If a thesis is a roadmap to your paper, then the summarization of key points are designated markers/pit stops that decide the route you will take. Similar to planning a road trip, there are several paths to take; however, sometimes the quickest route on your map is not the best, depending on how things happen in between. For instance, you want to decide which points to summarize (your stops) before you really get started. Just like planning for a road trip, you need to decide what to take and what to leave out in your summary. As an example, writing a summary of the Harry Potter series could be done with many stops, going over each book at length, or you could just make a few stops covering everything like so- Harry is born and before he’s even three years old his parents are murdered by an evil psychopath named Tom who calls himself Voldemort. Harry goes to school and becomes a wizard, fights with Voldemort several times, gains and loses friends, and after 7 years from their first conflict at Harry’s school Harry defeats Voldemort and everyone is happy. Except Voldemort, because he’s kind of, you know, of dead.

Continuing from the previous stop, we should address another fact- summaries don’t cover everything, just a broad spectrum of all key points. I only covered the most basic of details of the entire series, not individual books written, making it extremely short. Again, similar to an actual road trip, you don’t really remember every second of the trip, just a few things that happened. Your summary will include the highlights, but you don’t want to write about every tree you passed, or the color of generic cars you passed on the way, that’s what your other paragraphs are for! Here, you just want to talk about the highlights on the way- the random events that stick out in your mind. For example the terrifying moment when you’re between two trucks turning into the same lane you’re in, or the huge accident on the side of the road, perhaps even a conversation you had with another person in the car (assuming you’re not making the trip alone) or any number of random events that may have happened to you on the way. The summary only tells so much, and that’s just fine, as long as you highlight the important things, and don’t bore the audience with the number of trees and shrubbery. However, though a summary should be short, it should never be lacking key points, and should not be too short as to miss points that are important. Remember, haste makes waste, but procrastination is your downfall. Not too long that it covers the entire paper, but short enough your reader can know what to expect.

Finally, we reach the end of your summary (planning your trip), and the beginning of the writing (the drive itself) of your paper. From here, remember what you want to cover (your pit stops) and what you will bring with you (details, details, details) on your journey. Now, go out there and have a nice trip in the road trip of writing!