How to Write Coverage (aka summary)

Write a short summary of the story in third-person omniscient present tense. Think Wikipedia-style plot summaries with more flair. 1-5 paragraphs is fine. So far the summaries have been around 250-300 words.


  • Write in the present tense, as if the story is unfolding in real-time. When there is the flashback in the story, indicate in your summary that the character “recalls” or “remembers” the past (e.g. “He sits with his friends and “thinks back” to when…”) Then, describe the occurrences of the flashback in present tense. Afterwards, indicate that the flashback has ended. (e.g. “Now, the character gets up and does a flip, just like he remembers his mom doing.”
  • Don’t write meta (e.g. “This scifi story is about….”). We want to read the summary like its a mini version of the story, without meta-descriptions of what's going on. Avoid words “narrator”, “protagonist” “this story” “the reader”, etc. So instead of saying "the narrator does this" or "the protagonist does this" or "in this story..." "the reader learns..." etc, use "A man remembers when..." "A librarian talks about..."
  • Reveal the ending. Avoid things in the summary like “comes to terms with her destiny”, “discovers the truth that her parents had been trying to hide.” Just say what the destiny and the truth are. That approach is okay for loglines, but should be avoided for summaries.
  • It does not have to be in elegantly polished sentences, but it should be clear and typo-free. Think of it as a better version of notes to a team, and if someone else has to go through and give feedback on the tags/loglines, they can use what you read.

Next, learn how to write tags.