I love what Fred has to say about the use of “parables as story material.” He refers to the Parable of The Sower in chapter 13 of the book of Matthew in which a disciple asks Jesus why he speaks in parables to the people. Jesus replies that those open to spiritual truth will find meaning in his stories. As modern writers, we can use the parable as a vehicle to communicate an abstract idea.
The modern-day parable uses common situations to illustrate abstract ideas in a dramatic way. In my experience, this explains the value of drama in teaching. It offers a way to connect with the audience. In writing, the same principles can be applied to convey theme to the reader. Fred suggests writing a modern-day parable beginning with a common occupation. Make your character a mechanic or a nurse and through story telling, show the value of their service without summarizing. Set a scene in which the reader “sees” the character in an honorable way.
I’ve actually assigned this lesson to my writers group at church. I’ve still never tried it myself. Here’s another story idea for my to do list.