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Samantha "Sam" West
Topic Started: Jun 6 2015, 02:14 AM (273 Views)
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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Hey Irene! Sorry for the delay on this one, Sam took awhile to get claimed and then I took her up from another staffer.

Anyway, unfortunately Sam is DENIED pending some revisions. My comments/revisions are in teal.

Name: Samantha "Sam" Maria West
Gender: Female
Age: 16
Grade: 11
School: Cochise High
Hobbies and Interests: ghost hunting, supernatural stories/folklore, woodworking, sketching, running

Appearance: Sam stands at 5'7" and weighs 124 lbs. She has straight blonde hair that reaches down to the middle of her back. She has lightly tanned skin, light green eyes, and a somewhat angular face with a straight nose, thin cheeks, and a pointed chin. She prefers dressing in a simple, rustic style. She almost always wears blue jeans and tank tops or t-shirts of various plain colors, disliking wearing anything with writing or pictures, which she thinks look tacky. She has a few patterned clothes, but generally prefers to wear solid colors. She wears sneakers in the summer and boots in the winter.

She wears jewelry occasionally but will keep it simple, disliking anything big or gaudy. Her ears are pierced once apiece, although she'll sometimes go for weeks at a time without earrings. When she does wear earrings she only wears studs, usually small plain metal ones in varying shapes. She has no other piercings. She also doesn't wear makeup, not liking how it feels and how impractical it is.

Sam is slim and fairly athletic, running regularly on the track team and sometimes recreationally, as well as walking around a fair deal. While Sam doesn’t pay close attention to what she eats, and will sometimes splurge on junk food, she doesn’t overeat and exercises enough to keep her weight down.

On the day of the abduction she was wearing blue jeans; a white tank top; a dark red long-sleeved shirt; brown leather hiking boots; small, silver star-shaped metal stud earrings; and a small ring in the shape of a leaf on her left middle finger.

Biography: Sam was born (This should mention she was born in Kingman.) on September 14th, 1998 to Ellen and John West, who met in college. The couple had been dating for less than a year before Ellen got accidentally pregnant, due to poor birth control knowledge on both their parts. At the time, Ellen was 19 and John was 20. Ellen, who was living with her conservative Evangelical parents to save money, panicked when she found out she was pregnant. She and John ("then") had a very rushed wedding three months into the pregnancy.

After Sam was born, money quickly became an issue. While Ellen and John had found the cheapest apartment that would accommodate the three of them, they’d underestimated how much money it took to raise a baby. They’d both dropped out of college by this point, with John working full time as a salesman at an electronics store and Ellen staying at home to take care of Sam.

Over time, financial problems and the stress of being young parents caused more arguments between Ellen and John, as well as building resentment on both sides, but especially from John. He felt like this life had been forced on him, and felt trapped. When Sam was two, these tensions came to a head in a big argument between Ellen and John, and John moved out. Shortly afterwards, the couple got divorced, and John had no further contact with either of them, other than to pay child support.

After John left, Ellen started searching for a job, but because she never finished college it was hard to find one that paid well. She got a full time job at Target as a cashier, which combined with John’s child support and some government assistance programs paid the bills, but didn’t leave her with enough to put Sam in daycare. Ellen then turned to her parents for childcare help.
(Unnecessary paragraph break. You tend to have these quite frequently throughout, I've noted each of them.)
While they never knew the exact details surrounding Ellen’s marriage, her parents suspected enough to be disappointed in her, and to view her as sinful. This was reinforced by the fact that she later divorced her husband, even though they’d tried to persuade her not to. (I'm confused. Why did they not explicitly figure out she was pregnant before the marriage? Certainly they knew of the date of her marriage to John and also the date of their grandchild's birth. Logically they would put two and two together. Additionally, why would they blame her in this case? John got up and left, she had no choice but to file for divorce.)
(Unnecessary paragraph break.)
At first they were reluctant to take care of Sam partially because of this, partially because they didn’t really want to have a child around so much of the time. After seeing how much Ellen was struggling, however, they agreed to take Sam a few days a week.

This worked for a few years, but when Sam was about five or six they started teaching her some of their values, including those surrounding the concept of sin. Once Ellen found out about this, she became very angry, (Why? You haven't really established why Ellen dislikes her parents ideology, and you mention that she's a christian later anyway. Why the anger over teaching her child the thing she was taught?) and stopped leaving Sam with her parents, relying instead on friends and after school programs to watch Sam. (Being constantly tossed between caretakers can have a negative effect on a child's development and perception of their parents. You bring up the trust issues later, but I have to ask: did Sam have any resentment towards her mother because of this?)

After this incident the rift that had been growing between Ellen and her parents widened considerably, and now they rarely see each other, and when they do they’re usually cordial but distant. While Sam doesn’t have the same issues with her grandparents that her mother does, she’s always felt awkward around them, and isn’t close with them.

Sam developed some trust issues as a kid, partly due to the somewhat backhanded way her grandparents dealt with her (What do you mean by this? Was it how her grandparents tried to teach her their ideology? If so, wasn't she very young at the time and wouldn't have any problem with it because she's so young? Did her mother make her think badly of her grandparents?), as well as being shuffled around between caretakers so much. She sometimes feels like no one likes her or wants her around, and sometimes doesn’t trust the sincerity of the people she interacts with. She will often make quick judgements about people, which will sometimes deter her from forming closer relationships with people she doesn’t know very well.

When Sam was in fifth grade, Ellen started dating a man named Sang Tran (also nicknamed Sam), who she met at work. When Sam was in seventh grade, Ellen and Sang got married. Sang’s daughter, Jo, did not move in with them until Sam was in ninth grade, however. Before that Jo had been living primarily with her mom, but then her mom moved and Jo decided to stay in Kingman. Jo is one year older than Sam. (This last sentence could be stated when you first mention Jo.)[/color]

While Sam was somewhat apprehensive when Ellen and Sang first started dating, she quickly warmed up to him and Jo. She was happy when they got married, feeling like she finally had a family that was more complete. Growing up, Sam somewhat romanticized the idea of family. While she loves her mom, and the two of them are generally close, it bothered her that her life was missing something that most people took for granted. She grew especially close to Sang, as he’s the only father figure she’s ever really had. She and Jo are friendly ("with each other") but not close. Sam sometimes wishes that the two of them are closer, since she’s never had any siblings, (Why did Sam want siblings? What about having siblings does she find appealing? Simply never having them doesn't necessarily mean that you want them.) but she doesn’t want to appear needy and generally gives Jo her space.

When Sam was in eighth grade, (This is the first mention of Sam's hobbies. Certainly she developed hobbies and interests before she was in eighth grade, right?) Jo invited her along to go ghost hunting. Sam agreed, eager to get to know her new stepsister, as well as being mildly interested in the subject. Despite her interest, however, she felt a little silly actually hunting for ghosts. After a few sessions, however, she began to enjoy it. She likes the mystery and suspense during the hunting sessions, as well as the thrill of the occasional possible encounters. (Did they really have that many places to go hunting for ghosts? I can't imagine that a typical city would have more than a few abandoned spots that would be good for ghost hunting. Does she have to travel a fair ways on weekends in order to do this regularly with Jo?) While these encounters could easily be explained rationally, believing in the supernatural gives Sam some escape from the problems and monotony of everyday life. She started reading more folklore and fiction related to the supernatural soon after, and found it to be a fun hobby. As Sam got older, however, she became more private about her enjoyment of the supernatural, not wanting to appear crazy or naive to other people. She still goes ghost hunting with Jo, although a big part of that is to spend time with her stepsister, since the two don't have much else in common.

Sam was raised as a Christian, albeit in a casual way. Ellen would occasionally take Sam to church, usually on holidays, but was not religiously strict. Sam believes in God, and will pray often, but is not a close follower of the rules of Christianity. (This goes back to what I was saying earlier about Ellen and how she thinks about her parents. If Ellen is Christian, why did she have such an issue with her parents teaching Sam about sinfulness?)

Sam's favorite class is woodworking. She took it on a whim freshman year and really enjoyed it. She finds it both challenging and meditative, depending on the project. She also likes the somewhat rustic aesthetic, and finds it a good creative outlet. She'll sometimes take small projects home to work on, although since she doesn't have most of the required equipment at home she can't work on anything big or complicated outside of school. (What does she like making in woodworking? Are there any projects that she particularly enjoyed?)

Sam's best academic subject at school is physics. She finds it interesting, is good with spatial awareness, and is pretty good at math. Her math grades are generally high, although she'll sometimes skip more of the homework than is wise if it bores her.
(Unnecessary paragraph break.)
She does pretty well in history, especially when she finds the subject material interesting. When she doesn’t, however, she’ll often slack on homework or studying, which will bring her grades down. She also has some trouble with memorization, and will often forget the names and dates relevant to the events they’re studying.
(Unnecessary paragraph break.)
Sam's worst subject in school is English. While she will sometimes read for fun, it's mostly folklore and light fiction novels. She has trouble with older novels, ("due to her") not having the best grammar or vocabulary. She also has trouble identifying and expanding on themes, so often her essays or analyses will fall short.

Sam draws sometimes while she's at home, mostly with pencil (comma) although sometimes with charcoal. She’s not good at blending colors, and likes the aesthetic of black and white, so she doesn’t do much with color. She mostly draws plants, still lifes (comma) and landscapes. She’s a decent artist, although will (Remove "will".) struggle(s) with shading and faces, so will generally avoid drawing people and animals. The feeling of drawing soothes her, and she likes capturing a piece of life on paper. She also likes being able to play with the visual aspect, sometimes trying to copy things faithfully while at other times putting her own spin on them and creating a new look. (When did Sam start drawing? Why did she start drawing?)

Sam has always been fairly athletic, and especially likes to run. In seventh grade she joined the track team at her mother’s urging, and liked it enough to stay with it into high school. She’s good both at middle distance running and sprints, although she struggles with jumps and hurdles. She also likes to walk, and will sometimes go on hikes or walk around town by herself. Running helps her think and relax, and she will often run to calm down when she’s upset, although she also runs purely for fun. (Did she participate in any competitions while on the track team? If so, how did she do?)

While Sam doesn’t have any set career ideas, she’s thought about doing something along the lines of architecture. (Why?) While she wishes she could go to school full time after high school, she’ll probably have to go part time and work, since her mom doesn’t have enough money to pay for her college education.

Sam and Ellen are generally pretty close, especially since Ellen has been the one family member who’s always been there for Sam. They have their arguments like every other family; sometimes Sam will push her mother’s boundaries and sometimes Sam will feel like her mom is either not giving her enough attention or interfering too much in her life. They talk a lot, though, and Ellen is one of the first people that Sam will open up to with things going on in her life.

Sam is generally independent, and is good at finding ways to amuse herself. She’s fairly introverted, although while she’s generally the most comfortable by herself or in small crowds, she will sometimes get lonely.
(Unnecessary paragraph break.)
She’s somewhat socially awkward, and has a hard time socializing in big crowds. She is generally quiet, not liking to draw attention to herself around strangers, and is happier to be approached by someone new than to actively seek out new friends. She’s often shy with people she doesn’t know, and will sometimes phrase things more bluntly when she’s nervous. This plus her somewhat quirky hobbies means that she doesn’t have a lot of friends, but she has a small circle of people she feels comfortable with. She tends to make friends with people who share her hobbies, but she has a couple friends who are into different things from her. She meets most of her friends at school, either through her classes or hobbies that they share. Due to her trust issues, she has trouble making close friends, although the people that she does get close to she is very loyal towards.

She also has a pretty high tolerance for mistakes from people that she’s close to, so something that might turn her away from a superficial friend would be more easily forgiven if done by a close friend. If she’s pushed too far, however, or if her trust is broken, it’s almost impossible to gain it back, and she will hold a grudge against the person who wronged her. Sam will also sometimes idealize things or people, and either overlook flaws that appear or become bitterly disappointed when things don’t turn out how she wants them to, or if people don’t live up to her expectations.
(Unnecessary paragraph break.)
While Sam tries to be logical and practical about most issues and has a generally even temper, once she’s pushed past her limit her emotions will often override her rationality. When this happens she’s extremely hard to reason with, although she’ll often rethink her actions and apologize when appropriate later.

Advantages: Sam is fairly athletic, especially in her lower body from running and walking. This means she may be able to outrun any (Remove "any". After all, she can't outrun literally anyone.) aggressors. She is a loyal friend, so would be a good ally to people who she was close to before the game started. She’s independent, so would be able to take care of herself fairly well. Her trust issues could help her discern if her allies are planning to turn on her. (I don't really think trust issues help you determine if someone is about to betray you so much as make you paranoid about just that. Go ahead and remove this.)
Disadvantages: Sam’s trust issues might cause some misunderstandings between her and potential allies, which could possibly escalate into conflict. She sometimes overlooks flaws in people that she likes, or will give them more leniency, which could be dangerous if someone she’s close to is planning to betray her. She also has a hard time being rational in intense emotional situations, which could make her more likely to make fatal mistakes.

Post back here when edits are made, and I'll help you again in round two. :)
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The girl who dreams on the back of a giant space turtle.
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This character biography has had no alterations for more than two weeks and has been put in the abandoned characters forum. This profile is eligible for resubmission by the handler upon alterations requested by the staff.
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