Writing Tip: The Five Ws

You have a vague recollection that sometime in the past–perhaps in high school–someone told you that when writing a newspaper article, you need to cover all five Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. That is good advice in general, including fiction–and even memoir.

The Who covers both the character(s) and the Point of View. What is generally what the POV character is striving for–anything from making the team to becoming the richest person in the world. When can be as specific as April 19, 1945 or a vague as once upon a time. Where is, of course, setting. And Why is motivation–what is driving the character. Much depends on Why, and within the context of your story it must be both believable and sufficient to justify the act. If your character kills someone to secure a spot on the team, the stakes for making/not making the team must be very high indeed, and fully developed in the story.

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