How To World And Character Build in a Horror Novel Series by Charles F. French

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I had a wonderful time participating in the HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference 2020. The hosts were friendly and extremely helpful. The information given out by many presenters is useful for writers who are not horror writers as well as those who are. If you have a chance, you can still stop by their excellent site: HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference
Here is part one of my presentation:
How To World and Character Build in a Horror Novel Series
by
Charles F. French
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Part One

 

Character Biography Sheet

The following worksheet is a sample of the kind of biography sheet that I use when writing. I have formed this based on biography sheets I used both as an actor and director, and I find them to be extremely useful in writing fiction. I do not suggest that I have asked all the questions that another writer might of her/his characters, but I hope this sheet is a good way to begin. Feel free to copy it and use it as you will. I find it is most effective when I include as much detail as I can about my characters. Also, please understand that it is unlikely that you will use all of these details in your writing, but knowing these minute parts of your characters will help you both to bring them to life and to bridge their existence over several books.

Physical Characteristics:
 

Height –
Weight –
Body type –
Hair color –
Hair length –
Hair style –
Eye color –
Scars or birthmarks –
tattoos and piercings –

limps or other physical issues –
Family:
 

Mother –
Father –
Siblings –
Cousins –
Emotional relationship with any of them –

Foods:
 

Is the character a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, or other special kind of consumer of foods?
Breakfast:
Eggs – how do they eat them? what style?
Breakfast potatoes – homefries, hashbrowns?
Breakfast meat? what kind?
Toast? what kind of bread?
Bagels? what kind, with toppings?
Fruit? what kind?
Pancakes?
Waffles?
French toast?
What kind of syrup?
Cereal? what kind?
Oatmeal? with what on it?
Cream of wheat?
Other breakfast choices?
Lunch:
Soup? What kind?
Sandwich? What kind? What bread?
Salad? what kind? what kind of dressing?
Pasta dish? what kind?
Fruits? What kind?
Dinner:
Any particular type of food that is a favorite?
What main dishes?
What side dishes?
What salads?
Desserts:
Cakes? What kind –
Pies? What kind –
Ice Cream? what kind and how?
Other baked goods? what kind –
Indulgences:
Candy? What kind?
Cookies? What kind?
Other?
Alcohol:
Beer? What kind –
Wine? What kind –
Whiskey? What kind –
Mixed drinks? What kind –
Coffee or Tea
Coffee? How? black, cream, sugar –
Tea: Caffeine, decaf, herbal, cream, sugar, honey –
Other beverages:
Soda? What kind?
Iced Tea?

Sparkling Water?
Clothing:
 

What do they wear to work?
What do they like to wear at home to relax?
Are they formal or informal dressers?
What kind of shoes do they like to wear?
What kind of coats do they wear in bad weather?

What do they like to wear on vacation?
Entertainment:
 
Books:
 

Do they like to read? What kind of books –
Print or ebook?
Read for work or pleasure?
Favorite authors?
Fiction or nonfiction?
Poetry?
Biography/Memoirs?
Magazines? Which ones –

Television:
 

Series?
Comedy?
Drama?
Horror?
RomCom?
Occasional viewer, faithful viewer, or binge viewer?
Prefer traditional cable or streaming services?
Film:
Comedy?
Drama?
Horror?
RomCom?
Suspence?

Life History:
 
Education:
 

Level of highest education?
What was studied?
Did the character enjoy school or not?

Sexual Orientation:
Straight, gay, bi, trans, other?
Romance History:
 

First love –
Ever Married?
Divorced?
In love now?

Children:
 
How many?
Grandchildren:
 

How many?

Other relatives:
 
Who?
If any of you find this useful, please feel free to use it as you will.

Books That Have Influenced Me: Part Two

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(Just A Girl And Her Camera)

 

Among the many books that I have enjoyed or have had a large influence on my life are some that I discovered when I was young.  One of the most important such works is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings. This magnificent work, which is one novel, divided into three books: The Fellowship Of The Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return Of The King, is not only the most important work of modern fantasy, but it is also the contemporary work of British mythology. It is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the most important novels of the 20th Century.

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(https://pixabay.com/)

Released in 3 parts from 1954 to 1955, this work has not only become an extraordinary bestseller, but also it influenced story-telling, writing, and movie making continually to the present day.

I was a young teenager when I read the book, deep in the heart of the Vietnam War era, in a time when everything was being questioned, and corruption was rampant in our society.  Actually, it has not seemed to change all that much, with the exception of the myriad of good and decent people who are trying to make positive contributions to our world.  This book captured my heart and mind immediately, and I have reread the entire book about once every ten years or so. I am due for another rereading soon.

Tolkien was a deeply important linguist, and he developed a new language—Elvish, complete with syntax, vocabulary, and an alphabet.  This work and his academic work would have made him one of the preeminent thinkers of the 20th Century. His writing of this novel puts him in the upper echelon of writers.

Almost any theme that can be considered is included in this work: life and death, good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, the consequences of the industrial age on an agrarian culture, the place of war, the importance of ordinary people as well as leaders, the hero and the quest, and the workings of the human heart are just a few that could be mentioned.  I have been concerned my entire life with the issue of good and evil and when evil must be confronted.  Tolkien, who fought in World War I and saw the horror of World War Two, examines this issue in depth.  For a world that experienced the twin terrors of those wars, Tolkien’s book becomes a place to examine how such fighting impacts people.

No matter how many times, I read this magnificent work, I never cease to be astounded by it. It is not a book intended for children, as The Hobbit is, as some have mistakenly thought. It is a work for adults and through the lens of fantasy, deals with extremely important human issues.

I am also pleased to say that I will be teaching The Lord Of The Rings in my course: Epics of Humanity at the Wescoe School–the adult evening college– of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA this coming fall semester.

I know I will read The Lord Of The Rings throughout the rest of my life.

In my next installment, I will discuss a particular play that has had huge impact on me.