You can write a narrative all the way to the end and still not be able to say what it is about. Uh oh. Learn to capture the essence of a story in a few sentences. That analysis becomes your North Star for your character and plot development. It is your way into drafting or revising a story, and it is your way of convincing someone they really should read it. This session is for writers of fiction, especially novels and memoirs.
Articulate the subject and idea of your story
Make an umbrella statement about the action and its impact
Describe the vision and the world of the story
Say how your protagonist's actions prove your concept of the story.
Recommended reading: The Last Draft: A Novelist's Guide to Revision
Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, including a National Book Award finalist, Beyond Deserving (1991); a memoir, Occasions of Sin; a book of essays about family, Mysteries of Love and Grief; and a book of short stories, Swim: Stories of the Sixties. She is on the faculty of the Solstice MFA Program at Lasell University, and has been on the faculty of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival for 26 years. She also is an ardent painter.