How To Write A Chapter Summary

The goal of writing a summary of a chapter in a book is to offer a condensed form of what’s in the chapter. In the summary, state your main point, purpose, intent, and supporting details planned to be in the chapter itself.

There are good reasons for writing a chapter summary apart from being a good way to help outline your chapter. The main one is if you plan to shop your book proposal or manuscript to agents and traditional publishers, you can send chapter summaries inside your proposal. Also, some agents and companies ask for chapter summaries. If you are planning to self publish, portions of your chapter summaries can be added as teasers to your table of contents or sprinkle excerpts into your sales and marketing material.

Additonally, the process of summarizing always gives you a better grasp of the original content in the chapter, and the result shows the reader that you understand it as well. Also, the knowledge gained crystalizes the ideas and improves the writing of the actual chapter.

  • To create a chapter summary, first, pinpoint the main idea, usually your thesis statement or statement of purpose. Now go back and read the original information gathered for your chapter carefully, write down notes highlighting the important points. Write the main idea and your reasons (purpose and intent) for your viewpoint. Make a note of the supporting elements you use to explain or your main information or claim.
  • Create a chapter outline using the main idea and the supporting details. Arrange your information in the organizational style chosen, for example, list the most to least important or chronological. Keep related supporting points together. The way you organize the outline you may use as a model for how you end up organizing the table of contents and/or eventually write your chapter.
  • Write the summary, making sure to start with the main idea in the first sentence. After presenting the main idea, follow with the supporting points. The remainder of your summary should focus on how you support, define, and/or illustrate the main idea.

Here’s an example of a chapter’s summary for a women’s issue book:

sample chapter summary      

In the introductory chapter, the author lays foundational truths much like a builder would prepare and lay his foundation before building. The author proposes how a person, especially women, view themselves affects most of their life choices. She expounds, “Our self-image influences us starting with how we handle peer pressure as teen-agers to the decisions and aspirations for career, marriage and life in general. The inner picture we carry will propel us to the heights of success or lower us into the depths of failure time and time again.” Using destiny terminology, the author sections each chapter and builds a case for God’s creation. In this chapter the section titled, A Step Toward Destiny, begins with affirming our worth as human beings with illustrations and ancient principles supporting our very existence, and how God loved and chose us first. The Picture-in-a-Picture (P-I-P) section examines the root of love and the root of rejection. The Strengthening Your Step study of this chapter considers the power of forgiveness.

Are you ready to discover how I wrote and published twelve books and how you can too? You can find the full How To Write A Chapter Outline lesson along with other helpful resources in the First Chapter Challenge website at

About Author 

Earma Brown, aka America's Book Success Coach, 12 Book Authorpreneur, Indie Publisher, and Creator of Book Success Academy, teaches entrepreneurs, experts, professionals, writers and wow women how to write and publish a 24/7 lead generating book YOU and their readers love and create multiple money streams for life.” Visit New! Jumpstart Resource: Free Book to get started with a book of your own.

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