How to Write a Fable. Fables are short allegorical things that inspire me essay that typically feature anthropomorphic animal characters, though plants, objects, and natural forces may also appear as characters. In classic fables, the main character learns from a key mistake and the tale ends with a moral intended to sum up the lesson learned.
Writing a fable demands a strong and concise narrative in which each component–character, setting, and action–contributes clearly and directly to the story’s resolution and moral. While each person has a unique writing process, this article provides a suggested list of steps and a sample fable to help you pen your own. Because the moral is the center of a fable, it’s often helpful to begin outlining your fable by determining the moral. The moral of a fable should relate to or reflect on a culturally pertinent issue that will resonate with many people. The greatest kindness will not bind the ungrateful. Advice prompted by selfishness should not be heeded. Fine feathers don’t make fine birds.
Strangers should avoid those who quarrel among themselves. The problem is what will drive the action of the fable, and it will be the primary source for the lesson to be learned. Because the nature of fable is to convey culturally-relevant lessons and ideas, the central problem works best when it’s something to which many people can relate. For example, in “The Tortoise and the Hare,” we are are quickly introduced to what will be the central problem or conflict of the story when two characters decide to hold a race.
Decide on the cast of characters. Determine who or what the characters in your fable will be and what traits will define them. Because fables are meant to be simple and concise, don’t aim for complex or multi-faceted characters. Rather, aim to have each character embody a single human trait and keep the characters within those specific limits. As the characters will be the primary vehicle for the fable’s moral, choose characters that will most clearly relate to that moral. In “The Tortoise and the Hare” the characters are, as the title indicates, a tortoise and a hare.
Because a tortoise is easily associated with things that are slow-moving and the hare with things that are swift, the characters already have what will be their key traits in the story built-in. Though the kind of animal or object you choose for your character will have objective traits built-in, as above, you’ll also need to craft the subjective qualities attached to those traits. In “The Tortoise and the Hare,” the tortoise’s slowness is associated with level-headedness and persistence, while the hare’s swiftness is associated with rashness and over-confidence. There are a number of classic archetypal characters used in fables that are broadly recognized and associated with particular human traits.