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Write your story summary

In this task, you’re ultimately working towards writing your story’s premise in a single sentence, but to get there, I want you to summarise the plot in less than 100 words. Some might call that a synopsis, but many writers baulk at hearing the S word. This summary, however, is not for an audience; it’s just for you and me, so it doesn’t need to be pretty. Simply include the following details:

❤ Who is your protagonist?

❤ What is she working towards?

❤ Where is the story set?

❤ How does the love interest fit into the equation?

❤ What’s the main story problem?

Once you have your 100-word paragraph, I’d like you to revisit your thematic statement. Is it reflected in the summarised plot of your story? Do you need to tweak your summary to ensure your message is at the heart of the story? Or do you need to revise and strengthen your thematic statement?

When you’re confident that the summary of your story reflects your thematic statement, note it down in your workbook.

Write your story’s premise

A strong premise needs only three elements:

The protagonist. Give a brief description of your main character, such as “a classical violinist” or “an overworked chef”. Don’t include the character’s name.

The protagonist’s goal. Explain in simple terms what your protagonist will be working towards.

The situation or main problem. Define the unusual situation the protagonist finds herself in or the problem she must resolve.

Once you’ve put those three elements into a sentence, again revisit your thematic statement and ensure the premise reflects what’s at the heart of your story. Revisit the story summary, too, to ensure the premise accurately depicts the overall plot. 

When you’re satisfied your story’s premise depicts the essence of your story, work to refine it and make it as engaging as possible before noting it down in your workbook.