How to Write a Parable
- Start with the moral lesson. Think about a moral principle that has been important in your own life, or one that you’re still struggling to learn fully. You might also choose something that you’re curious about and want to explore. It could be anything – honesty, loyalty, compassion, courage, etc. – as long as it’s interesting to you.
- Consider its consequences. What might happen as a result of behaving (or not behaving) according to your moral lesson? In “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” the consequence of dishonesty is that liars will not be believed in important moments, and it’s hard to live without people’s trust.
- Write a beginning, middle, and end. All stories follow a basic beginning-middle-end structure, and parables are no exception. The beginning sets the stage and tells us who all the main characters are, while establishing important themes; in the middle, some kind of problem, conflict, or danger emerges; and in the end, we learn about the results of that conflict.
When to use Parables
Parables don’t really have much value in formal essays. However, they can make great inspiration for short stories – if you’re having a hard time coming up with a story to write, you can often get through your writer’s block by following the steps in the previous section. Remember that most parables don’t include an explicit “moral” at the end. They simply speak for themselves, and readers are expected to understand the moral without being explicitly told what it is.