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Writing a 5 W’s Story

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Writing a 5 W’s Story

Two ice skaters glide along a frozen river
Dennis van de Water /

Ideas for fictional stories often come from a writer’s real-life experiences. Change a few parts of the experience, and a story is born. See how one writer created a story idea by using a 5 W’s chart.


True Experience

Story Idea

Who? Mark Day Josh Davis and Kim Smith, new friends
What? Went ice skating Went ice skating
When? Late afternoon last winter Late afternoon last winter
Where? On Root River On Root River
Why? To see how far he could get To see if they could reach the dam, which is farther than anyone has ever gone

Two important parts were changed—the main character(s) and the reason for the skating adventure.

Your Turn Write a fictional story based on a real experience.

  1. List possible experiences that you could turn into stories. (These could be personal experiences or ones that you have heard or read about.)
  2. Choose one experience that interests you the most.
  3. Create a 5 W's chart like the one above (or use the document download below).
  4. In the first column, list the 5 W's: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?
  5. In the second column, Identify the main parts of the experience.
  6. In the third column, fictionalize at least two important parts so that the experience becomes truly different.
  7. Write your story using the third column as a basic guide.
Minilesson Downloadables: 

From pages 145-150 in Writers Express

Teacher Support:

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Answer Key:

Answers will vary.

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