40 Days of Worksheets – Day 6

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgWorksheet #6 – The 5 Ws

Who, What, When, Where, WhyThese are the building blocks of stories.

In journalism school, a reporter in training learns to identify these basics as a guide to what goes into a news or feature article. The 5 Ws are helpful to fiction writers as well, for the same reason: to make sure that everything that belongs in a scene is present, and anything that doesn’t belong in a scene is not.

In scene writing classes, I have student use the 5 Ws as a checklist. After you write a scene, run through the 5 Ws with this primary question in mind: Does this scene advance the story?

WHO is in the scene—and does each character present need to be there?

WHAT happens—and how does this scene lead to a next scene?

WHEN does this happen—in real time, as well as timeline?

WHERE does the scene take place—is there a significant meaning to the site of the scene?

WHY must this scene appear in the manuscript—will the story fall apart if it is cut?

Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

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