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The Moral Of The Story — for #WebcomicChat

The Moral Of The Story — for #WebcomicChat published on 5 Comments on The Moral Of The Story — for #WebcomicChat

For today’s discussion on @webcomicchat.

Q1: How do you define the “moral of the story”?

A practical lesson it teaches. Can be a deliberate anvil-dropping, but any well-written and complex story will have natural morals, in the sense of “if you, too, behave like this, you’ll face these consequences.”

e.g. a moral of The Lord of the Rings (and by extension DM of The Rings) might be “don’t underestimate your gardener.”

Q2: Are a story’s morals and its themes the same thing? Why or why not?

A moral should be an outgrowth of a theme, but a theme doesn’t necessarily lead to a moral.

e.g. if one of the morals of Sleepless Domain is “reaching out to your friends can help you deal with a traumatic loss,” that comes from the way it handles the broader themes of loss/grief and friendship.

Contrast something like Catball & Clown Girl, which arguably has themes of friendship (and hatred, and cat-ness), but I don’t know that you can draw any useful lessons from it. It’s just cute.

Skipping around because this one’s related:

Q4: Do a story’s thematic elements need to reflect any of its morals? How so?

…how would you get a moral that doesn’t involve any of the thematic elements? That’s like asking if the answer to a riddle needs to reflect the setup.

I guess you can read this as “do the characters need to behave in accordance with the moral,” in which case, no. You can have a story that centers on Bad People Doing Bad Things (consider String Theory, or Bruno The Bandit), and interpret the moral as “hey, don’t be like that guy.”

Q5: Tell us about your favorite stories with a central moral to share!

Ehh. Anything with a “central moral” is likely too anvilicious to be a “favorite story.”

Good storytelling and character development needs to be at the center of the writing. Morals are just an outgrowth, an aftereffect, of that focus.

Q3: What are some examples of stories (including your own) you see with morals imparted in them?

I think the most obvious moral of Leif & Thorn are “communication is important, even (especially!) when it’s hard work.” Maybe with a side of “be kind to people, because you never know what they’ve gone through.”

…Readers, any other nominations?

5 Comments

Just to make sure, are you asking us for what we’re getting out of Leif and Thorn, or for something else?

“Boundaries are important and should be respected” and “Respect other peoples’ culture, even if you don’t agree with it, because you don’t know what that culture means to them” are two that immediately come to mind; although that second one comes with a disclaimer of “just because you’ve been taught something all your life doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good thing”.

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