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Synonyms: synopsis
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In many fandoms, a summary is a standard part of a fanfic header.

Like nearly everything in fandom, not all fans follow the same rules or conventions when they make their summaries. Some fans give a brief (or not so brief) overview of the plot of their story, while others simply pick a section to quote. Others may use a song lyric or other more obscure reference to indicate something about the theme of the story.

Character limits at some archives such as can lead to creative summaries.

Some fans don't make much distinction between Author's Notes and summaries, leading to things like: "R&R plz!" or "written on a sugar high!" or "OOC" to appear in that section. The deficiencies in many summaries, or at least one fan's perception of them, is a frequent source of rants at fanficrants. Just the frequently misspelling as "summery" can trigger a rant. [1]

What Makes a Good Summary?

Is likely a question with no definitive answer. Some fans, wanting to avoid spoilers never read them, or any other part of the header. Other fans find the summaries that give away the entire plot or to be nothing but a quote to be an "instant back button" offense.

Writers struggle with how much or how little to say and aside from coming up with a title, making up the summary might be the angstiest part of writing.

See: Summaries: a guide to writing them; archive link by lothy, January 1, 2009

Mocking or Sporking of Summaries

Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ untitled rant posted March 21, 2010 (Accessed March 21, 2010)