Guest Post How To Write A “Magnetic” Book Summary

Guest Post by Brandon Stanley

Your summary should be a much simplified version of the book. Writing a book summary is an excellent way of revising what you understood from reading the book. Surely, as any other type of paper, you need some help getting the hang of writing this one, too. Fortunately, we have here a list of 10 excellent tips that will help you write a brilliant summary for the book you are reading.

Take Notes WHILE Reading

Get in your reading space and take a notebook with you. The space where you read your book should be free of distractions and prepared for you to do some careful reading.

Take notes while reading, not after you are done. This will help you record the things you read without any confusions, and reduce the workload for later.

‘’The summary is explaining how the reader understood the book by using his own choice of words. It is not a piece that requires poetic language or extraordinary skills, but serves to show that the reader read and understood the book.’’ – explains Frank Buffy, content writer at

Get a Specific Notebook for the Characters and Numbers

It is actually best to keep different notebooks or papers for separate things, but the key part is to have writing space specifically for the characters, and another for the details such as numbers. You must record these things correctly, since mistaking a name of a character is one of the worst things you can do in a book summary.

Keep a running list of all characters mentioned in the book, and write down some reminders of their characteristics and actions next to the names. This will help a lot in the writing process.

Use Separate Sections to Break Down the Book

Take the book in front of you and break it into sections. If the deadline is tight, you need no more than three separate sections. This should be very easy, because you have the beginning of the story, its plot, and the ending.

Each of your sections will have a goal and a theme. For example, the beginning section will introduce the characters and establish the story setting. The second section will discuss the plot or problem in the book, and the end should resolve these problems or discuss the key idea.

Identify the Key Idea of the Author

The book has some main idea in it, so it is time to find out which is it and write it in the book summary. What lesson is the book trying to teach you (since this is an academic task, this is surely a book that contains a lesson)?

Is it something related to the main character and his actions? Is it a lesson in the form of examples that prove a certain point?

Find this idea and identify it in writing.

Check the Requirements

You should have a list of requirements for the book summary. Read them several times before you start writing to make sure you don’t make a mistake.

Begin by Discussing the Characters and the Main Idea

It is now time to get serious! Start by introducing and describing the characters (the notes you took will come very handy here). This only takes a couple of sentences, and can be a great introduction.

Once you are done introducing the characters, it is time to mention the main idea.

Finish Off by Restating the Key Idea

You are now done with the introduction and have discussed the plot, so all that is left is the conclusion. In most cases, students struggle with this part the most.

With a book summary, it is very simple. Just finish the summary by stating the lesson of the book, or at least what you believe it is. You already know this part, because you checked it in step 4.

Do not Include Your Personal Opinion

A book summary should be neutral. This is not a judgement or praise of a book, but a summary of its story. Make sure none of your writing speaks of your feelings when you were reading the book, and do not discuss whether you agree with the author or not.

Revise, Proofread and Share Your Work

Revise and proofread to check and fix any mistakes. Make sure everything is spelled and referenced correctly. Sometimes it is helpful to share your work with others, and ask them to read over your work.

Get Help

Asking others to check your writing is help, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help during the writing process, either. Discuss the main idea or characters with others to clear up things. It is not embarrassing to ask for some help!

If you did all these steps, you have a magnetic book summary in your hands. Good luck!

Author Bio

Brandon Stanley is a professional independent journalist. He is interested in writing articles concerning writer’s techniques. Apart from that, Brandon loves traveling and playing the piano.  Follow him on Facebook and Twitter