What do you want from a BSR summary?

UPDATED: Sunday, April 8, 2007 05:41
VIEWED: 3964
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Saturday, March 17, 2007 7:07 AM


Hi folks,
I am about to post a large number of chapters in Blue Sun and my question is this: When you see the titles and stories, what do you want from that little summary teaser?

In my last two posts, I just did a three-sentence teaser for the story that was the same for all the chapters, because I thought individual chapter summaries would have too many spoilers.

So I'm asking you, the reading/writing audience, what part of the summary draws you to a story? (Aside from character pairings, I mean, because this ain't exactly a romance I'm posting.)

Thanks in advance for your BSR wisdom!

"Just like handgrenades, you don't want to run into a horseshoe stake in the dark." -Gouda,


Saturday, March 17, 2007 7:24 AM


I think a good summary should read like a movie tagline. Not necessarily the whole plot, but enough to make you take look. You need a sniff of development.

That said, I do like to be warned if I'm going to see anything that may upset me ie Rayne


Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:03 AM


I have to say, I like the summaries you have used so far. Almost a little too detailed, but it gives away the most important things:

- a hint of plot
- crew-oriented action/adventure
- it's going to be exciting and suspenseful

And in a nicely worded, uncomplicated manner, too.

But I agree with Spaceanjl in giving pairing warnings, even if they aren't the point of the series. If characters are having romantic feelings, canon or not, people prefer to know before they start reading.

Generally, I like when a summary conveys the mood of the piece, as well as the basic set-up. If it's action-oriented or quiet, happy or sad, fluffy or brain-engaging. Not many words are necessary.

"River is having a bad day." Can be a very engaging summary to me, especially if coupled with key words.

"River is having a bad day. - Rated S for Soup" is quite different from "River is having a bad day. NC-17, pre-BDM, Simon/River" but both give a clear picture of what can be expected.

Similar can be done by using a very telling quote from one's fic.

"She has spend enough time watching water drip from the ceiling. - Post-BDM, Zoe" Doesn't give away much, but enough. Zoe, after Wash's dceath, an air of change and frustration. I'd be on it like husbands on Saffron. *g*

When it comes to series, as long as it's made clear that it is a chapter of a series, I have no preferences. One-fits-all summaries or chapter-specific.. I'll have made my mind up by chapter 2 if the series is for me, so it doesn't play too much of a role in my reading decisions.


Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:10 AM



AgentRouka, we agree on something?

And someone needs to write 'Rated S for Soup', now.


Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:23 AM



Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:

AgentRouka, we agree on something?

And someone needs to write 'Rated S for Soup', now.

I know! Scary, isn't it?

How about...

It's steaming. She tests the temperature with her little finger.

Even though she could calculate. She really could, she has all the facts, but she doesn't want to. She just wants to know.

It's warm.

Not hot.

Warm like a bath should be. Full of good things. She smiles.

It's not enough to sink into. Not on Serenity. They don't have the means for luxury and she will have to use her hands, like they all have to.

Warm liquid heaven gathers well between her fingers, spreads well over her head.

She drips onto the table and they look up. Empty stinging questions, all of them.

"Protein is good for the hair," she informs and massages brown liquid downwards.



Saturday, March 17, 2007 8:31 AM


Yay! Soup hijack!

I've just been reading 'Notes on a Fridge' and giggling to myself. Now those hit the spot. Does exactly what it says on the tin, but they are so damn funny.

There is a definite art to putting a short summary together. Too long, and people skim by. Too short, and people may not look because there is no hook. So a few good keywords are needed.

ie Jayne. Library.

This would probably get people on curiousity value alone.


Sunday, March 18, 2007 4:50 AM


I definitely don't like the same teaser for all chapters. If the first chapter doesn't appeal to me, I'll still check the teasers on later chapters to see if it's gone somewhere I might like. If it's always the same, I'll never get drawn in.

I'm with AR - it takes some work to get a good teaser. I tend to err on the side of too little info, because I hate spoiling things! But I try to tantalize. The "Jayne. Library" example is perfect - short, but heck yeah you've got to wonder what's going on with that!

I guess spoilers are unavoidable. In my last fic, I had one chapter teaser saying "an unexpected party shows up" and the next chapter teaser says "Inara deals with the Alliance." So much for the surprise. Oh well. Nature of the fic-beast!

Oh - may I also recommend posting with some delay between chapters. Maybe 2-3 a day tops. Besides the whole flooding the BSR thing, which won't make you popular, it's less overwhelming (to this reader at least!) if it's doled out in bits. You have the connection to the pdf of the whole thing, so eager readers can get their fix. You'll also draw in more readers if your stuff appears over multiple days - not everyone lives on this site like I do LOL!

I'm the president. I don't need to listen.


Sunday, March 18, 2007 10:19 AM


Yeah. Gotta agree with the whole flooding issue.

Crafting a tagline that doesn't spoil the thing is difficult. I've had the same 'here's a cliffhanger...whoops, here's the answer' thing. So I tend to go for either a film poster approach, or something a bit random. (Or a lot random. I'm not right.)

I have to wonder if I had put who Jayne's 'captors' were on the tagline of ch3 if it would still have been as funny, though.


Monday, March 19, 2007 5:19 AM


A summary that draws me into the story is really all I'm looking for. Some info about what is happening, going to happen, or some mystery that leaves me guessing as to the fate of our BDH's.

As for the flooding issue. If I see it, I actually tend to bypass the story completely because its such a turnoff.

If there is NO summary at all, I skip the story entirely. If the author can't be bothered to try and convince me to read, I just don't. There's too much crap here to have to wade through to get to the stuff I'd want to read. And if an author doesn't give me a little help in making that decision, I just don't waste my time.

Might be harsh, yes, but, I'm picky.

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."


Sunday, April 8, 2007 5:41 AM


I agree, I've noticed quite a few people who just put a disclaimer in their fic summaries. Which is all very well and good, but then you've got nothing to go on other than the title. And if your searching through for something to read, you're probably gonna skim past.

I think for a good summary you need a tag line (just a sentence, or maybe two) but I also think its important to quickly note the pairings, whether its gonna be NC17 or not ( non of the other ratings really matter though) whether is Angsty or Humour-y.

I know, I know... I'm a hipocrit, my own summaries are terrible.

Love Chaz

*Firmly grasps the Chain of Command*







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