Just as a compass provides direction for an explorer, so does motivation provide direction for characters in fiction. The "compass" of character motivation is composed of four points: Lack, Yearning, Resistance, and Desire. In The Compass of Character you'll learn to deeply consider the key question "What does my character want?" and learn techniques to answer that question by writing realistic and empathetic characters without falling into formulaic, unsatisfying results that only diminish the character. Bestselling author and acclaimed writing instructor David Corbett provides writers with the essentials for building characters with motivations that range from clear to complex by exploring topics such as:
the pain of life vs. the promise of life
backstory and behavior
mechanics of growth and transformation
dramatizing mistaken desire and misbegotten yearnings
The key to fascinating characters is rendering subtle inner states in straightforward external circumstances, which requires a fundamental understanding of the simple building blocks of complex motivation as they manifest themselves in behavior, where complexity of purpose collides with the messy, indifferent world. The Compass of Character is the one book that can guide writers to that end with both instruction and inspiration.