Hey my lovelies! Welcome back to Tips for Tales! Today we are joined by Lauren Compton! We met on the writing site Kings Daughters Writing Camp (Its amazing, you should try it some time!) Ive thoroughly enjoyed our times in camp. Lauren is a published author ( a little more on that below) with a lot of wisdom in her words! Ive titled this segment “Give it to me straight!” but the tips are all hers. Lets hear what she has to say!
Hi there! I’m Lauren Compton, an indie author who lives in Australia on an Aussie sheep farm surrounded by amazing wildlife. I love words, books, and writing (as you may have already guessed!!) and seek to use these interests to be a blessing to others. My heart’s desire is to write stories that encourage faithfulness to God while at the same time being a whole lot of fun!
Over a year ago, I published my debut novel, Jayne’s Endeavour, which is set in 19th century Australia and comes with a healthy dose of faith, family, and adventure!
But the process started many, many years before I got to sit back and enjoy holding my book! If I’d have known all the ups and downs and everything I’d need to learn along the way, I’d have been too overwhelmed to have begun. But I’m so glad I embarked on the journey to becoming an author. It’s definitely been worth it and the adventure of a lifetime! 😀
When Sherrice gave me the opportunity to share a writing tip today, I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you all! This tip is something that has helped me over and over again and is certainly worth the effort.
Which brings me to the point of today’s article: chapter summaries.
Now before you recoil at the sound of chapter summaries (they’re really not that scary!), here’s some reasons you should give it a try!
- save time wading through pages and pages of text
- keep track of dates at a glance
- allows you to easily pinpoint when a new character was introduced
- helpful when you come to write a book summary
- an easy way to write little reminders to yourself
- keeps you on track
This is something I picked up from a course I did on novel writing (which made me do all sorts of things I never would have done on my own! 😉 ). And it’s a habit worth fostering when you’re writing something that has as many words as a novel or novella. Because as fellow writers, we all know how hard it is to keep track of exactly what is going on. And that can result in lots of wasted time. It’s also particularly useful if you’re not someone who plots in great detail.
The idea is to briefly summarize each chapter as you write the first draft. It’s as simple as writing a few sentences that tell the main events of the chapter, but you can include anything else that you think would be of help. I choose to include when a new character is mentioned for the first time and what day it is (ie evening of the same day as the previous chapter, or a specific date). Really you can include anything you want (short excerpts of dialogue, notes to yourself etc). While it takes discipline (and I often get behind on summarizing), it is so, so, so worth it!!! You can glance through your entire story in a few pages. When it’s time to check your timeline for consistency while editing or even as you are writing, your chapter summaries can help. When you go to write the back cover copy for your book, yep you guessed it–you’re chapter summaries can help! And while I can’t say I always enjoy putting in the effort to summarise my chapters, I’m always grateful that I did. I refer back to my chapter summaries all the time as I write.
The best and easiest way to summarise is to make sure you do it at the end of a writing session (if you happened to complete a chapter). That way it’s still fresh and you can quickly type it up without too much effort.
Here’s a sample of one of my actual chapter summaries from Jayne’s Endeavour, to give you more of an idea.
Chapter Two – Thursday 15thOlivia, Yvonne, and Mr & Mrs O’Donnell introduced. Mrs Arthur mentioned.
The Reids’ concern for others is shown when Jayne rides to visit the ailing Mrs O’Donnell. Jayne gets into a messy state and needs to learn to look before she leaps. Mrs O’Donnell tells Jayne of her husband’s meeting with Cass (mix up of names, they thought he was called Casey). How did Cass know of the Reids when he is just off the ship from Ireland? This is not dwelt on much by Jayne as they are really needful of help, and she can so far find nothing to fault him with. Jayne recalls her Mam’s words ‘Talk to them,’ Mam had said referring to the sick and elderly she loved so. ‘Tell them of pleasant times’. Jayne wonders if her and her sisters will ever be truly happy again. She finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps with the coming of spring things will right themselves. Jayne has to ride home in extremely heavy rain. In the darkness of the stable, she hears noises.
Note: later when Jayne is very wary and suspicious of Cass and his possible involvement with Lamberton bring up the above incident. ie how did he know about them
Weather is said to be getting worse. Maybe even snow.
So as you can see, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. And the most important thing is to make it your own–do what works for you! It can be as short or long as you like. This is something that has served me well. So what are you waiting for–go give it a try! Even if you’re already half way through a project, it’s not too late to start. Just pick up from where you’re currently at and keep going.
I’d love to have you pop by my website so we can stay in touch (and you can find out more about me and my historical, Aussie, faith-based novels!) www.NovelsThatEncourage.com.au
CONNECT WITH LAUREN:
Amazon Author Page– https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B088NC286W?ref_=pe_1724030_132998540
WOW- That one was really good! I think this will definitely help as I’m writing my WIP! Do you do something similar? Or do you do your own thing? Have a tip you want to share? Message below or contact me! I’d love to hear from you!