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In modern writing, there is one big no-no, above every other taboo, except, perhaps, a poorly-thought-out plot or out-of-character characters (see Out of Character Syndrome or OOCS), and that is sounding preachy. Whatever your authorly stance on controversial issues, you must never, ever preach. Nothing sends readers running for the hills like a sanctimonious bludgeoning of preachiness thinly disguised as a story. For one thing, authors of such tripe rarely take the time to actually write a story instead of just a sermon. Your story should not be a story with a moral, it should be a story that “just happens” to have a moral. It takes talent and practice to write a story that happens to have a moral. The moral should not be the be-all and end-all of the story–rather, it should rise gradually, organically, from the rest of the tale.

But the simplest way of putting morals and morality into your story without sounding preachy can and should be easy. (Mind, I didn’t say simple–just simplest.) Simply put, neither should you as the narrator intrude on the story to preach, nor should your characters. They should not–unless it is absolutely necessary to the story–ever state their moral code, but it should be abundantly clear by their actions that they do have one. This is the very heart of good writing. Also, if the moral code in your story is ever stated, hypocrisy will become a very serious offense in your reader’s eyes. It can be used in order to create hate for a given character in your readers, and can cause a serious “alignment check.” Which means, your character may be on a fast road to the Dark Side, even if it’s only in your reader’s eyes; what your readers see is everything to them. It’s better to manipulate those emotions than it is to have those emotions slip out and betray you, which is why it’s also important to check back a couple times on what your readers will be thinking, and what they should be thinking.

To recap, your characters should not preach; they should not say “right” or “wrong” unless it’s necessary to the plot. Rather, make it clear by their actions that they are good people.

Thanks for reading, and God Bless! Love all you wonderful people. 😉

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