WRITING: THE 5 W’s October 13, 2017

WRITING:  THE 5 W’s                                                                   October 13, 2017

We’re constantly reading and writing, aren’t we?  Even if we aren’t, someone else is, and we want all necessary key elements to be included in the story.  You’ve probably noticed that in writing, nearly every newspaper story tells who did the what, as well as when, where, why and how he/she did it (unless some details are not yet available to law-enforcement personnel or they cannot be released to the public until after next of kin have been notified).  Those “W” key elements are known as the 5 W’s of journalism, with “how” sometimes included, too.  The same basics hold true for other story forms, too, whether nonfiction (true) or fiction (not true).  The game of “Clue” is a good example.

Who:  especially the protagonist/main character.  Miss Plum?

What:  a key part of the story’s plot.  What happened?

When:  daytime? Nighttime? Between 4 and 6 a.m.?

Where:  the setting for a story or a scene in a story/an article, a short story, a poem, a book.  In the drawing room?

Why:  motive.  Because his partner had embezzled all of their joint funds?

How:  With a gun? A knife? A candlestick?

If you don’t have the 5 W’s in your story, you don’t have a complete story.   Not having a complete story gives a bad impression of your writing of that particular piece and can cause readers to question your credibility as a writer across the board.  It also causes inconvenience and extra use of time for readers who need the rest of the facts right now and for you if you’re going back in to fix/finish the story.  Always double-check that you have answered these questions fully and clearly for readers.


Many lessons and bits of advice in this writing/grammar series have been taken from Writestyle’s online campus of courses covering Grammar, Punctuation, Proofreading, and Editing.  If you need help, we’re here for you.





Vickie L. Weaver

Vickie L. Weaver

Owner at Writestyle
Writing has been an important talent and part of my life since I was a child.Professionally, after decades of employment for others, I founded Writestyle in 1996 to provide writing, editing, proofreading, training, and more to clients worldwide (www.writestyle.com).Clients often call my work “magic.”I have written and/or edited for “Coexistence Magazine” (national), for “Ohio Magazine,” and for various newspapers.In addition, I have edited or contributed to the writing of numerous books.Personally, I have written in various genres.I have always composed poetry; as such, I have won awards and publication for some of my poems, and I am compiling a book of my poetry.One of my children’s books is set for publication.With my second husband, family and friends in Ohio, I enjoy music and dance, aid charitable causes, and strive for beauty and harmony in life.
Vickie L. Weaver

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