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RS232 Serial Communication Reading question

Hi guys!

For the first time, I'm programming an application that interfaces with serial ports, specifically the RS232. At first, I programmed a non-overlapped sender program that sends the following to the COM port:

signal - meaning
u - up
l - left
d - down
r - right
ts - rshift
sv - rctrl

Using hyperterminal, these symbols are sent out fine. However, when I programmed the receiver program. I get erroneous results. Like getting multiple l's or d's inside the buffer. I experimented a bit on changing the buffer sizes. Does WriteFile only send one character at a time? Won't the "ts" and "sv" symbols be sent as one?

Any techniques on how to received symbols whether it's just one character or a full string?

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