Looking for a quick-and-easy way to brainstorm?
Use the "5 Ws + How.
Good writers have a secret
I'd like to share with you.
Five friends will help you do your work,
They'll serve you well and never shirk:
Where and When and What and Why,
But most important, Who.
Once you know Who is "the star,"
Your story is begun.
Once you tell What happens,
The story's much more fun.
And when you add, Where, When, and Why,
Your story's almost done.
Now read this quick example
Then give the friends a break.
You'll find that they are good and true,
You'll learn what they can do for you.
Perhaps you'll write a story
An editor will take!
From YA edition, Writing Smarter, not Harder workbook
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One of my favorite ways to encourage myself (and others) to keep going when things get tough is to quote, "One foot after the other, the little dog reached Dover."
I've never cared to go to Dover, but the little dog's perseverance in getting where he wanted to go intrigued me. Just for fun, I decided to brainstorm.
Who is the little dog? Who is he going to see? Who did he leave behind? Who, if anyone, accompanies him? Who sent him? Who is waiting for him to come?
What road does he take? What does he see along the way? What keeps him going?
When did he start? When does he expect to reach his destination?
Where did he come from? Where is he going? To see the Queen? The White Cliffs of Dover? The English Channel? Relatives?
Why did he start his journey? Why is he determined to put one foot after the other, even though his paws may get sore from traveling? Why didn't he hitch a ride on the back of a carriage and ride instead of walking?
How far is it from where he started his journey to where it will end?
Once these questions are answered, the story or article almost tells itself.
* * *
Mini-outline, Sunday Suspicion (Juli Scott Mystery #7)
Who (star): Juli Scott, Junior in high school
What she wants: Some peace and quiet following her latest mystery.
Where? Bellingham, Washington
Why? She loves helping solve mysteries but after Mysterious Monday, Trouble on Tuesday, Wednesday Witness, Thursday Trials, and Friday Flight, followed by a frightful Saturday Scare, Julie and her Lunch Bunch friends need time to enjoy school, family, and church activities.
How can this happen when anonymous threats lead to the most baffling mystery yet?
Sunday Suspicion completes the Juli Scott Mystery series.