Why, Why, Why, Why, and Why

The 5 Whys is not your 4 year old asking an endless question. It is, instead, a great strategy for any kind of writing. I think, though, it would be really useful when writing an outline for a chapter or even within a scene.

*image credit: Y by ChrisInPlymouth

The Daily Post

Often we hear that a writer should keep in mind the Five Ws, questions that answer who, what when, where, and why. A colleague reminded me this week of another set of Ws, a problem solving strategy known as the Five Whys. I’m bad about remembering this strategy as I solve coding problems as part of my day job, and the result is often that I solve a symptom of the problem at hand rather than the root cause. As a programmer, I should strive always to solve the root cause. So, on to the method.

Given a problem that needs solving, you first ask why it’s happening. Then you ask why again. And again. And at least twice more. And yet more times if needed. The idea is that by imposing on yourself the rule that you must ask why at least five times…

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