you have a list of ideas. Use these chunks to write two or three sentences that describe or explain the main idea. Provide the information in the same order as the story.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What happens?
- Who are the characters?
- What is the setting?
- Is there conflict or tension?
Step 3. Conclude.
Write one sentence to say what happens at the end of the story.
Step 4. Tighten.
Tight writing means there are no unnecessary words and the paragraph talks about one idea. Tight writing is a skill that all good writers have.
Edit the paragraph so that the middle sentences and conclusion explain or support your first sentence. This is called paragraph unity.
FACT summary writing.
- Focus on the main idea.
- Analyze by describing the main pieces of the story.
- Conclude means tell us the ending.
- Tighten your writing by editing grammar errors, deleting extra words and creating paragraph unity.