So, you've come up with an idea for a story and decided that completing said story is something you want to pursue.That's awesome! The world can always use more stories, whether you plan to publish this particular work or keep it to yourself. However, the act of actually sitting down and attempting to pen beautifully eloquent sentences that relay a well-rounded, attention-capturing journey is much more difficult than it seems. When it comes down to it, character development is hard. Plot development is hard. Scene setting is hard. Luckily, the five Ws provide the layout for an outline that will help you work out the kinks in your story before you even start writing.
Let's start with "Who." Who are your characters? What do you know about them? What are their names? Their ages? What do they look like? What are their flaws? Their attributes? Who is the protagonist? The antagonist? Supporting characters? An important thing to note is that your characters should have flaws - "perfect" characters make for boring stories. Your characters should be relatable. They should have challenges to overcome. If your character is completely carefree, the story will have no stakes. You can find plenty of character development worksheets online that will help you create a well-rounded character.
Next, what is your story going to be about? What are your major plot points? What are the minor plot points? How does the story begin? What choice does your protagonist or antagonist make that sets the story in motion? What is the climax of your story? The resolution? Again, characters should make choices. These choices are what propel the story. Your audience should be able to understand and accept your characters' reasoning behind the choices they make as well. Otherwise, the story may come off as confusing, and the audience may not be able to suspend their disbelief.
Additionally, it is important to establish when your story is taking place. At what point in the protagonist's life does your story begin? What year is it? What season? Month? During what span of time does the story progress? Readers will notice if a writer fails to establish appropriate time frames within their work.
"When" goes hand in hand with "Where," as the two combined form your story's setting(s). Where does your story take place? A city? A field? Are there multiple locations for your characters to visit? Or does the story play out in one place? Including descriptions of your locations, whether they are thorough or brief, will help the audience understand the space through which your characters are maneuvering.
Lastly, we come to "Why," which ties everything else together. Your characters need to be motivated to pursue their goals. Why are they setting forth on their journey? Why are they willing to put themselves or others at risk in order to obtain what they want? Your characters' actions should be justified through their desires. If readers cannot determine what it is your characters want, they will not feel connected to the characters.
Writing a story is by no means an easy task for anyone, and if it is, you must either be a literary genius or doing it wrong. Stories require work. They require effort and brainstorming. They are frustrating, maddening even, but they are so, so worth it