You’ve written an outline, and things are going great. You are cooking on all burners and the story is flowing—until it isn’t. Maybe, you got a brilliant idea during a chapter, or a character gets rowdy, and takes it over, or—you know how it is. The chapter that is now bears little resemblance to the one you carefully crafted. Or perhaps you are a pantser, and then someone, perhaps an agent, asks you for an outline. This is a normal part of some submission queries and all of sudden you need that outline!
Your burning need to have an update outline is frustrated by the length it will take to construct one. What to do? ChatGPT to the rescue.
Chat is suprisingly effective in giving you a usuable summary. It’s a tool I use when I’m doing a developmental edit for clients. I showed this trick to one writer using her work, and she exclaimed, “Wow, I sound like I know what I’m doing when writing.”
I’m not going to give you an entire chapter of Master’s License, but I will give the summary for Chapter 3 generated by Chat.
Prompt: Please summarize the following chapter. [Insert chapeter]
Chapter 3—The Golden Bough—Summary
The chapter begins with Kelleen attempting to exit the airlock of the ship, only to find that it’s stuck. However, she soon realizes that this delay might have saved her from a hasty mistake, as she learns that the ship is a hazardous materials hauler, a perilous vessel to command.
Kelleen reflects on her current predicament and suspects that her father, Sted Rynin, who is known for his challenging tests, may have orchestrated her assignment to this ship to test her command skills. She harbors resentment toward her father for drugging her and pushing her into the Master’s License test, which she had not planned to take at such a young age.
Her father’s lessons about spaceship operations and the rules of the Interstellar Transport Union (ITU) resurface as she recalls their conversations. He emphasizes that she cannot carry any weapons onto the ship, a critical rule to remember. Her father also reveals that she will receive two resources for the test: command codes and her operational skills. The command codes are essential to taking control of the ship during the ITU takeover.
Kelleen successfully gains access to the ship’s computer using the ITU codes. However, she discovers an unexpected challenge in the form of a request to confirm her command status on the bridge. Someone on the ship has anticipated the ITU takeover and created a chokepoint, making it difficult for her to assume control. This revelation suggests a larger problem than a simple crew issue.
Kelleen’s cautious exploration of the ship’s status reveals that the atmospheric circulation system is malfunctioning, leading to dangerous gas imbalances. She becomes increasingly aware that something is seriously wrong on this vessel.
As she continues her investigation, Kelleen encounters two crew members and one pirate, who are discussing the ship’s issues. An explosion occurs, caused by the reckless behavior of one of the pirates. This deadly encounter confirms Kelleen’s suspicion that she’s dealing with pirates who are attempting to steal the ship.
Kelleen barely escapes the explosion and decides to hide, seeking refuge in a maintenance crawlspace. She knows she must remain hidden and formulate a plan to deal with the pirates and find out what has happened to the ship’s crew.
Unfortunately, her hiding spot doesn’t last long, as the pirates discover her presence. They bring her to the ship’s bridge, where she faces the pirate captain, Cripin. The chapter ends on a tense note as Kelleen realizes that Cripin recognizes her and that she is in grave danger.
Okay, this is a bit long for an outline, so what to do? Ask Chat to try again.
Prompt: Please summarize the above chapter in six lines.
In Chapter Three of “The Golden Bough,” Kelleen discovers her assignment to a hazardous materials hauler is orchestrated by her father, Sted Rynin, testing her command skills. She gains access to the ship’s controls using ITU codes but faces a challenge requiring bridge confirmation. As she investigates, she realizes the ship’s atmospheric circulation is failing, indicative of a larger problem. Encounters with pirates lead to an explosion, prompting her to hide in a maintenance crawlspace. She’s eventually captured by the pirates and brought before Captain Cripin, who recognizes her, intensifying her perilous situation.
There you go!
Image from Pixabay: Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/franz26-1553839/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=8177861″>Franz Bachinger</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com//?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=8177861″>Pixabay</a>