Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

ImageGood morning, on another dismal, cold, wet Saturday morning, the last one in April. Let’s hope May brings better weather. My  A to Z Blog Challenge topic for today consists of the five w’s–who, what, where, when. why, and their buddy, how. These six questions are the backbone of any good story. No matter what kind of story you’re writing, answering these questions is absolutely essential.

As an English teacher, among the things I taught were the elements of plot–setting, initial incident, rising action, crisis, climax, falling action, and resolution. Students would read a short story or a novel, and find all of these elements so we could study the piece of literature. While I’m sure the estates of countless writers thrive on the royalties they receive from all the books sold to schools, colleges, and universities, I wonder sometimes if the authors meant for their works to be analysed that way. I think of my own novels for example. While there is definitely too many hot scenes in Just For The Weekend, both Fire Angel and In Plain Sight are clean enough to be read in school, but would they stand the test of a teacher tearing into them? I’d like to think so. There are more than enough examples of figurative language in them, I’d like to think my characters are well developed–at least my critics think so, and, there are enough sub-plots going on to keep everyone happy. If my books were to be the books studied, how would they stand up?  In the plot outline, would they even make it past the setting and initial incident? 

ImageI decided I’d put Fire Angel to the test by examining it the way I did as an English teacher, and I decided I’d share some of that with you by answering the 5’w’s and the h, without giving the story away.

WHO? Main characters:  Alexis Michaels, fire investigator; Jake McKenzie, profiler 

WHAT? (Initial Incident) People have died because of an arsonist. Jake and Alexis have to stop the arsonist

WHERE? in the town of Paradise, Ontario

WHEN? modern day, late November

WHY? The Fire Angel uses arson as a weapon to kill people. Each fire he sets has a higher body count than the previous one. He seems to be targeting specific individuals, but a lot of innocent people are dying too.

HOW? The Fire Angel kills using different sophisticated arson methods. Alexis and Jake must figure out how he does it and why. Once they know when he’ll strike again and where, they can find him and stop him before who knows how many others will die. 

Well, I guess I covered my bases, and if by some miracle, the book ever ends up as a teachable, I know the kids won’t be whining, but it doesn’t have … Want to read more? Fire Angel is available from most ebook distributors and Amazon. Fire Angel

Check out the other  A to Z Blog Challenge entries. See you all back here on Monday. 

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About mhsusannematthews

Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have sold 24 other manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.
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2 Responses to Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How

  1. Sue Kuentz says:

    Perfect to bring up with my youth storytellers – they often forget to include all of the who, what, where, when, and why and how’s in their retellings of stories from books! Thank you so much!

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