Outlining

Answer The W's

What can be more basic than the simple who, what, why, when and where formula? This common sense plan has proved over and over again that it is not only one of the fastest ways to begin a story, but also an easy creative writing exercise to use when you only have a small chunk of time available.

If you want this formula to work for you, then the best way to approach it is to answer those questions quickly. Forget about thinking, analyzing, and worrying until later. For now, let’s just start writing. Here’s an example to show you how easy it is to start.

  • WHO? Sally – an eco activist/policewoman
  • WHAT? Having affair with a married politician so she can blackmail and manipulate him.
  • WHEN? Now
  • WHERE? In contemporary Ireland
  • HOW? Recording his every move, generally spying on him in order to destroy him.


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