West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature: Folk Heroes

Write a Tall Tale

The KEY to a tall tale is EXAGGERATION.

Your first step is to choose a tall tale hero—you might write another adventure for Tony Beaver or you might invent a new character (maybe a character based on a legendary hero from your area).

Remember, the key is to EXAGGERATE your hero's characteristics. Make him or her bigger or stronger or faster or smarter than anyone else!

Now you need an adventure for your tall tale hero. Once again, the key is to EXAGGERATE. The main event of a tall tale is not something that can happen in real life.

If you need some help with your story, try filling in the blanks of the tall tale story form below:

(Name of tall tale hero)

was the ______________________________________________
(describing words, like toughest, smartest)

man/woman in the state of ___________________________.
(state name ) .

Everyone for miles around knew________________________
(hero's name)

and loved to tell and retell of his/her amazing feats.

Now one day _________________________________________
(hero's name)

went to visit Grandfather. Grandfather had been

having big problems with ______________________________



Grandfather explained his problem.

That was all it took. Right away ______________________



(How the hero solved Grandfather's problem)

Grandfather's problem was solved,

and the folks in____________________________
(the state you chose)

now had a new story to tell about_________________________
(hero's name)

[SUGGESTION: You can print this page to use the pattern as you write your story.]

E-Mail your story to us.

See also Write Your Own Ballad and Collect a Ghost Story in this teaching unit, or Writing a Tall Tale in AppLit tall tales study guide.

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West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature is a self-contained teaching unit by Avis Caynor and Reneé Wyatt (1997), reprinted with permission in 2003 in the larger web site AppLit.

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See also Complete list of AppLit pages on folklore
Tall Tales and Jack Tales: Literature and Writing Activities