The Power of Broken Characters

 Before I begin, I have to say I have a love affair with the word broken. I think it is one of the most beautiful and powerful words in the English language. So when I write stories, my first step is to always, ALWAYS, find the broken in the character and that's when I fall in love with them.
Daily dose of love quotes here  Give this quote with a glow stick to someone in a rough time.


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.


Ladies, are you feeling broken? Cling to Him. Your brokenness is not wasted time. God is creating a beautiful masterpiece. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18 ❤ #overcomeroutreach
In every story I've ever written, and in every story I've ever loved, there is one universal theme. You don't have to be perfect in order to be of worth.

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.


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.

the great gatsby #quote
F.S. Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby
However, and I hope I can say this clearly. I do not believe or like miracle cures. (realizes I wrote a book about a miracle cure, still continues on this train of thought.) Or I guess, more correctly, I do not believe that a miracle cure is necessary in order to have a HEA.  I don't particularly love stories where the message is, "Hey look, I lost everything that's wrong with me, and now I'm boring, and boring = happy." I'd much rather read stories where the character grows and accepts their weaknesses or flaws, or finds ways to turn them into strengths, for example, "Hey, I just learned how to punch with my nub arm."

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...
It may be sad, but this is my favorite quote. So truthful and describes me perfectly and strangely, Im Ok with that. Check out the website to see more
Write on, humans.


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