Categories > Original > Essay > Reasons I Will Not Give Your Story a Chance


by HatedLove6 0 reviews

Story summaries.

Category: Essay - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Published: 2022-09-25 - 1439 words - Complete

Summaries That Say, "No Summary. Just Read," or "Summary Sucks. Story is Better."

(1) If there is no summary, I'm not going to read it. Period. Even if I like the title. It says to me that if you can't even come up with one sentence to summarize your story, you probably won't even put effort into your actual story.

(2) If you do give a summary, but say that it sucks, I'm more than likely going to assume that the story sucks too. Moving on.

Summaries That are Author Notes.

Basically, it's the author just talking to the readers, saying, "What's up?" or saying what their updating schedule will be like. Hun, that stuff is for journal entries or activity entries. Not summaries.

Summaries That Basically Introduce the Main Character/OC.

You know, if your title fails to impress me, I may still click on it if your summary intrigues me. What doesn't interest me in the least is a brief character sheet in your summary. Either this is done with the character directly speaking to the audience through the summary:

"Hi, I'm Shea and I'm a 16 year old high school student. Completely ordinary with brown hair and green eyes until I meet Jason, the bad boy."

Or is basically a short character bio sheet:

"She is 16 years old, in high school, with brown hair and green eyes, and is fairly ordinary."

Of course saying something about the character is fine, but if you don't get into the plot I won't know what your story is about at all. And when I say plot, I mean conflict.

"Shea was just your ordinary high school girl with brown hair and green eyes until she meets bad boy Jason. What will happen?"

Yeah, no. That's not even remotely attracting me to the story. Even if this story is in the Romance genre, you still need a conflict other than the arguments that Shea and Jason have. There has to be an outside source that is also getting in the way, and that helps develop the relationship and portrays why these two characters should be together. Otherwise, just from reading that summary, it's just going to sound to me like, "Oh, I like him. He seems to like me. Let's get together. Oh, he's a jerk. I'm breaking up with him. He came back to me and was crying on my front porch. I guess I'll forgive him and get back together. Gosh, why is he still such a jerk? But I'll stay with him anyway."

Collect a few books in your house and look at their summaries. Here are my examples:

The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien, says that Bilbo is a hobbit who wanted to be left alone, but then says that Gandalf brings along dwarves that invite and entice Bilbo to come along to the adventure and fight monsters. As if that's not enough, the summary also says that Bilbo has to confront the dragon, Smaug. Alone.

The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting, immediately describes Violet's problems—her crush on Jay Heaton, and her struggles with her secret ability to sense the dead. The summary also gets into the town having a serial killer and that she takes it upon herself to find the killer, but right next to that mystery, Violet is also trying to figure out if Jay's protectiveness of her is because of their close friendship, or if it's because he may have feelings for her too.

Vampire Academy's, by Richelle Mead, summary, while not like the first two because it doesn't describe the main conflict, is still quite a lure in its own way. Why were the girls, Lissa and Rose, dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, the school for vampires? Why did they run away in the first place? What is inside the gates that are so dangerous when school is usually supposed to be safe?

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, first describes the setting, that it's in North America, the nation Panem, the Capitol, that there are districts, and that every year contenders are forced to compete in a battle to the death. She then goes on to say that Katniss volunteers to take the place of her little sister, and, aside from the Games, the summary makes it obvious that competing in the Games may be a walk in the park compared to being a symbol of revolution.

Tell Me What You See, by Zoran Drvenkar, describes how Alissa found the magical plant—growing from the chest of a little boy's corpse—and how it compelled her to eat it. Then she starts seeing things and says that "her kiss carries a poisonous power." Being the concerned best friend, of course, Evelin gets involved, but, unfortunately, Alissa's crazy stalker ex gets involved as well.

Also by Drvenkar, Sorry's summary, or rather just the premise of the idea itself, is so alluring. Anyone can relate to being underappreciated, or feelings of being unfulfilled, but when the four main characters, Kris, Tamara, Frauke, and Wolf, start a business, it's so unorthodox that it's successful. The business is basically writing apology letters from the same kind of people that they hated, and then delivering them to whomever the hired wants to "apologize" to. In other words, the bosses don't want to hold hands with whomever they're laying off and don't want to bother with the apologies themselves. In the second half of the summary, is where the conflict is described: Wolf is hired to go to an apartment where he sees a woman nailed to the wall, and, when he thinks things can't get any worse, he gets a call from the person who hired him on the scene telling him to apologize to her.

See where I'm going with this? And even though the conflict is revealed, or partly revealed, it doesn't ruin the story or give away any spoilers. What it's doing is telling you the direction that the story is headed, telling you a little of the setting, and giving you a hook to grab onto.

Summaries That Contain the Phrase, "Don't Like, Don't Read."

This just seems really childish to me. I get it, but it's still useless and this phrase really isn't needed because people will be jerks when they want to be whether or not you have that phrase in plain sight. You could have it in the title and people will still be jerks.

I understand the phrase being used if the writer is writing about underappreciated or triggering themes, such as rape, slash, LGBTQA, CanonxOC pairings, along with all that other juicy stuff, and you put it in clear sight in the summary or in the tags. You're already letting your readers know that this is what will be in your story, and if they know that they don't like this kind of thing they shouldn't read the story in the first place, so you really don't need that phrase. What about those people who do like those things, but didn't like your writing and how you portrayed it? They're not being those insensitive trolls who go around purposefully to stories they hate and tell you to get rid of it, they're telling you that, while they normally wouldn't mind these kinds of scenes or stories, they just didn't like yours for this, this, or that. If they're hounding you to change it, block them, but if they're just telling you what they thought of it and what you did, that's constructive criticism, and even if you didn't like it, thank them and move on. You don't have to follow their advice or change your story, and they aren't really forcing you to.

The "don't like, don't read" phrase isn't just telling me that there may be questionable things in the story, it's also telling me that you don't want to hear constructive criticism, and even though I rarely actually leave comments, there still may be a chance that even though I loved your story, there may be a few things I didn't like about it and may want to let you know. If all I get back is a, "Well, if you didn't like it, you shouldn't have read it," I'm going to be pissed. I'm going to stop reading your story and I'm not going to check out your other stories. I'm also going to delete the review and remove your story and you from my favorites and follow because I think you're a brat.

So if you have that in your summary, you can count on me not reading your story.
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