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How-to Tuesday

Impactful Endings, Part 8: The Moral of the Story

Every week, we update our current how-to series entitled, “Impactful Endings: How to End Your Story With a Bang!” This series is about experimenting with different story endings to ensure your conclusion is satisfying to you and leaves an impact on your readers. Our eighth post will be about how to write a moral at the end of your story.

The Moral of the Story

Have you ever heard of a fable? A fable is, by definition: a short story, with animals as characters, conveying a moral. Now, your story does not necessarily have to have animals as characters, but it may be important for you to include the last aspect of a fable: the moral. Your story might have a moral or message even if you don’t realize it, just like we discussed in our previous post about ending with a question.

If this is the case, you should consider digging deeper into your story to uncover the moral! One way to end your story is by including a recap of the moral of your story. That might be an excellent way to share an important life lesson with your reader.

Writing a conclusion that focuses on a moral is quite simple, because all you need to include is, of course, the moral! The most difficult part of the moral ending is figuring out what exactly the moral of your story is. Think about your characters, their goals and objectives, and how those characters/goals develop throughout the story.

Here is an example: The fable of the tortoise and the hare. Both animals are in a race, the hare speeds away as soon as the flag goes down, while the tortoise takes his time. In the end, the hare gets lost on another path because he is going so fast he doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. Meanwhile, the tortoise slowly focuses on the path he’s on, without rushing. The moral of the story is the famous saying, “Slow and steady wins the race,” because patience is an important virtue.

Notice how the moral is at the end of the story summary? For your story, you would want to strive for a similar format but longer since your story will probably be longer.

Here are some things to think about when coming up with your moral:

  1. What are the character’s objectives in your story?
  2. What is their personality like?
  3. How does the character achieve his/her objectives? Or does he/she?
  4. Is there anything you want to teach the reader through your character’s actions?
  5. How does the moral tie into the overall theme of your story?

Once you answer these questions, you should think about the purpose of your story as a whole. If it is meant to teach a lesson, than you should absolutely consider using the moral ending. If you’re having trouble, refer to some classic fables such as “The Tortoise and the Hare”, and look at how the authors include morals in these stories!

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