And the Moral of the Story is…

Is there a moral or a lesson to be found in every piece of writing? I think there is, for the most part. Whether or not the author deliberately included a lesson, it’s possible for the reader to get something out of it.

For instance, a few weeks ago I read a short story and complimented the author on their great moral. They replied that they hadn’t been thinking of a moral and wanted to know what moral I thought the story contained.

It’s much easier to write a story for no particular reason, purely for the sake of writing and imagination than to plan out a lesson to be learned through it. After all, someone could still find a moral in it whether you put one in or not. But what is writing if it doesn’t have a specific purpose, a little gem of truth or advice for the reader to discover and hide away?

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Writing should have purpose. Just like a novel needs a story goal, a writer needs an aim of what they want to tell their audience. Readers read to get a story. They thirst for a journey that can take them away from their chair and into the vast world of imagination. It’s a writer’s job to give their readers that journey. But it’s also a writer’s job to teach their reader something.

Teach them of how deep love goes, how forgiveness sets you free, how hate tears you apart. There are endless lessons to be taught through books. Whether they know it or not, a reader will take it in. Whether they carry it out or not is their own choice. An author should give their audience that choice.

2 thoughts on “And the Moral of the Story is…

  1. Hey, Alexandra! I found you through Go Teen Writers. :)

    This is a fascinating post to me. As you yourself said, you found a moral in that story that wasn’t even intended. So, morals can be discovered regardless of whether they’re deliberate or not. Too often, I think we get caught up in inserting a theme instead of letting it develop organically, and that just makes it feel preachy. Do I think we shouldn’t be deliberate about our themes? No. But what we personally believe about life will come through in our writing, regardless of whether we try to put it there or not. So, maybe we should concentrate more on telling a good story than necessarily on teaching our readers something.

    Note: I don’t necessarily disagree with you. My brain just kind of went off on a tangent, and I was curious what you think. :)

    • Wow, that’s a really great point! I hadn’t thought about it quite that way. I think you’re right. Sometimes when you manufacture a theme for your book it doesn’t fit and it might just be better to let it pop out at you on day.
      Also, I think that part of a good story is a moral or theme. So if we focus on good storytelling, themes are still part of the picture. :)

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