THE LOGIC OF BROKEN
Think about this with me just on a storytelling basis. Forget any connotations you may have with the word, and let's focus simply on methods of telling a story.
Think world building. I learned this from Karen. If you'd like a story to end with a happy ever after, and you want your character to go through a journey, then at the start of the story something in the landscape of the story needs to be wrong. There should be a problem that needs correcting. This could be a villain, a hunger, danger, boredom, whatever.
It's called the conflict, obviously, and it's the heart of storytelling. Without conflict, there is no story.
I think that without brokenness, there is no character.
For exactly the same reason. The inner landscape of the character needs to have something missing. Or some obstical standing in the way of happiness; a need to be fulfilled, a heartbreak that needs comforting, or a loss that can be filled. That need is what drives a character's motivation, and also is the power in a love story.
What makes a character broken, is what makes a story powerful. Their brokenness is their greatest strength.
Through their journey in the exterior landscape of the plot, their interior journey through their brokenness is what will connect the reader to the character. It is what makes us care. And brokenness can't always be solved. But learning to deal with grief, and loss, and depression, and those twisted parts of us that aren't always pretty, is what stories have always been about. It's the reason we have stories. It's the reason stories matter. Finding a way to cope with brokenness, or finding a way out of brokenness is a story. No, it's every story.
THE THEME OF BROKEN
That is the message I need to hear a thousand times, and that is the message I will never stop saying.
To paraphrase Meryl Streep, "That thing you like the least about yourself is probably your greatest strength." There is nothing, no trick or twist, or author voice, that I love more, then when an author uses a character's weakness to save the day.
Perfect is boring. Normal is a word used to silence and to snuff out awesomeness. Whole is a mask.
Broken... now broken is real. It's universal. It's truth.
Broken is beautiful.
THE COST OF BROKEN
Poor characters. We beat them up so much and then they have to keep moving the plot forward. A broken character still needs to be active. They still need to participate in the plot, but the power of a broken character is that they do big crazy broken things. And big crazy broken actions are 1. fun to write, 2. fascinating, and 3. shake up the plot.
|F.S. Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby|
But when the brokenness is a result of broken people damaging a character, then I adore this message. ---->
Tell me this message again and again.
A final though by someone not me...
Write on, humans.