Combining Moral Arguments
Moral arguments aren’t mutually exclusive. You can combine a collection of these topics into one story- within reason. Dude, you can’t drop a dozen different arguments and expect a clean story line, so be smart about it. You can go with the standard good-vs-evil as long as the story grows in strength. You can also go the line of pathos mixed with some satire-irony. Play with it. I am all about the twist. The more twisted the better.
If you are gonna drop some serious topics laced with black comedy you need to ensure they reach their full potential in the plotline. Tragedy, black comedy, and satire could flow well together if done right. Cracking inside jokes at a funeral about the deceased. Something they would laugh at if they were still with you. I had a friend describe me once as the most fun you could have at a funeral. Not sure if that’s a good thing or bad but it falls in the tragedy, dark comedy element of things.
How are we all doing this fine day? Is your cuppa hot, cold, or empty? Mine is running low so it is time for a refill. Meet me by the coffee pot and we can share the newest dish of rumors while digging’ into the peach cobbler I made last night. Total yummers. Get your butts in gear. Refill those cuppas, scoop out your share of the nibbles and meet me out on the reading rug. Don’t forget your copy of The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. I know I have been inconsistent lately. I am sorry. Dealing with family issues and trying to rebuild this site took over the part of my brain that focused on you. But I am here now, and we are on page 136. Tuck in and grab those highlighters. Let’s do this.
Outlining the Moral Argument- Writing Exercise
Designing Principle: Start by turning the principle purpose of your story into the theme. The theme is your version of what is right or wrong in your story’s world.
Theme Line Techniques: Look for things, like symbols, to help condense your moral statements to one line.
Moral Choice: Write down, now, the key decision your hero needs to make by the end of the book.
Moral Problem: In one line, state the central moral problem the hero will face throughout the story.
Characters on Variations on a Theme: Starting with your hero and your opponent, describe how each approaches the central moral problem in different ways.
Values in Conflict: List the values of each major player in your story. Explain how those values will come into conflict as each of them attempt to reach their goal.
detail the moral argument you will be attempting to make within the structure of the story.
Hero’s Belief and Values: Your hero’s essential beliefs and values.
Moral Weakness: Main weakness when it comes to their actions towards others.
Moral Need: What must the hero learn by the end of the story about the right way to live within the world you created?
First Immoral Action: The first move the hero makes that hurts someone within the story. This action should fall within the hero’s moral weakness.
Desire: Restate the hero’s specific goal.
Drive: The actions your hero will take to obtain the goal.
Immoral Action: In what way- if any- are these moves immoral? For example: Criticism is an immoral action. Describe the criticism and how it is hurtful.
Attack by Ally: This is the ally attacking the hero for their choices. Explain how the hero justifies their actions.
Obsessive Drive: What is the moment the hero becomes obsessed with the goal? Is there a moment they decided they will do anything and everything to win?
Immoral Action: With the obsession of winning, immoral actions can occur- what immoral actions does the hero take?
Battle: The final battle, how do you show which is superior, moral or immoral?
Final Action Against Opponent: Does your hero throw a final blow at the opponent- this can be moral or immoral in context.
Moral Self-Revelation: What does your hero learn at the completion of the story? Make sure this falls into the how to live right within the world you created.
Moral Decision: Does your hero make a decision between two or more courses of action near the end of your story?
**Take this list and watch a good action-packed thriller movie and see if you can fill in the answers based on the plotline. Mr. Truby did this very thing with Casablanca.
Print this off, make some popcorn and cue up a movie. It’s the weekend after all. What else were you gonna do during the pandemic?
Up next we will be moving into Chapter 6: Story World.
Until next time…check out the changes to the pages. Let me know if you like what you see or if it needs some work.