This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Cart 0

Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping You are $150 away from free shipping.
No more products available for purchase

Pair with
Is this a gift?

TIFF Members please make sure to use your year-round discount code at checkout to receive your discount.

TIFF prefers Visa

Subtotal Free
View cart
Shipping, taxes, and discount codes are calculated at checkout

The Compass of Character: Creating Complex Motivation for Compelling Characters in Fiction, Film, and TV

Item is in stock Hurry, Only 1 Left! Item is out of stock Item is unavailable

Motivating characters in fiction works similarly to a compass providing direction for explorers. In terms of character motivation, there are four factors to consider: Lack, Yearning, Resistance, and Desire. Using The Compass of Character, you'll be taught how to deeply consider the key question of "What does my character want?" and how to answer that question by creating realistic, empathetic characters without falling into formulaic, unsatisfying results that only diminish the character. With David Corbett's guidance, writers can build characters with motivations that range from clear to complex.

   • human yearning
   • pathological maneuvers
   • the pain of life vs. the promise of life
   • backstory and behavior
   • mechanics of growth and transformation
   • dramatizing mistaken desire and misbegotten yearnings
   • moral arguments

In order to make fascinating characters, it is necessary to show subtle inner states within straightforward external circumstances, which requires a fundamental understanding of how complex motivation manifests itself in behavior, where complex motives collide with messy, indifferent surroundings. Compass of Character offers both instruction and inspiration to help writers reach that goal.

  • Publisher ‏: ‎ Writer's Digest Books (Nov. 19 2019)
  • Language ‏: ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏: ‎ 288 pages
  • Item weight ‏: ‎ 335 g
  • Dimensions ‏: ‎ 13.89 x 1.85 x 21.31 cm

[{"variant_id":"48965759172922" , "metafield_value":""}]

The Compass of Character: Creating Complex Motivation for Compelling Characters in Fiction, Film, and TV


How much is shipping?

When checking out online you will be presented various shipping options with the exact shipping charge for each option, which is automatically calculated based on your shipping address.

Do you offer exchanges?

In the case of an exchange of an online order, the customer is responsible for all shipping charges from and to the customer's location. Please contact prior to sending back any products.

What is your return policy?

All online orders are FINAL SALE. We offer an exchange-only policy for all non-sale, undamaged and unused goods within 14 days of purchase with the original receipt. See full policy here.

Do you offer any discounts?

Members receive 15% online and in-person at the TIFF Shop and up to 30% off on Member Shopping Days.

Shipping Info


From Toronto directly to your door. We ship across Canada and around the world. 


We process each order by hand. Please allow for a slight delay in order fulfillment. 

International Orders

International customers are responsible for any custom charges, duties, or taxes charged to them by their country.

About us

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film.

Every purchase you make directly supports TIFF and helps us create a more informed and connected world through the power of film.

We’re dedicated to presenting the best of international and Canadian cinema and creating transformational experiences for film lovers and creators of all ages and backgrounds.