A truly broken story is one where the pieces of the story don’t come together in a coherent whole. Maybe the plot wanders and feels random, or maybe the characters seem more like puppets than real people. Or maybe one of a bajillion other reasons.
When that happens, we might wonder if the story is irrevocably broken or if it could be saved. And if saving it is possible, how would we do it?
As a long-time developmental editor (and before that, beta reader), I’ve yet to see a story that couldn’t be saved with the right amount of work. Some stories might take a heck of a lot of work to fix—ripping out subplots, reworking the conflicts, rewriting from a different point-of-view, etc.
But if we’re willing to put in the work, virtually any story can be saved. Then question then is: What steps should we take to fix a broken story?