I was asked to submit a Plot Summary and a Chapter by Chapter Summary for The Seventh City. Oh, joy. Not one, but two dreaded tasks. Gearing up for the job, I reminded myself that this is a required step toward progress. Getting into the proper mood for writing is a good tip. You don't want a bad attitude to seep into your author voice. Relax and ignore the time factor for now. Don't waste time stewing over it--just dive in. That's the best way to overcome a lot of dreaded tasks.
I started with the one that seemed easiest. The chapter content was a good way to review all the events in the book for the plot summary. Here's how I did it. I started reading the first paragraph of the chapter until the recognition kicked in. I clicked on each page so I could scan for anything I didn't remember was in that scene and how long the scene ran. I read the last sentence to remind me of the overall arc of the scene before I jotted a sentence or two in my notebook. Each page was checked so that no scene was skipped.
I'm now in the process of rewriting those main events with tighter sentences, using exciting verbs, and thinking of the scene arc or the most important piece of information. Keep it within the publisher's requirements.
Next will be the entire book synopsis. This requires further tightening since the whole book is condensed into one or two pages. I need to ignore subplots, secondary characters and focus, focus, focus. In getting ready for this task I studied this post by Susan Dennard. She suggests a fill-in-the-blank worksheet similar to the hero's journey and then connecting the events so that it flows. Use only 3 characters and refer to them by their role rather than their names, Dennard says. I'm hoping this process will be easier after doing each chapter. Wish me luck!
What are you working on?