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  1. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    In-depth Character Sheet

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sir Ender, Jan 2, 2008.

    This is basically a longer in-depth fill-in-the-blank character development guide. I use it once in a while if I'm writing about one specific character, or one character really stands out more than the rest.


    FULL NAME:
    MEANING:
    NICKNAME:
    MEANING:
    AGE APPEARANCE:
    BIRTHDAY:
    ASTROLOGICAL SIGN:
    SPECIES:
    GENDER:
    ALLERGIES:
    SEXUAL PREFERANCE:
    THEME SONG(S):

    APPEARANCE

    HAIR COLOR:
    HAIR STYLE AND LENGTH:
    EYES COLOR:
    EYESIGHT:
    HEIGHT:
    WEIGHT:
    OUTFIT/CLOTHING STYLE:
    ABNORMALITIES(TAIL):
    DISTINGUISHING MARKS(SCARS,MOLES):
    SELF CARE(MAKE UP):
    FIRST IMPRESSION ON PEOPLE:
    SKIN COLOR:
    BODY TYPE/BUILD:
    DEFAULT EXPRESSION:
    POSTURE:
    MEASUREMENTS(FEMALE ONLY):
    PIERCINGS:
    DESCRIBE THEIR VOICE:

    RELATIONSHIPS

    MOM:
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG:
    DAD:
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG:
    SIBLINGS:
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG:
    CHILDREN:
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG:
    OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS:
    PAST LOVER(S):
    CURRENT LOVER:
    REACTION TO MEETING SOMEONE NEW:
    ABILITY TO WORK WITH OTHERS:
    HOW SOCIABLE(LONER,ETC):
    FRIENDS:
    PETS:
    LEAST FAVORITE TYPE OF PERSON:
    PARENTAL TYPE(PROTECTIVE,ETC):
    AFFINITY WITH...:
    FAVORITE PEOPLE:
    LEAST FAVORITE PEOPLE:

    PERSONALITY

    ..WHEN YOU FIRST MEET THEM:
    ..AS YOU KNOW THEM BETTER(AND THEY LIKE YOU):
    ..AS YOU KNOW THEM BETTER(AND THEY DISLIKE YOU):
    FAVORITE COLOR:
    FAVORITE FOOD:
    FAVORITE ANIMAL:
    FAVORITE INSTRUMENT:
    FAVORITE ELEMENT:
    LEAST FAVORITE COLOR:
    LEAST FAVORITE FOOD:
    LEAST FAVORITE ANIMAL:
    LEAST FAVORITE INSTRUMENT:
    LEAST FAVORITE ELEMENT:
    HOBBIES:
    USUAL MOOD:
    DRINK/SMOKE/DRUGS:
    DARK VERSION OF SELF:
    LIGHT VERSION OF SELF:
    HOW SERIOUS ARE THEY:
    CLASS IN AN RPG:
    BELIEVE IN GHOSTS:
    (IN)DEPENDANT:
    SOFT SPOT/VULNERABILITY:
    OPINION ON SWEARING:
    DAREDEVIL VS CAUTIOUS:
    MUSIC TYPE:
    MOVIE TYPE:
    BOOK TYPE:
    GAME TYPE:
    COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE:
    SLEEPING PATTERN:
    CLEANLINESS/NEATNESS:
    DESIRED PET:
    HOW DO THEY PASS TIME:
    BIGGEST SECRET:
    HERO/WHO THEY LOOK UP TO:
    WHAT ANIMAL WOULD THEY BE:
    FEARS:
    COMFORTS:

    HOW DO THEY ACT WHEN THEY ARE...
    SAD:
    HAPPY:
    ANGRY:
    AFRAID:
    LOVE SOMEONE:
    HATE SOMEONE:
    WANT SOMETHING:
    CONFUSED:

    HOW DO THEY REACT TO...
    DANGER:
    SOMEONE THEY HATE WHO HAS A CRUSH ON THEM:
    PROPOSAL TO MARRY:
    DEATH OF LOVED ONE:
    DIFFICULT GAME/MATH/ETC:
    INJURY:
    SOMETHING IRRESISTABLY CUTE:
    LOSS OF HOURS OF WORK:

    HISTORY

    BIOGRAPHY:
    FIRST APPEARANCE:

    KNOWLEDGE

    LANGUAGES:
    SCHOOLING LEVEL:
    FAVORITE SUBJECT:
    INTERESTED CAREERS:
    EXPERTICE:
    PUZZLES:
    CHEMISTRY:
    MATH:
    ENGLISH:
    GEOGRAPHY:
    POLITICS/LAW:
    ECONOMY/ACCOUNTING:
    COOKING:
    SEWING:
    MECHANICS:
    BOTANY (FLOWERS):
    MYTHOLOGY:
    DRAMATICS(ACTING,SINGING):
    READING LEVEL:
    HOW GOOD ARE THEY AT PLANNING AHEAD:
    IMPULSIVE/STRATEGY:

    ROMANCE

    DO THEY TAKE INITIATIVE:
    HOW DO THEY ACT(SHY,ETC):
    GENTLEMAN/LADYLIKE VS KLUTZY:
    GO SLOW VS JUMP INTO:
    PROTECTIVE:
    ACT LIKE FRIENDS OR LOVERS:
    WHAT KIND OF PRESENTS DO THEY BUY:
    TYPE OF KISSER:
    DO THEY WANT KIDS:
    DO THEY WANT TO MARRY:
    MAKE GOOD OR BAD DECISIONS:
    ARE THEY ROMANTIC:
    HOW ARE THEY IN BED:
    GET JEALOUS EASY:
    WIFE/HUBBY BEATER:
    MARRY FOR MONEY:
    FAVORITE POSITION:
    WHAT WOULD HAPPEN ON THEIR DREAM DATE:
    OPINION ON SEX:
     
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  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Alright, by this point, why don't we just start up a giant topic for character sheets? ...>.<
     
  3. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    That would be easier to find them all xD
     
  4. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Mine is too long to fit in one post.
     
  5. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    O__o seriously? That would be per-etty long.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I personally don't believe in character sheets. I feel they lead to cookie-cutter characters, because the same criteria are used for every character, Also, they are somewhat inhibiting to character development, because you put too much emphasis on what a character is like at one moment of time.

    I prefer to treat a character like meeting a new acquaintance in real life. At first, you know very little about the person. If you met them in person, you would know height, weight, hair color, the big zit on the chin, and the sour breath. On the other hand, if you met them online, you might know a name, some interests, gender, and what part of the world they live in.

    What you know is determined by the circumstances you meet the person in. Even more, you discover the person a little at a time by watching them interact with people and deal with situations they are confronted with. They will not be completely consistent. If you catch them on a bad day they may seem crabby and impatient, or distracted and bored. The next day, you may see a completely different side of them.

    So I start with a handful of characteristics that are either important, or immediately obvious upon meeting the person. Then let them develop through interaction with the plot and the other characters.

    The result will be flexible, dynamic characters who seem as real and as quirky as the people you meet in real life. And you don't lock down your character from the outset with a whole slew of irrelevant details.
     
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  7. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    I only use character sheets as a basis for what the character is like at the beginning, or even before, a story takes place.

    Normally I wouldn't go into personality and that much detail, but it was a thought for people who do.

    Characters create themselves in my mind, and as I write I learn more about them and am able to expand what they're like.
     
  8. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    It runs about 12 pages of questions. I do lots of character work.
     
  9. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    For me it just doesn't work. I have to have a real feeling for the character. I've tried writing without the character work, and there were too many stalls, inconsistencies, and dead ends.

    My worksheet doesn't just focus on one moment of time, but looks at a character as a product of their life experiences. 90% or more of my character work never makes it into the book, but I need to know it to make my character pop off the page.

    Some things just don't work for everybody.
     
  10. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    Yeah, I can very well see that!

    Mine can vary from 6 lines long, to as long as what I posted above.
     
  11. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Mexico, you got a problem with that?
    I don't use character sheets either, but I think it's interesting to see what others use to create and define their characters. A topic for character sheets would be a good idea.
     
  12. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    I agree with seeing how others create their characters. I like seeing how people think differently than I do when I'm writing my stories.
     
  13. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I like Character sheets from other people because they make me think about things that wouldn't be in the story, but would shape a character's personality. And some things just give me ideas. Like Astrological signs, my fictional world needs them. And a person the character hates who has a crush on them sounds like something good to add to a story, especially if it's one of the villains with an "I'm deeply infatuated with you" crush instead of one of those cliched, femme fatale "I'm evil, and sexy, and I want you because you're good and corruptible" tropes.

    In fact, this one gets pretty indepth when it comes to things that don't change. One of my characters is fifty, his Hero isn't going to change.
     
  14. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    OFF TOPIC: My fiance and I recently spent an entire day creating a calendar and astrological system for the world in his fantasy novel. It was a lot of fun.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, really?

    That gave me a good chuckle.
     
  16. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am terrible for over creating characters. I'd rather create characters than write poetry and stories. But there isn't much in that really.
    I don't have a character sheet but I know my characters inside out before I begin writing most of the time...
     
  17. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Okay, I'm gonna be honest here: When writing for myself, I positively despise character sheets. They hamper my creativity and nail down my character to one specific way of being, as opposed to being people who can change or surprise you. Writing everything down like that? Aargh. It would drive me insane.
     
  18. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Then don't use them. Everyone's process is different.
     
  19. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Character sheets are great as a starting point- but really, you need to fill out two. One for when the novel starts, one for when it ends. If you don't, you haven't really made a character, you've made a machine. Characters develop. Machines, as complicated as they may well be, don't.
     
  20. Tori
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    Tori Member

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    I like to use character sheets as a starting point.

    Sometimes I think they're a bad thing (for me anyway) because they distract you from writing your story. Especially if you start to go into too much detail!
     
  21. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    Agreed!
     
  22. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Actually that is why mine is so long, it takes into account what the need is and how they change and grow through the process.
     
  23. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I look at the character work as just another part of writing the story. Just like an outline, or a timeline. It is a tool that makes the work easier for me. Once I get the character work done and the plot outline done, the actual writing goes much faster.
     
  24. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    I figured you'd say something like that

    Tyr's hero was Knight-Commander Archas Rainer, his mentor from the war, and a man who saved his life more than once and shaped who he is. That kind of thing isn't going to be overshadowed by a twenty year old, even if he manages to save the world. It'll get him respect, sure.

    Just curious, who is your hero, Cogito?
     
  25. Iulia
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    Iulia New Member

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    Tshana

    I agree that characters grow a lot. I don't like boxes that confine your space. I do, however, feel that character sheets are a good starting point. They help me to figure things out. Don't force yourself to answer a question because it's there. It you don't know, don't answer. Anyhow, I thought I'd fill this out for the main character of my newest story.


    FULL NAME: Tshana Noelle Valystaez

    MEANING: Noelle means "day of birth". Tshana I made up. Without the "T", however, it means "beautiful"

    AGE: 19
    BIRTHDAY: N/A
    ASTROLOGICAL SIGN: N/A
    SPECIES: Human
    GENDER: female
    ALLERGIES: this is a good question. I do not know yet, though.
    SEXUAL PREFERANCE: straight
    THEME SONG(S): N/A

    APPEARANCE

    HAIR COLOR: reddish brown
    HAIR STYLE AND LENGTH: about waist lenth. partly curly. she doesn't bother with it.
    EYES COLOR: dark green
    EYESIGHT: 20/20
    HEIGHT: 5'4"
    WEIGHT: 111
    OUTFIT/CLOTHING STYLE: Relaxed. she will wear dresses if she must but prefers something that allows her to move around comfortably.
    ABNORMALITIES(TAIL): N/A
    DISTINGUISHING MARKS(SCARS,MOLES): scar on her collar bone from being scratched by a tiger. Various scars and bruises simply from living.
    SELF CARE(MAKE UP): no make-up.
    FIRST IMPRESSION ON PEOPLE: Outgoing, savage, kind, pretty
    SKIN COLOR: medium fair
    BODY TYPE/BUILD: slim, not much of a bust or hips.
    DEFAULT EXPRESSION: ? a bit sarcastic, I suppose.
    POSTURE: not "exeptible for a lady" (Bringing on the quote which was quoted twice or even thrice: "Then I'll stay a mere girl forever")
    PIERCINGS: right eyebrow - an accidental piercing, and never decorated with jewelry



    RELATIONSHIPS

    MOM: Noelle Odetta Valystaez
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG: she died in childbirth
    DAD: Samuel Valystaez, a farmer
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG: well
    SIBLINGS: Calumina Gardener, 23, sister
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG: quite well, though they're quite different, they understand one another.
    CHILDREN: none
    HOW WELL DO THEY GET ALONG: N/A
    OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS:
    PAST LOVER(S): She's a virgin, and never took much of a romantic interest in boys as a young girl. Later she had crushes but was never in a relationship, if you will
    CURRENT LOVER: none at the beginning. we'll see how it goes.
    REACTION TO MEETING SOMEONE NEW: Usually either quite shy or very outgoing, depending on what they seem like to her.
    ABILITY TO WORK WITH OTHERS: Not well. Tshana is very independant.
    HOW SOCIABLE(LONER,ETC): fairly sociable
    FRIENDS: several throughout
    PETS: her cat, Roshe
    LEAST FAVORITE TYPE OF PERSON: girly or incompetant
    PARENTAL TYPE(PROTECTIVE,ETC): N/A
    AFFINITY WITH...: Everhart, Lockhart, Roswitha, Ilsa
    FAVORITE PEOPLE: Ilsa, her father
    LEAST FAVORITE PEOPLE: Johan, Mary

    PERSONALITY

    ..WHEN YOU FIRST MEET THEM: Her? I s'pose you might think she's a minx, in every way
    ..AS YOU KNOW THEM BETTER(AND THEY LIKE YOU): she becomes more kind and more relatable
    ..AS YOU KNOW THEM BETTER(AND THEY DISLIKE YOU): she becomes just plain mean. spiteful.
    FAVORITE COLOR: green and red
    FAVORITE FOOD: N/A
    FAVORITE ANIMAL: N/A
    FAVORITE INSTRUMENT: Guitar, or Lyre, or Saw
    FAVORITE ELEMENT: earth
    LEAST FAVORITE COLOR: pink
    LEAST FAVORITE FOOD: N/A
    LEAST FAVORITE ANIMAL: N/A
    LEAST FAVORITE INSTRUMENT: N/A
    LEAST FAVORITE ELEMENT: N/A
    HOBBIES: football (soccer), swimming, hiking, telling stories, playing the guitar
    USUAL MOOD: N/A
    DRINK/SMOKE/DRUGS: none
    DARK VERSION OF SELF: is sarcastic, easily annoyed, and ruthless. very spiteful and malicious, even slightly twisted
    LIGHT VERSION OF SELF: is kind, smart, forgiving
    HOW SERIOUS ARE THEY: not very!
    CLASS IN AN RPG: N/A
    BELIEVE IN GHOSTS: in a way. she has even seen one before, yet she sort of . . . denies it
    (IN)DEPENDANT: independant
    SOFT SPOT/VULNERABILITY: She's very competitive
    OPINION ON SWEARING: She swears occasionally, but does not approve of too much swearing, esspecially unnessesary swearing.
    DAREDEVIL VS CAUTIOUS: quite daring
    MUSIC TYPE: N/A
    MOVIE TYPE: no movies in my stories
    BOOK TYPE: thriller
    GAME TYPE: athletic
    COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE: she prefers warm weather
    SLEEPING PATTERN: she usually sleeps well, but has rediculous nightmares when she has a fever
    CLEANLINESS/NEATNESS: not very. she's not disgusting or anything, but she doesn't try very hard at neatness.
    DESIRED PET: N/A
    HOW DO THEY PASS TIME: playing various games with herself and others; farming or hobbies.
    BIGGEST SECRET: she usually keeps her mother's death to herself - she takes no pleasure in pity
    HERO/WHO THEY LOOK UP TO: she looks up to her sister Calumina, but does not desire to be like her. She looks up to her father in the same way.
    WHAT ANIMAL WOULD THEY BE: minx/fox
    FEARS: being disrespected or beat. (not beaten, beat. as in conquered.)
    COMFORTS: her own skills. her friends.

    HOW DO THEY ACT WHEN THEY ARE...
    SAD: mean
    HAPPY: hyper, excitable, sly
    ANGRY: firey
    AFRAID: usually quiet and testy
    LOVE SOMEONE: N/A
    HATE SOMEONE: firey
    WANT SOMETHING: does what she can to get it
    CONFUSED: pretends she isn't confused

    HOW DO THEY REACT TO...
    DANGER: "bring it on"
    SOMEONE THEY HATE WHO HAS A CRUSH ON THEM: h! nice. N/A
    PROPOSAL TO MARRY: N/A
    DEATH OF LOVED ONE: N/A
    DIFFICULT GAME/MATH/ETC: again, "bring it on"
    INJURY: no big deal
    SOMETHING IRRESISTABLY CUTE: N/A
    LOSS OF HOURS OF WORK: she doesn't much care

    HISTORY

    FIRST APPEARANCE: In the story? In the very beginning, as she is the main character.

    KNOWLEDGE

    LANGUAGES: 1. Her home town's language, though the book will be written in English.
    SCHOOLING LEVEL: she's very smart, but a bit hasty. She knows plenty of things, but is more street-smart than book-smart
    FAVORITE SUBJECT: N/A
    INTERESTED CAREERS: N/A
    EXPERTICE: knows tons of survival tips. very good at climbing trees and swimming, though she almost drowned as a child.
    PUZZLES: she loves puzzles, riddles, and such
    CHEMISTRY: N/A
    MATH: She's fine at it as any girl in her time period - or maybe slightly better, but she doesn't enjoy it
    ENGLISH: N/A
    GEOGRAPHY: quite good. she has a great sense of direction and can almost always get where she wants to go.
    POLITICS/LAW: N/A
    ECONOMY/ACCOUNTING: N/A
    COOKING: not too good.
    SEWING: ha! no.
    MECHANICS: she's pretty good at mechanics naturally, but doesn't study them
    BOTANY (FLOWERS): N/A
    MYTHOLOGY: she knows quite a few myths. she makes an effort to learn them so she can tell them if the circumstance calls for it.
    DRAMATICS(ACTING,SINGING): she's an amazing singer, but doesn't sing much.
    READING LEVEL: average. she loves to read.
    HOW GOOD ARE THEY AT PLANNING AHEAD: not very
    IMPULSIVE/STRATEGY: impulsive

    ROMANCE

    DO THEY TAKE INITIATIVE: yes, I suppose
    HOW DO THEY ACT(SHY,ETC): akward
    GENTLEMAN/LADYLIKE VS KLUTZY: klutzy
    GO SLOW VS JUMP INTO: jump into
    PROTECTIVE: N/A
    ACT LIKE FRIENDS OR LOVERS: friends
    WHAT KIND OF PRESENTS DO THEY BUY: knives or wood. "something you can use, of course."
    TYPE OF KISSER: N/A
    DO THEY WANT KIDS: N/A
    DO THEY WANT TO MARRY: eventually
    MAKE GOOD OR BAD DECISIONS: both, of course
    ARE THEY ROMANTIC: no
    HOW ARE THEY IN BED: N/A
    GET JEALOUS EASY: yes indeed
    WIFE/HUBBY BEATER: no
    MARRY FOR MONEY: NO
    FAVORITE POSITION: N/A
    WHAT WOULD HAPPEN ON THEIR DREAM DATE: catch fireflies and maybe wade out into the lake
    OPINION ON SEX: Not till you are married. She does not really think about those things.
     

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