Genre & Theme
3 min read

A short guide to writing stories where the inner conflict is morality

A group of people contemplating an ominous dark smoke.

Stories that explore moral dilemmas and inner conflicts of morality can be some of the most compelling and thought-provoking works of fiction. In this article, we will discuss the key aspects of the internal content genre of morality-driven stories, including what makes this genre unique, how to choose it for your story, the conventions of morality-driven stories, and the obligatory scenes that must be present.

What is the morality genre?

A morality-driven story follows the protagonist as they navigate ethical dilemmas and make morally significant decisions, resulting in personal growth or a change in values. The exploration of ethical dilemmas and the gray areas between right and wrong is a key element of the morality genre.

Morality is an internal content genre. Internal content genres explore themes of personal growth, self-discovery, and transformation. By highlighting the protagonist's emotional development, internal content genres create a more in-depth and layered narrative.

When to choose morality as an internal content genre

Choose morality as your internal content genre if you want to create a story that delves into the complexities of ethical decision-making, highlights the nuances of human behaviour, and emphasizes character development over plot-driven action. This genre is an excellent choice for writers interested in exploring philosophical questions and examining the grey areas between right and wrong.

Conventions of morality-driven stories

The morality genre is characterized by several key conventions:

  • Ethical dilemmas: The protagonist must face difficult moral choices that test their values and beliefs.
  • Consequences: The story should show the consequences of the protagonist's decisions, both positive and negative.
  • Character development: The protagonist undergoes a significant change in values or beliefs, either for better or worse.
  • Ambiguity: Morality-driven stories often thrive on the ambiguity of ethical situations, leaving readers to ponder the nuances of the protagonist's decisions.
  • Reflection: The protagonist should spend time reflecting on their actions and the consequences of their choices.

Obligatory scenes in morality-driven stories

There are certain scenes that readers expect to encounter in a morality-driven novel:

  • The Inciting Incident: The protagonist is presented with a moral dilemma or conflict that challenges their existing beliefs and values.
  • The Turning Point: The protagonist makes a morally significant decision that sets the course for the rest of the story.
  • The Dark Night of the Soul: The protagonist faces the most significant ethical challenge of the story, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and insecurities.
  • The Climax: The protagonist makes a final, irrevocable decision that resolves the central moral conflict.
  • The Resolution: The consequences of the protagonist's decisions are revealed, and the story concludes with a clear sense of how the protagonist has grown or changed as a result of their moral journey.

Tips for writing a compelling story where the inner conflict is morality

To create a captivating story centred around morality, consider the following tips:

  • Conduct research on the social, cultural, and historical context of the era or setting to ensure your story is authentic and accurate, taking into account the diversity of moral values within that context.
  • Develop engaging characters with distinct personalities, motivations, and backstories that reflect their moral beliefs, dilemmas, and struggles, allowing readers to connect with their journeys.
  • Create a vivid and immersive setting that captures the nuances of the society and its moral landscape, using rich descriptions and sensory details to bring the ethical environment to life.
  • Craft an engaging plot that explores the dynamics, conflicts, and relationships arising from moral dilemmas and choices, maintaining reader interest and building tension throughout the story.
  • Use authentic language and dialogue that reflects the diverse moral beliefs, values, and customs of the society, while remaining accessible to modern readers.
  • Incorporate themes and issues relevant to morality, such as personal responsibility, integrity, sacrifice, and ethical dilemmas, to add depth and complexity to the story.
  • Balance character-driven and plot-driven elements, ensuring that both the individual journeys of the characters and the overarching moral challenges are integral to the narrative.
  • Employ a variety of narrative techniques, such as multiple perspectives or an omniscient narrator, to provide a comprehensive and nuanced portrayal of the characters' struggles and triumphs related to morality.

Writing a morality-based story can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for both the writer and the reader. By focusing on the inner struggle of morality, you can create a compelling story that delves into the depths of the human experience. This can inspire readers to reflect on their own values and the complexities of ethical decision-making.



  1. Coyne, Shawn. 2015. The Story Grid. New York, NY: Black Irish Entertainment.