clay people


I thought I fill up some white space with a little bit on creating characters.

I love to create characters. They seldom appear within pages unless I know them very well.

I keep notes and files on physical, mental and spiritual aspects of my protagonists and antagonists.

I know what they like to eat. What they will put on when it is raining outside. I know their favorite books and phrases.  I also know their deepest want and what they will simply never do.

I keep my back stories in these files.

empty avatar in yellow shirt with brown hairMany of the things in my character files do not appear in my books or short stories but I know them just the same.  These things help change a sketch, a stick person or an avatar into a full-bodied character worthy of my reader’s care.

“The character must be produced on the page, whole and alive, his breath congealing on the air. It is not not necessary that we know instantly what he is, for it is the process of learning about him that interests us. As in the representation of any living reality, characterization is rooted in the detail. It is the trifles and what they imply or reveal that create the living entity.”

Oakley Hall – The Art and Craft of Novel Writing

How to Use Setting to Challenge Your Characters (& Make a Better Story) is an excellent article about Character.

I have uploaded a few of my character work-sheets on the Forum. You can upload them.  Please use them if you wish but please don’t share them.

The post is in the General Discussion area in a thread called Character Building.





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Recap of Sunday’s Topic & Introducing Loren Rhoads

On Sunday we looked head on into the eyes of horror and survived.

tell tale heartSome things to keep in mind if we are going to write horror include what makes a good horror story and things a writer can learn by observing someone else’s horror story.

  • Good Horror means a Good Setting
  • Don’t go overboard on Scares
  • Use Source Material to Find True Horror (Sometimes the scariest things in life are real)
  • Know the Strengths of your Character
  • Create Underlying Themes in your Horror Story
  • Remember to Sustain your Tension

There are Five Elements of a Good Horror Story.

  1. Fear
  2. Surprise
  3. Suspense
  4. Mystery
  5. Spoilers

Note – You can download my notes from tonight by logging into the Forum at Once logged in – look for tonight’s horror topic, open the post and click on the file attachment at the end of the post.

Coming to Celebrity Sunday on 8 October

cover art 199 cemeteriesLoren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.  She blogs at and writes about cemeteries for the Horror Writers Association.  In her secret life, she writes fiction about space ships, succubi, and witches.  This year her short stories have appeared in Best New Horror #27 and the Strange California anthology.

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We are Here

We have moved our site back to the old digs at The Writer’s Chatroom..

Map Pin with ShadowYou are Here

There is nothing to worry about, all roads lead to here.  Your browsers may automatically change your bookmarks.

The Chat window works the same as it always did and if you are using a tablet or for some bizarre reason, a cell phone, the chatroom will work if you tell your device to ‘show the desktop site.’ This is a discovery it took me years to find.

We are booked all the way to November 5th.  Having Guests here is what drew me to the chatroom so many years ago. I hope it will bring some of our old friends as well as new.

I have worked hard at keeping the calendar page up-to-date and viewers can subscribe to it by clicking on the rss icon in the lower right corner.  I’ve subscribed using my google calendar and it worked first try.  Any update I make will automatically update on your chosen calendar software when you are online with your computer.  Essentially, you can know when I know.

Check your Newsletter for more news.

haunted house on the hillSunday October 1st begins Horror Month. The topic will be the History of Horror and tips on the genre. Give us two hours on a Sunday and we will change your writerly week.


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