Characters & Scenes

Characters and Scenes

The Blank Story Board Worksheet and Character Worksheets should work if you have Word installed on your computer. Always run your files through a virus scan. 

The Character Worksheets are lists of character attributes the Character I have provided them as Word Document Downloads.

I took a lot of information from The Weekend Novelist for this post.

The Weekend Novelist by Robert J Ray 

You may want to take some of the characters we have encountered in our Parking Lot exercises and refine the characters. Then when you are ready, go ahead and plop them into a scene.

What is in a Scene?

A scene is a container. Your container needs boundaries, a place in time and space. It also needs some kind of action or re-action. Your scenes hold your chapters together and your chapters hold your novel together. 

I like to keep scene sketches. Just basic things, like who the scene belongs to, who else is there, what is happening in the setting and how am I going to end it.

John Everson is Returning to Celebrity Sunday

John Everson is returning this Sunday to The Writers Chat Room.

The 10th novel by John Everson is now available! 

What if you decided to “haunt” a haunted house?

Rumor has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumors down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfill. Because while the witch may have been dead… she doesn’t intend to stay that way.

Read more about The House By The Cemetery.

Contact or stalk John here –

John Everson: Dark Arts at

Facebook at

Twitter at

Celebrity Sunday Presents Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Tamara Thorne is the author of many novels including international bestsellers, Haunted, Moonfall, Bad Things, and The Sorority. She’s been interested in ghost stories all her life and has been published since 1991.

Alistair Cross shares the love of ghosts and horror and is the author of the bestsellers, The Crimson Corset, The Angel Alejandro, and Sleep, Savannah, Sleep. Together, they have penned several novels, including The Cliffhouse Haunting, Mother, Darling Girls, and the ongoing Ravencrest Saga. In 2014, their horror-themed internet radio show,

Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, debuted to great acclaim as part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network and has since featured such guests as Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, and Preston & Child. Thorne and Cross are currently working on their next projects, which are slated for release throughout 2018 and 2019.

Parking Lot Observations II

From the previous exercise –
Grab your phone, tablet, keyboard or pen and paper.

Imagine you are waiting in a parking lot. People are walking in front of you on the way into the store. The wind is kicking up and leaves, plastic bags and other trash is skittering around the edges of the lot. With each gust of wind you see the people moving faster. A woman in a blazer and skirt hurriedly scoops a chunk of hair behind her ear. A man in basketball shorts and a torn green hoodie stops the door and lets blazer woman in ahead of him. A woman with two kids come out of the store with a cart heavy with soft drinks and paper products. A pebble jams her front wheel.

Now, imagine your super-power is character building.

Shopping Cart Silhouette

Pluck Green Hoodie guy up by the scruff and place him on your keyboard.

How old is he? Is he wearing a baseball cap? Is the bill dulled by smudge marks? He probably works with his hands. Does he have work shoes on? Does he look you in the eye? How do you think he got that tear on his hoodie? What was he doing when that happened? He seemed to stop the door for the Blazer Lady, does this tell us anything about his back story?

When you are done taking notes on Green Hoodie Guy see if you can catch up to Blazer Lady.

She was in a hurry, you could tell by watching her. Is she late for work? Is she annoyed that you yanked her out of the office products? Does she compose herself quickly after seeing how big you are? Who scares her? When she turns the key in her car does she say a quick prayer?

Give some of your parking lot characters a back story. They don’t have to be related in anyway except by chance. Or perhaps the woman with the children is the wife of Blazer Lady’s boyfriend and she rushed into the store to avoid them.

Add to the thread on the Forum and Bring Your Own Topic to chat tonight.

Next week Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne are returning Celebrity Guests helping us celebrate Horror Month.

Parking Lot Observations

Grab your phone, tablet, keyboard or pen and paper.

Shopping Cart Silhouette
Parking Lot Observations

Imagine you are waiting in a parking lot. People are walking in front of you on the way into the store. The wind is kicking up and leaves, plastic bags and other trash is skittering around the edges of the lot. With each gust of wind you see the people moving faster. A woman in a blazer and skirt hurriedly scoops a chunk of hair behind her ear. A man in basketball shorts and a torn green hoodie stops the door and lets blazer woman in ahead of him. A woman with two kids come out of the store with a cart heavy with soft drinks and paper products. A pebble jams her front wheel.

Who are these random people? Who do they love? What are their houses like? How many of them have a list? Are they running late or are they just cold, caught in an abrupt weather change? 

Now, what if instead of holding the door, green hoodie guy pulls out a knife and jabs it up under blazer lady’s ribs? What if one of those little kids makes a run for it while the woman is unjamming the cart wheel?

What if suddenly the sky opens up and a spectacular number of dragons swoop down and land on the store roof?

What if the person you are waiting for is robbing the store and you are the get-away driver? 

What if you have just learned something you’ve worked and wished toward is supposed to come true and you’ve been told to wait where you are?
The people you’ve pretended to see are story starters and the what ifs are story changers.

Viewing as a neutral observer is much different than viewing as a participant. The perfect What If can make a story.

Make up your own people in a parking lot with your own weather and your own back stories.

Consider posting your work on our Forum. in the Parking Lot Observations area. You will have to login or register before participating in our Forum.

Quarterly Critique Chat

Would you like a critique from the entire chatroom? Then read and follow the guidelines EXACTLY. Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will be rejected.


Email 200-300 words from your work. Paste your submission into the email, do not send an attachment. Do not hit reply!

Use the subject line “Submission: Labor Day Critique“.

Copy this list and put it at the beginning of the email, with your answers:

  • Genre: 
  • Format: (short story, novel, etc): 
  • Section: (beginning, middle or end of piece)
  • Name you intend to publish under: 
  • Name you use in the chatroom: ​​​​​​​ 

You can add one or two sentences to set the scene, if needed. But no more than two sentences. 

Submissions must be received by 3 pm ET on Sunday, 09/02/2018, to be eligible for chat.


Submissions that follow the guidelines will be used in the order they are received. I don’t know how many we will get through, but the queue starts when the first correct submission is received.

I strongly suggest you submit polished work. Most of our chatters are aiming for publication. To get there, you have to be able to handle honest critiques. I will not allow personal attacks, but problems in the writing will be openly discussed.

If you are not in attendance, your submission will be skipped. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to critique something if the author isn’t there to hear it.

Fiction, nonfiction, essay, query letter…it doesn’t matter. I recommend trying to get an entire scene into 300 words. Full scenes get better critiques.

Why only 300 words? More than that will scroll off the screen too quickly. People need to be able to read it, to give a good crit.

Please be on time for this chat. Crosstalk, including greetings, will be kept to a bare minimum. Make sure you have floated and enlarged your screen in chat, so you can keep up. Here we go…let’s see how many of you have learned to write well and follow submission guidelines. First submission up for crits is…  

August is Humor Month!

We are talking Humor all month long. When you drill down on humor as a writer’s tool things tend toward serious things right away. 

Tim Jackson put it in a nutshell when he wrote, “So let me, first off, provide my wholly unscientific theory of being funny: Some people are funny. Some people are not. Pretty simple, really.” 

Tonight’s topic is about how to write a Humor Essay. It seems many of the How-To articles I am tracking down are written for school aged people. I’ll be adding Bonus Links after the main feature.

How to Write a Humor Essay

A good humor essay will have your reader in stitches.

When it comes to telling jokes, it’s often said that it’s all in the delivery. By writing a humor essay, you can get around that one hurdle, but there are others to avoid. A successful humor essay will entertain readers as much as a successful comedian will entertain audiences.

  • Pick a topic that is easily accessible
  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Tell a Story
  • Contrast Funny with Sad and Mundane

The Following are Bonus Links, a few are Contenders for another Topic Chat.

Laughing Through Life: Humor in Autobiographical Writing

Humor Writing: 15 Markets That Pay You to Make People Laugh

Honest Writing Is Funny Writing

Memoirist Sean Wilsey says he knows he’s finished with a story when it makes him laugh.

Celebrity Sunday Welcomes Dawné Dominique

Dawné is a writer and an artist. 

As D. Thomas Jerlo, our guest has a number of books. 

D. Thomas Jerlo’s novels inexplicably draw readers deep into mystical worlds where magic rules and battles between good and evil are forever constant. Blending reality with illusion, readers are riveted to the spellbinding plots and unforgettable characters.

As a best-selling and award nominated author of fantasy and paranormal, D. Thomas Jerlo’s novels hook unsuspecting readers into worlds of mage’ic and refuses to let them go until that last page is read.

Although published in the United States, D. Thomas Jerlo is a Canadian author through and through. 

She is also the owner of DusktilDawn Designs.  

“Everything in life happens for a reason, be it good or bad, and 
it’s because of this we learn to never take anything for granted.”

Blog or Website

Blog or Website

July is Website/Blog Building Month

Let’s start off with a Topic Chat about the difference between a blog and a website.

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Website?

The difference, it turns out, may be only in our minds.  To begin our July Theme we will look at Blog/Website Building in Geek Speak and Plain English so we have a better understanding about what we are planning and why.

Trish Jones says it well in her article about Blogs vs Websites–

For those of you who may not know what a blog is, it’s short for web log, and is a frequently updated website consisting of blog posts, or entries (more often than not, dated entries) that are arranged in reverse chronological order. So when a reader comes to your site, they see your most recent article (often called posts), first.

Trish Jones 


Future Topics