Bonnie J Davies
WI-RC Prompt 4: Character Compass
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Just say, TADA!
In this post, I'm diagnosing a character in the book I'm reading using diyMFA's Character Compass tool. The four elements are Thoughts, Actions, Dialogue, and Appearance, or the acronym TADA.
The task is to examine a scene in the book and explore how the author is breathing life into the character and moving the story forward using the Character Compass diagram.
Here is my diagram for the first scene in The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. It's my first kick at the can with this tool, and I'm still working on my skills with this chart.
My take using the TADA method:
The author does an excellent job of expressing Emily's trepidation through her internal monologue and describing her first thoughts of Mullaby. Specifically, the quiet of the street makes her head "feel light" and gives her a sense of "otherworldliness." It's unlike the noise from her previous neighbourhood, and even before we know where that is, I know it's an urban area.
The action is mostly limited to her walking from the taxi to her grandfather's house, but it highlights aspects of her appearance, like tucking hair back into "her short ponytail" and "dragging" her bags along the way. Most notable was the way she fumbled with her charm bracelet to calm her nervousness. It's obvious this is something that she did often when feeling anxious.
Though Emily's dialogue in this scene is limited to one line, it packs a punch. She has just arrived and asks the taxi driver, "This is it?" It's a short line, but it says so much. The reader doesn't know what Emily is seeing, yet they know it's not what she expected. Three words and I already have a window into Emily's personality.
The scene is short, but the author has revealed quite a bit about the main character. Kudos for the enjoyable introduction.
Coming Up Next: Prompt 5: Inciting Incident