How do I retell a work in my own words?

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When you ask, "How do I retell a story in my own words," is asking about paraphrasing. When you summarize a story, you tell what the author has written, but you  make it shorter and tighter. When you paraphrase you retell in your own words. It will be similar in length. Riverside Publishing company, who helps produce many state mandated tests makes this distinction clear.

That being said there are some great suggestions here. I think somebody might have addressed it, but if you read the story several times, you should know it well enough to retell the ideas from the story in your own language.

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    First, research your topic or story thoroughly. Read as much information as possible until you have a strong understanding and can retell most of the facts and story without outside assistance. If you are retelling a story and not a research topic, reread the story several--even many--times until it is totally familiar. Then, tell the story in your own words. If you have a thorough understanding of it, you won't be as tempted to "borrow" others' words.

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This is a good questions because you want to avoid plagiarism at all costs. Plagiarism is telling the story exactly as the storyteller did, using their words and word-for-word sentences from the story.

In order to retell the story you have to tell me about what you read or saw, but make it much shorter, and explain it so that I will feel as though I read or saw the story myself. As the others stated you will want to describe the characters, tell the plot and how it was all brought together.

As and example I would like to tell you the story of Itsy Bitsy Spider and the original story is as follows:

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, out came the rain and washed the spider out, out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Now I am going to retell you the story of Itsy Bitsy Spider:

This story was about a tiny spider and his trials during a normal day. He made an attempt to climb the water spout until it started raining and he was knocked off. However, the rain did not last and the sun came out later that day allowing the spider to complete his trip to the top of the spout.

 

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In writing a summary of a literary work, be very careful to use your own words.  When you wish to support your descriptions or topic sentences, you can cite passages or lines from the work under consideration.

In addition to the suggestions, you can center your summary around the theme of the work, mentioning what plot action, character and setting have in developing this theme.  But, be careful not to inject your opinion into the summary as it is meant to be objective, for you are simply retelling the main points of the narrative.

Some excellent aids are given in the enotes "how-to" topics.  You may wish to read these suggestions at the sites listed below.

 

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In order to retell a story, you need to know the story well. After you think you have a good handle on the story, then write the main points only. In short, how does it begin, what happens to create tension in the middle and how does it all resolve. That is a basic structure of most stories. Also the easiest way to accomplish this is to go in chronological order.

After you have done this, it would be helpful, if you analyze the story. What did you like and what did you not like. Also be sure to include reasons of why you liked something or disliked something.

You can also talk about things like character development, if you like, or literary techniques the author has employed.

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There are many ways to approach this.  One way to retell a book in both writing and speaking could lie in a plot summary.  This would involve in discussing the exposition, or elements that begin the narrative.  The next step would be to discuss the conflicts that are present in the story and how this conflict rises in the course of the work.  Perhaps, there is some type of critical point or climax where this conflict is most evident.  Finally, discussion of how this climax was resolved could be a part of this retelling.   Another way to retell a story would be to discuss characters and how they were depicted in the course of the story.  What were some of the characters' traits or primary motivations?  Where could some change in how characters were depicted or acted be discussed?

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