Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Questions for the resident (former) agent
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Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by ladyf » September 17th, 2020, 4:17 am

A friend of mine asked me: "What do you want to say with your book? Remember back in school days when we had to discover the moral of a story? Somebody wrote a tale to tell me that lies are easily detected. Why are you writing your story?"

I was puzzled. In the course of an entire day I was considering possible messages, and he overthrew all of them as meaningless, childish and unimportant.

Another friend of mine said: “It is not a child’s story – morals are the stuff of fables and schmaltzy Hollywood blockbusters. Seriously, if you put a moral in work these days, people think that they are being preached to. And I don’t think that that is your strength. You don’t have a great understanding of philosophy, psychology or politics. You craft fantastic landscapes, stocked with equally fantastic people and bring them to life with humor and affection."

So today I confessed that I have nothing important to say, not now. I can look up some wise thoughts, but I don't believe I can generate one on my own. Besides, I want to say something important for the wrong reasons - that is pure vanity. I want to be motivated by love for the reader, not by how I would look in the eyes of people, when I don't say anything. I fear that I have nothing to say and that fear gets in the way of love.

Your thoughts, Nathan?

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Nathan Bransford
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Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by Nathan Bransford » November 16th, 2020, 10:56 am

A novel definitely doesn't need a moral! Focus on telling a good story not teaching a lesson, and that goes for books of all ages.

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