Until I read Loud Solitude’s post on a new way to revise your work, I had no idea there was an “auto-summary” command in Word. But, intrigued by his post, I went and looked around in Word, and there it was, under the “Tools” menu. Wow.

Curious as to how it would summarize the 70 or so pages of my novel rewrite draft (yes, I started over from 200 pages), I clicked and selected a “10 sentence” summary (sorry, I knocked out all the names and a key word here and there, but you get the idea).

Y decided to follow the rabbit. Y’s mother asked.

Y remembered his manners. “Hey,” said Y’s classmate, J. Y felt at a loss. Y smiled at the recognition. “Please, if you will—“ said Y.
Y felt paralyzed by the rabbit’s awful beauty. [RABBIT?]


So then I selected the 20 sentence summary:

Y decided to follow the rabbit. Y’s mother asked.
My son may return!” said Y’s mother.
Y’s mother told him, “Don’t look. Y’s mother, too, felt a kinship with this woman. Y FINDS A TRAPPER…..

Y remembered his manners. Y swallowed the spicy cooked octopus. Y had to find her. “Hey,” said Y’s classmate, J. In Y’s eyes, J cradled a beautiful woman. MJ came home very late as she had warned Y. Y felt at a loss. MJ began to laugh. Y smiled at the recognition. “Please, if you will—“ said Y.
“Poor bunny!” cried MJ.
Y felt paralyzed by the rabbit’s awful beauty. Y knew what a “g” was. [RABBIT?]


If you are wondering what I meant by “Niiiice,” I mean it in a very sarcastic way. This is a horrid summary of my novel! (But I’m very entertained on my first afternoon, post-stroke, alone at home. I was expecting an entirely desolate afternoon, and I have Loud Solitude to thank for this entertainment button. I mean, who knows how long this will last, but at least I’m doing something “literary” AND killing time).

Here is the summary of one of my short stories:

“No!” replied Mr. Shin. “No,” said Mr. Shin. That gave Mr. Shin further comfort.
Mr. Shin could not have that.
Beauty doesn’t last,” replied Mr. Shin.
Mr. Shin shook his head.
Mrs. Shin was not surprised at her son’s venom. Mr. Shin complained about his son. While his wife was away, Mr. Shin called his son. Mr. Shin waited for his son.

NOT MUCH BETTER at all. And now I must wonder–do I REALLY write all these short sentences?



Filed under Funny Shit, Writing

6 responses to “auto-summarize

  1. w

    “Poor bunny!” Hee! I can’t stop laughing at your sentences. And I mean that in the best way possible!

    You know, I tend to pile on the lists in my writing— then I tried this function on my most recent work, and I watched all the stories crystallize into a core, single scene. This function may in fact be very useful to some of us wordier folk, hmmmm! (And at the same time crack us up like mad. 🙂 )

  2. Ah, autosummarize. I have no idea how that thing works, but it always 1. cracks me up and then 2. makes me hate myself. When I chopped up my first never-to-be-revisited novel with it, it summarized the book as three characters yelling at each other repeatedly. Considering that there are only four brief scenes of conflict (and dozens of pages of more descriptive blather), I have no clue how it decided that the names and yelling were the essential bits.

    It is evil! Don’t push the button!

  3. I wrote to Goddess teacher over the break complaining about how banal my novel is. She wrote back using “House of Sleeping Beauties” (Kawabata) as an example – it’s just about an old guy who doesn’t fuck some drugged girls. That’s all. Don’t worry about it, she said, and then she hit me with some really inspiring stuff like – this is your story, you are the only one who can tell it, you need to let yourself tell it.

    I mean, what would happen if you did auto-summary on Ulysses? The Bear? Absalom, Absalom?

    And do you really want to judge your literary work by what a MicroSoft Office product can do to it?

    Just sayin’. I think this game is compelling (I love playing with Word’s features – thesaurus is a thrill – and have you ever looked at your personalized spell-check dictionary file? A revelation) BUT I think it could be dangerous to a sensitive writer. Don’t use it to scare yourself or depress yourself. You need all the good affirmations you can get.

  4. MJ

    I feel like I need to say “Poor Bunny” every once in a while now.

  5. I thought I knew Word, but this was a complete revelation to me. It is so bizarre, and fascinating, and horrifying, and also kind of hilarious.

  6. Ruben

    My lecturer at university was telling us about Plagerism and how Microsoft realled dropped the ball for education when they added Auto summarise. Kids would copy and paste a 1500 word website on Mars and summarise it to 500 words for their essay.

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