The Moral of the Story
Do you find that when you write or read fiction there is often a message which underpins it? This may not be a deliberate decision on the part of the author. It may have arisen subconsciously but it's there, nonetheless. Some of you may remember me saying that many of my short stories seem to follow a recurring theme of 'moving on' where the message is that in spite of a crisis, a relationship break up or personal loss the main character tries to resolve the problem, be strong and move on. This is what happens in the story I've been editing this week. After the premature death of her mother, Alex is given her mother's diary and tracks the story she reads in there back to a Greek village. It was there where her mother spent a summer twenty years before and where her life was changed for ever. Again, I didn't ever plan to use the message of 'moving on' to support the story. It just seemed to happen.
In contrast, the first ever writing task I was asked to do in 'Telling Tales', the short story course I attended two years ago run by Lynne Barrett-Lee, was to take a fable, a ready made story with a moral or message, and turn it into a contemporary story. The suggested list of fables and their respective messages that we came up with in class was vast. Many of us remembered the childhood versions of Aesop's Fables taking pride of place on our bookshelves. Here, we wrote stories around the messages we wanted to convey.
The dictionary defines a fable as 'a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral'. To me, the word 'moral' implies that the story will teach the reader something rather than just convey a message. A story I wrote recently was published on Creative Frontiers. The characters are dogs who live on a bleak Welsh Valleys estate. If you'd like to click on this link, Animal Story, and read it, why not say what you think the message of the story is? (Please don't use the title! ;-))
Thanks for reading my blog.
Have you written any animal stories? Do they have a message or moral? I'd love to hear about them.
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