Roots are a good place to start when writing a story. It looks back to the past and the sprouts that came with it as it matured to either a withered, gnarled sinew that was once a tree or to something like Shel Silverstein wrote about.
Tracing that root is crucial. For some writers, it was addiction, depression, war, curiousity, anger, fear and to swaggerjack Vonnegut, "so it goes." I think one good thing to have as roots should be a moral idea or vice versa.
Just picture an idea planted in moral values or dilemmas. But that doesn't mean the story should be that of good triumphs over evil but the main fact that a moral code exists. Yes, there are a lot of things to judge in a moral perspective: the police officer who deliberately takes his mind off paying fare on public transpo, wearing a badge on his chest or that young woman looking all professional with her fitted skirt and clean top knot who prefers to remain sitted after seeing a pregnant woman holding her elder child up on one hand, she just keeps on tinkering with her iPhone.
To come from such moral vantage point would be to have character but it still does not translate to a clear template. I should not be judgmental to be moral but who shall judge these people? Let's decide it with a coin toss, or a trip to Dresden, or a long sermon on what happens to simple bad persons. The perspective is different and maybe, the lines shall never meet at a common point but somethings have to start somewhere. But wouldn't it be interesting to see more of a villain with a moral code he so personally conducts upon himself and others. Or a hero with such a difficult moral crisis that you wonder if it is at all possible for her to get out in time.
I can't think of things to say in this post. Things are just getting scrambled. Parting shot: we are all sphincters, one time or another. We can live as we wish but that does not mean we cannot be kept in our own codes.