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The movie mogul, Sam Goldwyn once told screenwriters, “if you want to send a message, use Western Union.”

Do stories need a moral, message?

Hemingway explored the effects of war in the Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and  For Whom the Bell Tolls– his best work in my opinion.

I realize that much of my work revolves around people’s ability to deny reality.  That one issue has shaped a lot of my education, my experiences and my writing.

In a way, a moral can also be written as a question:  in Hemingway’s case, what is the effect of war on men and women? and in my case, ” Why and how do people shut their eyes to something they do not want to see?”

These questions can literally unify a story or novel.  If strong enough, they provide a structure for a story.  And a reader finds it satisfying to have a moral universe created, rather than a random one.

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