Writing Tip: Trickster Tales in 7 Steps

What makes a Trickster Tale?

Read a few to get an idea of some of their key elements. (Please, Malese! is an example of a classic trickster tale. So are the Anansi and Brer Rabbit stories.) Some of the characters that show up in trickster tales are:

  1. Strong One. He or she is powerful and might be a little arrogant or evil–out to get the Trickster figure.
  2. Slow One. Easily fooled (think of Bouki!)
  3. Trickster. This is often a character without power (strength or money) who has to live by his or her wits (think Malese or Brer Rabbit).

How to write your own:

1. Start by picking a setting:
• a school
• a jungle
• under the sea
• Antarctica
•  any place you like!

2. Now brainstorm characters, both weak and strong. What animals or people might live in such a setting? For example in Antarctica you might have:

seals * whales * killer whales * polar bears * penguins * fish * sharks * sea gulls * crabs *jelly fish

3. Pick a Trickster. Choose one of the characters who doesn’t have any power.

4. Pick a Strong Character.  This character IS powerful (big, or rich).

5. Give Personal or Physical Traits to all the Characters. Here are some examples of traits:

Lazy * Selfish * Greedy * Sly * Charming * Liar * Boastful * Sneaky * Vain, stuck up * Hard-working * Loyal * Near-sighted * Thief * Generous * Power-hungry, ambitious * Backstabber * Stubborn * Proud

6. Create a Problem for the Trickster. (For example, Malese needed new shoes, or ingredients for a rum cake, or a ride home.)

The problem might come from the Strong Character who has lots of power.Maybe he is making the Trickster’s life miserable. Or maybe the Trickster has done something to mess up his own life.

Remember your Setting and your Character Traits and try using them to create a problem.

7. Solve the Problem. How can the Trickster use his or her wits to solve the problem? Or to outwit the Evil Character? Remember: Tricksters survive by their wits–by tricking people.

Writing a Trickster Tale takes good problem-solving skills!

Now that you have an outline for the story–try writing it!

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1 Comment

One thought on “Writing Tip: Trickster Tales in 7 Steps

  1. RMS

    Thank you for the help it helped me with my homework

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