Seared with Scars: Kahlil Gibran [Motivation Monday]


April 15, 2013 by Nichole Eck

There are several reasons to write characters with substantial, heartbreaking flaws. I’ll discuss a few more in another post soon, but I think one reason is worth highlighting especially.

Massive, flawed characters are mirrors that move readers.

I love the phrase “massive characters.” Massive as in substantial, possibly dense, large enough to influence and change their surroundings with a gravity-like pull.

Flawed characters have the ability to really connect with readers and move them.

We all know what perfection is. We are spoon-fed it through the media every day of our lives. And we all know that we do not match up to perfection, that we are cracked and mortared together with weaknesses, failings, sins, ways in which we fall short.

Trust me, we know.

So we don’t want to read about flawless characters whose lives are great, who are capable and confident all the time, whose pasts are shiningly pure.

We don’t care about them. Watching perfect people live perfect lives does not help us live our own human ones.

We want to read about characters who are broken in the same way we are, who are hurting in the same way we are.

And we want to know that they managed to pull through and become all the better for it.

Because then so can we.


11 thoughts on “Seared with Scars: Kahlil Gibran [Motivation Monday]

  1. I so agree with this!!! I can often be found reading the darkest books in the romance or fantasy genre, why? Because their lives are not all sunshine and roses. Bad things have happened, and yet, despite all their setbacks they have managed to find a way to make something of their life, move their life forward… To me there is nothing better, or more encouraging than that. Whether it is real life, or something an author created, it moves you.

  2. hopecook says:

    Completely agree! That’s one of the many reasons that I so fiercely love Joss Whedon’s characters (not literary, I know, but an amazing character is an amazing character!) When people try and screw up and get dark…it’s so compelling! I think it’s what we need as readers.

    • Nichole Eck says:

      I love Joss Whedon’s characters!! Particularly Firefly. In fact, I plan on referencing Firefly as a good example to follow in at least one upcoming post. Writers can learn a lot from screenwriters and films.

      And I think “compelling” is the perfect word to use with his characters. Well said!

      Glad to have met another “Whedonite”; I hope you enjoy the blog!

      • hopecook says:

        Very happy to have found your blog! And I totally agree about the value of TV and films to authors. You can learn so much about pacing and character interaction!

      • I too love the ones in Firefly, they hold such a strength even in their weaknesses!!!

        I have actually learned how to “outline” from looking into screenwriting. Well, at least that is what I call my little mini “titles” that shape my story and give it a semblance of structure.

      • Nichole Eck says:

        Whiteravensoars, your outlining method is intriguing. This conversation is making me want to rewatch Firefly with an eye specifically to the writing!

  3. Maddie Cromar says:

    I agree with this.

  4. L. Marie says:

    “Seared with scars.” I love that!! No Mary Sues, please. Great post.

  5. I agree too. The flawed characters are the most interesting to write about too. A nice surprise to see a quote from Kahlil Gibran.. I quoted him just recently in one of my posts as well.

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