Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Questions for the resident (former) agent
Post Reply
ladyf
Posts: 2
Joined: September 12th, 2019, 8:53 am
Contact:

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?

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1560
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: Pasadena, CA
Contact:

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.

WriterCJ
Posts: 2
Joined: January 31st, 2022, 1:56 pm
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by WriterCJ » February 4th, 2022, 12:16 pm

I totally agree with Nathan. I've been a voracious reader since second grade. I have never searched for a moral. What I wanted, and still do to this day, is to be entertained. That is not to say, I have never learned anything or never grown spiritually from a fiction novel I've read. But, I decided to buy or read every one of these book because the first several pages hooked me into wanting to read more.

Qwerty
Posts: 9
Joined: December 1st, 2021, 6:29 pm
Location: southern California
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by Qwerty » December 13th, 2022, 11:54 am

I agree that we shouldn't write stories with the intent of imparting some moral or lesson to our readers. But stories can leave something for readers to take with them into their own lives. Whatever that is, it shouldn't be annoyingly obvious. That said, here's my take on what a story can do...

Storytelling is the art of compelling us to admire and respect the characters, cheer for their success and identify with their problems. But every effort to escape the jaws of the enemy puts them in greater peril. We become more and more anxious for their safety and frustrated they are repeatedly unable to outwit and overcome an increasingly vicious and powerful enemy. Just when the conflict takes the darkest turn, the heroes snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. We share in their success as if it were our own, and in a good story, it is.

Yes, some stories are just an entertaining way to escape reality because we can’t really identify with the character’s success. But that’s okay because we live in a world with problems that are often beyond our ability to solve. So, it can be momentarily satisfying to read a story with problems we know will be solved by the hero in the end.

But some stories can be a powerful way to change reality because the storyteller has used fiction to tell the truth, and that can empower us to find something true about ourselves. We become the young hero, the wise old woman, the transformed fool. The hero’s victory is our own because the fiction is psychologically valid, emotionally realistic and loaded with clues for shaping and navigating the sticky web of real life.

Qwerty
Posts: 9
Joined: December 1st, 2021, 6:29 pm
Location: southern California
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by Qwerty » December 18th, 2022, 12:58 pm

Yes, and perhaps help the storyteller find a thread that runs through the story?

AmandaDavid
Posts: 1
Joined: December 26th, 2022, 7:01 am
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by AmandaDavid » December 26th, 2022, 7:42 am

I believe you don't need to put a moral. That's a good idea but not a must...
Last edited by AmandaDavid on December 26th, 2022, 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

AgathaSmith
Posts: 1
Joined: December 26th, 2022, 7:50 am
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by AgathaSmith » December 26th, 2022, 8:22 am

I am an aspirant writer and I really love writing novels. I sometimes don't care about putting morals or not. As long as my novel has an impact on the reader then I am satisfied with it.

AnneBrown
Posts: 1
Joined: December 26th, 2022, 7:52 am
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by AnneBrown » December 26th, 2022, 8:36 am

I am the kind of reader who prefers to read a novel that has a moral specifically a good moral. It's great to read one that has a moral that can apply to our daily life routine. I you know any novel that is very interesting and at the same time has a good moral, feel free to reach me.

EllyDough
Posts: 1
Joined: December 26th, 2022, 7:52 am
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by EllyDough » December 26th, 2022, 8:45 am

I prefer not to have . A good and very interesting one is good to me.

amelia11
Posts: 1
Joined: June 28th, 2024, 3:01 am
Contact:

Re: Does a Novel Need to Have a Moral?

Post by amelia11 » July 1st, 2024, 10:56 am

A novel doesn't necessarily need a moral; it can be valued for its storytelling, character development, and emotional impact. However, many readers appreciate a moral as it provides deeper meaning and reflection, enriching their understanding and connection to the narrative. spelling bee answers

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests