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How to Write the Perfect College Book Report Outline

Need to write an amazing book report? All fired up to get started? Wonderful! All you need now is to learn how to create one which your instructor will happily add an ‘A’ to next to your name. Luckily, you have wandered into the right corner of the web. This brief little guide right here has you covered for the tasks assigned.

We understand the temptation to simply skim one of the numerous summaries online. If your online search skills are quite good, you might even come across completely written out reports of your chosen book. However, there is no substitute for actually reading the author’s words. It will bring a depth to your perception and analysis, which will show up when your write your book report.

Outline Structure
Following an outline simplifies your writing process. The end result will be a piece of writing which has consistency, logical structure and expresses your ideas clearly. To spare you from searching online and giving into the temptation of searching through book reports, use the following five as the basic sections of your report.

For practice’s sake, let’s create a book report on Stephen King’s 1983 horror novel, “Christine”:

  1. Introductory Paragraph
  2. Summary of the Book
  3. Characters’ Details
  4. Plot Details
  5. Evaluation and Conclusion
  1. Introductory Paragraph. This is where you write the title of the book, the author’s name, and the main idea of the story. Make sure to include the genre, publication date, number of pages, and publisher information. If the book has won any major awards or broken sales records, mention those as well.
    For Christine you will go like: Christine, published by Viking, is Stephen King’s horror novel that came out on April 29, 1983. This classic novel was also adapted into a movie in the same year.
    This example clearly tells the readers what the novel is all about, when it came out, who published it and also that it was turned into a movie.
  2. Summary of the Book. Include a broad overview of the story here. Specify the time period, setting, overall plot, and main characters. Describe the atmosphere or tone of the story and the point of view of the narrative.
    For Christine, we’ll go like: ‘The novel tells the story of Christine that is a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury. The novel focuses on this apparently possessed automobile’s story and what all it has been through and how it changes the life of its new owner, Arnie.’
    While our example is short, you will have more details in your summary.
  3. Characters’ Details. List the main characters and identify any major conflicts that exist between them. Highlight if there is a particular problem that the characters are trying to solve. Use a second paragraph to describe any of the minor characters if they play a significant or critical role in the plot.
    In Christine’s example, we can mention ‘It tells the story of Arnie, who buys Christine, the possessed automobile for $250. He is a nerdy teen who tries DIY ideas on his new buy and in the process he changes.
    Another main character is Dennis, who is Arnie’s friend and does not like Christine. He is also puzzled by the changes he sees in his friend and in the vehicle.
    In our example, we only gave an overview. However, you are expected to mention more details including character’s background, age, likes, dislike and everything else that impacts the story, including their relationships.
  4. Plot Details. This section includes an overall description of the plot. No need to add too many details; tell the overall story and the major plot twists. Any element that propels the story further should be included here. Think of it as highlights of a game or match; no play by play, just important events. Be sure to include how the plot picks pace, what conflicts arise, how they are eventually resolved, and how the book ends.
    In this section, you should also mention any literary themes and plot devices you observed in the book. Flex your literary criticism muscle and include a theoretical overview.
    In Christine’s example, you will highlight all the elements the novel touches. A good example will be the jealousy and attention factor where Arnie starts to be more attentive to Christine and in the process begins to lose his love and his family.
  5. Evaluation and Conclusion. This is the section where your own observations and opinions belong. Offer your own unique critique of the book. What did you think the strong points and weak points were? Describe how easy it was to sustain interest in the book. Write about what you learned while reading the book, and especially focus on how it affected you on an emotional level.
    Also include quotes or events from the book to lend credence to your opinions. Finally, include a short paragraph in which you write your honest opinion on the book and say whether you would recommend that other people read it and why.
    In Christine’s example, you can include some quotes that cover the story or simply give your opinion, such as: “Christine” is a fantastic book with enough chills.
  6. Bonus Step—Revise and Edit Your Work. Revise your report thoroughly; get the quotes right and clarify any ambiguous statements. Ask a friend for feedback if you want to be thorough. Edit and proofread your work to improve its quality and style. Finally, format it according to your instructor’s directions. . Most teachers will have a fixed template which specifies header/footer rules, title page format, student information, etc. Finalize the work and send it in.

So, we’ve created a perfect college book report outline on the example of Stephen King’s “Christine”. Moreover, we have given you valuable tips along the way on writing a book report itself. Don’t miss the chance to use that advice and produce an excellent outline together with a profound book report.

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Feb 5, 2016

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