The Moral Premise (for novels)

The Moral Premise is what your story is really about. Stan Williams developed this theory and claims that successful motion pictures and stories are always structured around a psychological (or spiritual) premise based on true moral values. Knowing your story’s Moral Premise means you can structure your story using this premise, giving it greater depth.

The Moral Premise is comprised of four parts: a virtue, a vice, desirable consequences (success), and undesirable consequences (defeat). These four parts can be used to create a statement that describes precisely what a story is really about, on both a physical and psychological levels. This is the formal structure of a Moral Premise:

[Vice] leads to [defeat], but [Virtue] leads to [success]

Here’ss an example of a Moral Premise from the film Braveheart: ‘Compromising liberty leads to tyranny; but dying for liberty leads to freedom.’ The Moral Premise themes of liberty and tyranny are at the heart of the Braveheart story, and key incidents in the movie will fit the Moral Premise statement.

Consider your story’ss theme and define the vice that is demonstrated in your story world.

PLEASE NOTE: You must use the "BUILD MORAL PREMISE" button before attempting to save your plan.

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Is it a virtue demonstrated through your story's theme?

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