62. That’s the number of fables I’ve written so far this year. If you had asked me a year ago what I would be writing in 2018, I never would have guessed it would be this. Yet, I’ve really enjoyed the experience and its getting results. I’m a teacher. I love helping people learn. When I started to read some of these fables to my kids and they were actually able to explain the moral of the story in concrete terms, I was amazed. I knew the power of story was significant, but imagine your kid being able to explain the meaning of the Beatitudes or Ten Commandments in ways you could barely teach directly yourself. I’ve been reading the fables to my kids and getting amazing feedback. At first, they didn’t want to make me feel bad. They were trying to be nice. Now they have amazing suggestions and recommendations. Even their reactions of “I don’t get it” are clear guidance for what to change. I’m looking forward to sharing these stories with more parents, teachers, and kids soon. 🙂 #fables #fabulist #kidstories #amwriting #writersofinstagram #authorsofinstagram
I started writing fables this year as a first attempt at fiction. Fables are short stories that teach a moral lesson. Most of the fables I’ve written teach one of the Beatitudes or Ten Commandments. I’ve been reading some of the fables to my kids at night before bed looking for feedback and studying their reactions.
Here are some writing lessons I’ve learned from them so far:
- Use age-appropriate vocabulary. Make sure your audience knows the vocabulary you are using. My five year old, for example, wasn’t completely sure what a janitor is. The fable I wrote about a janitor didn’t make sense to her at first. You also have to be careful about the words you use in your first draft. Don’t dumb down the language, but make sure the words have context that will help them understand the meaning of the words you use.
- “I don’t get it” as feedback is just as valuable if not more useful than “You should do this.” I am so glad when I get confusion as a response. It helps me know I need to go back into the story and fix something.
- Characters need desires! Characters must want something. The fables they like the most had characters with clear desires and high stakes for getting what they wanted.
- Differentiate characters. You don’t have to give your characters names in a fable, but you do need to differentiate between characters that are similar (brothers, travelers, flowers, animals, etc.). Your reader shouldn’t have to work hard to think about who does what in the story otherwise they will miss the moral.