Tips on Writing a Fable


In our Book of Questions Workbook, we ask kids to try writing a fable to get across a certain moral or lesson. It works not only their creative thinking, but their critical and strategic thinking, too, as they figure out what characters and scenarios will best convey their message.

Below are some simple tips on how to approach this writing task.

Essentially, to write a fable you need:

  • Come up with a basic moral or lesson you want the reader to take away: this will anchor the narrative. (ie, slow and steady wins the race, the early bird gets the worm.)
  • Create a flawed main character (or group of characters): this character will not apply the moral to the situation they will face. Instead, this character tends to do the opposite of the moral.
    • You can also have another character (or characters) who does live by the moral, but it's not necessary.
    • Fable characters are often animals and/or elements of nature. But they don't have to be.
  • Come up with a story situation that will test your character: this situation will force the character to make a decision in which they will either apply the moral, or not.
  • Have your main character (or characters) make the wrong decision: 
    • The main character needs to make a decision or series of decisions that goes against this moral. This decision-making failure will set up the unhappy/tragic end of the story for your main character.
    • If there are other "good" characters, then they should make a good decision or series of good decisions that applies the moral.
  • Inflict severe & bad consequences upon your main character: 
    • The bad consequences show what happens when you do not follow the moral.
    • If there are other "good" characters, then they should be rewarded for their "good" decisions.

Last tips:

  • The moral is usually repeated at the end of the story, to really drive it home.
  • Have fun with it! Fables work best when they're not too heavy-handed!

    That's pretty much it. Simple, yet this task works the brain nicely.