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An Invitation

February 5, 2014

When I  teach my English comp class, I ask my students to create an invitation for an event of their choosing. It must include a time, a location, the purpose for the party, and who will be attending. Invitations have included aliens, families, foreign dignitaries, and birthday bashes in Bermuda. It’s always a fun start to a semester, but the reason I do it is to help them remember the five elements to writing. An essay or a first chapter must include the five w’s: who, what, where, when and why.

Who? At a minimum the main character must be introduced, or if writing an essay, the reader needs to know who’s involved.

Where? Setting is crucial.

When? Is it a current story or historical? Maybe it’s dystopian. If writing an essay, dates can be critical.

What/Why? These two questions are the crux of the essay and the piece of fiction. What does the main character want or need and why is it so important to them? If writing an essay the reader must know what’s at stake.

Editing can be made  easier by thinking of an invitation to remember the needed elements.

Do you have your 5 w’s in your own work?

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