Eliza Reed

Cicada Days
Winner
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

August 6th, 2015, 10:29 pm #1

Name: Eliza Reed
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Grade: Senior
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Classic board games- especially chess, playing bass, mixing and producing, 80s music, classical music, history, soldering, gossip, libertarian politics.

Appearance: Eliza is 5'2” and roughly 110 pounds; she's a Caucasian girl with a skinny profile, balanced bust and hips and scrawny shoulders with a wide-set waist that downplays her curves. Her facial structure is oval, with a long chin and a lack of cheek definition. Her wavy blonde hair is grown out to shoulder length and loosely curls out and is cut into thick bangs laid over her forehead. It's somewhat unkempt and thus frequently tangles at the ends. Her eyes are hazel, dull due to heavy dark circles. Her nose hosts a few prominent blackheads along the bridges between her eyes. Her lips are thin and dry. She wears no makeup and suffers from strong acne breakouts and scarring around her temples and the side of her face, though she usually wears her hair thickly forward to cover the problem spots.

Eliza wears mostly poor quality clothing, a wardrobe built of hand-me-downs and bargain-bin-at-the-thrift-store pieces. She'll wear short sleeves in winter and prefers to wears clothes that would violate school dress codes in her free time, like strapless tubes, off-shoulders, and short shorts. In school proper she wears the exact same thing, switching in battered jeans along with throwing one of several poor quality sweaters on top to avoid drawing the ire of teachers. She wears little in the way of accessories and she has yet to have her ears pierced. She likes band graphics when she can afford them. She's also notably particular to sandals, and doesn't own enough socks to pair them consistently when she does choose to wear them.

Biography: Eliza was born several seconds ahead of twin Victoria in late '97, the second and third girls of low class couple Daniel Reed and Haley Bonham. Daniel was a dropout of the local community college, only capable of providing for the family through odd-jobs as a welder. His contracts were inconsistent and always low paying due to a lack of experience in more refined forms of welding, and rejections were frequent. Daniel's parents were locals, but were also subsisting on low-skill blue collar labor. Haley had no contact with her family as she'd run away from home at 18 to try and make it to Hollywood and become big in the music industry. She had become a transient who eventually found her way by bus into Kingman. The family was from inception financially unstable and subsisted in large part on government aid.

Haley had had no intention of becoming pregnant but wasn't especially willing to undergo abortion. She wasn't emotionally ready to become a mother, and combined with her frustrated ambitions she was a questionable parental figure as early as Eliza's formative years. She was either neglectful or had little patience for her children, easily driven into a temper whenever they were even slightly rambunctious, along with being nasty to her husband. By the time Eliza and Victoria were three, their elder sister Lucille was seven and already prone to shouting matches with her mother. The house was never dangerous but it was still likely to breed a girl with social issues, as it did for Eliza. She was already learning to raise her own voice in defiance, full of rebellious energy and not content to simply sit quiet when yelled at.

Eliza's defiant attitude was enforced by the general mood of the house, nobody really wanted to take responsibility for anything besides Daniel struggling to be the breadwinner, and there was little respect for Daniel due to his quietness and tendency towards being a pushover. Victoria likewise seemed to be muted and quieted by conflict instead of rising against it like Eliza did. She often melted into the background in these years.

None of the Reed girls attended preschool due to their parent's misinformation on existing government aid for payment, so Eliza's first year of school wasn't until she was almost six. She was difficult, a slow learner who was frustrated by schooling more often than she was excited by it. She was petty and argumentative, more so than the usual child her age, and even the friendliest of her peers found her nigh impossible to deal with. She demanded teacher intervention often, almost all of her first two years of school were marred by plentiful time outs and parental calls and conferences. Haley felt Eliza's troubles were a waste of time and reflected badly on her and Eliza became the black sheep of the home, often shut down in arguments by the authority of her elders.

She had little respect for authority but eventually learned to play nice through the typical negative reinforcement methods for other problem children her age. With counselor's help and advice she was able to adopt some forms of anger-management and restraint, though she kept a strong streak of stubbornness and headstrong behavior. She could properly make friends but she also remained something of a playground bully who still drew the ire of her teachers almost routinely. At home she became pettily abusive of Victoria, since her quietness made her someone Eliza could lay chores and blame off on. Eliza was content having few close friends and mostly ignoring others.

Her major form of entertainment was a lonely hobby. She had access, dubiously, to Haley's old collections of vinyls, bass guitar, and effects deck had been toted with her back when she had struck out for Hollywood. All poor quality, but to a girl around the age of nine they were all impressive fare. Eliza began tentatively studying and practicing her bass, between dubious self-help books she'd scrounge up in the local library and a naturally musically inclined ear. Haley mostly disparaged her daughter for trying to take up the guitar, assured Eliza she'd be just as much of a failure and nobody as Haley herself had been, and mutual bitterness over this particular conflict gave a certain real element of hatred to what had originally been arguments mostly born of irritation. Eliza was self-assured in her own independence on the matter, it appealed to her for her bullishness and learned disrespect for others made her especially proud of self-achievement. She poured herself into her work, and while she was never a prodigy her skills developed at a pace that pleased her.

In addition to playing she also studied her mother's record collection extensively, often going into the closest of Kingman's music stores and playing the records there as the Reeds couldn't afford to keep their own player, having sold it a while back during a tough month. Eliza disparaged the trends of mainstream rap and hip-hop infused pop that were popular on the radio during these years. In general she was turned away from pop music as a personal rule, primarily since Lucille loved blasting it on the TV when she managed to wrestle control of the remote from the other girls, so Eliza grew to associate it with her annoying older sister.

She turned to the music of old, disco and especially new wave; she fell in love with the sounds of bands like New Order, Depeche Mode, Yaz, Human League, China Crisis, The Psychedelic Furs, and so on. She ignored peers who happened to stumble in after her and hogged the store's record player as much as she could without getting herself kicked out of the store, studying and memorizing the bass rifts of songs so she could practice them when she got home. She developed a love for strong and prominent bass guitar lines, since they were the ones she could most easily replicate with her means at the time, and Peter Hook of New Order became her veritable hero. She claimed his melodic and effects-saturated basslines as her own style by the age of ten, and it remains her preferred method of playing to this day.

Another refuge Eliza found during this phase of her life was with her father's parents, whose house was across the city. Daniel's parents were kindly, spending what little money they could spare to treat Eliza well whenever she found her way over. Haley had little love for her in-laws and Lucille was extremely socially active and found little time for her grandparents, so it was mostly Eliza and Victoria who visited. Her grandparents allowed her to watch TV as she pleased without having to argue incessantly over the channel, gave her better food than either of her parents could manage to cook, and were perfectly happy talking frankly to her and engaging her in all manner of games. More than once she'd naively ask if they could take her in for good, but as Daniel's parents they firmly believed in their son's skills as a father, much to young Eliza's irritation.

As a result of these visits Eliza developed a strong skill with classic games like chess, go, and backgammon. Her grandfather had been a former chess master in his glory days, and under his tutelage her average mind developed an inroads for strategic board games, memorizing the tricks for reading opponents and predicting moves and developments on the board. Once more she was proud of herself, and was happy to spend the time with one of the few people who unconditionally liked her. She was by no means ever truly talented, but she would stand out as an especially difficult opponent for those not expecting her to be in her future engagements with board games.

Over time these trips enforced a stronger bond with Victoria. Due to the more relaxed nature of life when staying with her grandparents she over time developed an understanding and appreciation of her twin that ended her earlier bullying. Lucille had no love for either of her younger sisters and the polarization only made Eliza become protective of Victoria in family arguments, even willing to share consequences and duty with Victoria when they were outmatched. By the time Eliza was about to enter middle school Victoria was the closest of her small circle of friends.

In her middle school years Eliza was far from socially brilliant, and most of her tactics boiled down to shared interests, sometimes forced as she tried to impress her peers with her precociously developed guitar skills and shoehorn herself into conversations. Her tactics were met with mixed results and she made a few new friends, but she was never quite able to develop a strong group to associate with and she was mostly relegated to a fringe role in most groups she was in. Her temper still easily reignited when she felt wronged and slighted by the people she thought were friends, and she burned bridges with some by creating drama with particular people, either through rumor-mongering or explosive spats with colorful language. She'd get called out for 'borrowing' things for too long. She'd never developed a good sense for respecting property due to her usual ability to argue for anything she wanted at home, and this tendency to pseudo-thievery had her ousted from groups. In general she built a fairly negative outstanding reputation as a mooch and overly aggressive girl by rumor that led to her falling into a fairly bad place in the overall social picture.

Her musical skills, at least, continued to develop. Her father taught her some of the soldering basics she knew and she was able to repair and jury-rig upgrade some of her equipment, basic amp mods and the like that she'd pull off from borrowing tools from a set her father had 'acquired' over time with careful lifting from his various temp jobs and contracts. She got into production in her middle school years, putting together amateur tracks that evoked her favored genres with sample machines from record players and her own bass talents.

Eliza's middle school career passed uneventfully for the most part. She maintained tenuous connections with various peers that could fall apart easily, as she was hardly endearing enough to be forgiven for slights. Academically she benefited from the intelligence of Victoria, who was kind enough to share notes and tutor her in the quiet hours of the night at home. She developed an enjoyment of History, because as a subject it overlapped enough with her love of music, where she could study things like the history of music. She developed a taste for classic music in concert with Victoria, in particular she developed a respect for the raw power of Romantic era compositions. By no means did she have the ability to afford learning a more classically oriented instrument like would sometimes dream of perusing, but she would do things like tentatively translating the phrases from Chopin and Mussorgsky into compositions for her bass, which she'd play to whoever she could convince to listen.

Eliza's talent did in some cases win her at least some respect where her personality fell short, and some of the musicians in her peer group at least learned to stomach her shortcomings for what she brought to the table, a trend that would continue into high school and Cochise's music scene.

In her high school years Eliza began to really develop a strong identity for herself as a talented musician. She had some affiliations with Chess Club, made some acquaintances in classes where she wasn't intimate enough to potentially alienate them with her well learned poor behaviors, but it was in Cochise's burgeoning music scene where she really revealed the full spectrum of her character. Her talent and passion attracted all manner of friends and collaborators. She had some genunine admirers now, and had a broad enough pool of diverse friends to where even she couldn't drive all of them off. Her reputation never really improved, but at least more people were willing to stomach and tolerate her, and some people who got to see her good side. She was somewhat liberal with ignorant remarks due to her lack of care for social niceties.

She also fell in with the counterculture crowd in Cochise, as Eliza's natural disrespect for authority and strong self-identity and independence lent her towards adopting strong libertarian leanings that won her allies in that crowd. She doesn't have the intelligence to really be a thinker, and she's too rambunctious to be a good follower, but she's a strong personality and thus a figurehead in her own right. She's a mixed bag when it comes to her beliefs systems, on the one hand she usually isn't passionate enough to talk shop, but if she ever is one can expect she's incredibly insistent and aggressive about what she thinks is right.

In her Sophomore year her home saw a significant shift, when Lucille married a military man she'd been smitten with for most of her high school years and was able to move away with him to a base in the Pacific Northwest. The loss of her primary sparring partner meant a now years-embittered Haley could turn her full attention to Eliza and Victoria. At this point she couldn't logically deny that Eliza had surpassed her in skill and had a remote but real shot of making it in the music industry. She grew incredibly critical, passive-aggressive, and spiteful, and threatened to take away and sell the guitar, among other far less savory threats. Eliza had no discernible amount of respect left for her mother from years of seeing her as a shrill nuisance and mostly blew her off.

Daniel himself had also had enough of the mistake he felt he'd made in ever falling for Haley, and the house became an all out war between Daniel and Haley as he threatened separation and she fought back tooth-and-nail. The focus quickly shifted away from Victoria and Eliza, they were smart enough to avoid the home when their father was at work so that they could avoid their mother's impotent but still annoying fury.

Thus Eliza would start happily spend long stretches of time outside of her home, sometimes only being there on a given day to grab her equipment and sleep. She'll take long walks around Kingman without purpose if she has nowhere to crash for a few hours, and she's come to enjoy the time to herself. She mostly reserves visits to the grandparents for when Victoria is free, since Victoria is also far more involved academically than herself. She's tried to grab herself some jobs to try and build capital for the vague plans she has to make a name for herself in music, but she's been fired from the two jobs- throwaway retail part time- for being aggressively lazy and argumentative. She's not as worried about a rather poor resume and the employer blacklisting already against her, due to her strong self-assurance. Her only cash flow is from the occasional soldering job one of the other kids can draft her to do for cheap.

Her peers find that she is now a rather relaxed girl if not provoked, but that it is usually best to keep her at a distance as Eliza is very easily tempted into either borrowing things and never finding the impetus to return them. She's also extremely gossipy and has developed a love for bad-mouthing people to others, due to a bullheaded lack of respect for those she doesn't consider close. She still mostly hooks up with others through shared interests, and has also taken to facetiously using her home situation to win pity points. Her social sphere is never particularly consistent, she mostly gravitates towards those who are a bit more forgiving and passive and thus easy to make friends out of and otherwise is in and out of friends groups depending on how willing they are to tolerate her at that particular time. Otherwise she just sticks to those friends she knows are reliable, who she freely be herself around and not lose them completely.

She's also had no inroads into the world of romance, here for a lack of trying. She doesn't realize that she's asexual, never bothered to assign such a label to herself, as it simply has no factor on her life as a whole.

Her Senior year is one she's only passing to the extent that she needs to graduate, in most classes she dials it in and often doesn't turn in homework, sans history as she still enjoys the subject and often likes to discuss trivia with the teacher. She has no intentions of going on to college, but is happy for Victoria's own intentions to go through Mojave on aid and try to impress a four year collage into a full ride scholarship with hard work.

Advantages: Eliza is self-assured and has a naturally strong rebellious spirit that will likely keep her mentally strong and capable of fighting when she needs to. She's naturally good at dominating arguments and verbally overpowering others as she's spent most of her life doing it.
Disadvantages: She has a poor reputation at Cochise and a lot of people will naturally be suspicious of her due to her known unreliability and shifty nature. She's still got a temper and a tendency towards losing her cool that can be exploited. She's also overconfident by nature and this may hinder her if she cannot temper the tendency on island. Finally, she's not socially smart and can make poor decisions working with others, especially since she's often apathetic to others by default and may fail to recognize threats or opportunities.
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"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
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Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
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Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
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B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
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"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
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"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
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G047 - Dead
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"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
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"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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Slam
Mr. Danya
Slam
Mr. Danya
Joined: August 11th, 2009, 7:39 pm

September 5th, 2015, 5:49 pm #2

Hi Cicada! I do apologise for the long wait on this critique.

For now, Eliza's DENIED pending some fairly major revision.
wrote:Name: Eliza Reed
Gender: Female
Age: 18
Grade: Senior
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Classic board games, especially chess, playing bass, mixing and producing, 80s music, classical music, history, gossip.

Appearance: Eliza is 5'2" and roughly 110 pounds. she's a Caucasian girl with a skinny and underdeveloped profile, (I’m not familiar with the term ‘underdeveloped profile’, could you phrase it another way?) balanced bust and hips and scrawny shoulders along with a wide-set waist that downplays her curves. She has a notable hunch to her posture. Her facial structure is oval, with a long and chiselled chin and a lack of cheek definition. Her wavy blonde hair is grown out to shoulder length which loosely curls out as it grows further out and is cut into thick bangs laid over her forehead. It's somewhat unkempt and thus frequently tangles at the ends. Her eyes are hazel, dull due to heavy dark circles. Her nose is average sized, and hosts a few prominent blackheads along the bridges between her eyes. Her lips are thin and dry, prone to cracking and naturally set into a frowning expression. She wears no makeup and suffers from strong acne breakouts and scarring around her temples and the side of her face, though she usually wears her hair thickly forward to cover the problem spots.

Eliza wears poor quality clothing, a wardrobe built of hand-me-downs and bargain-bin-at-the-thrift-store pieces. Her few good quality pieces are those she quietly 'borrowed' (Remove the apostrophes, the profile is meant to be to the point.) from friends or ex-friends. She's one of those sorts who prefers freezing to wearing layers, (This phrasing is too casual, please rephrase it) she'll wear short sleeves in winter and prefers to wears clothes that would violate school dress codes in her free time, like strapless tubes, off-shoulders, and short shorts. In school proper she wears the exact same thing, just with battered jeans instead along with throwing one of several poor quality sweaters on top to avoid drawing the ire of teachers. She wears little to no jewellery, and she has yet to have her ears pierced. She likes band graphics when she can afford them. She's also notably particular to sandals, and doesn't own enough socks to pair them consistently when she does choose to wear them.

Biography: Eliza was born several seconds ahead of her twin Victoria in late '97, the second and third girls of low class 20-something (State their actual ages, there’s no need to ballpark here.) couple Daniel Reed and Haley Bonham. Daniel was a dropout of the local community college, unfortunately not blessed with much intelligence or verve and only capable of providing for the family he'd essentially stumbled into through odd-jobs as a welder. His contracts were inconsistent and always low paying due to a lack of experience in more refined forms of welding, Daniel was always assigned to assembly belts and pulled low hourly wages when he could actually manage to get hired. Daniel's parents were locals, but were also financially weak and subsisting on low-skill blue collar labor; Haley had no contact with her family as she'd run away from home at 18 to try and make it to Hollywood and become big in the music industry, having become a transient who eventually found her way by bus into Kingman. Thus the family was from inception financially unstable and subsisted in large part on government aid.

Haley had had no intention of becoming pregnant but wasn't especially willing to undergo abortion. She wasn't emotionally ready to become a mother, and combined with her frustrated ambitions which she perceived as the fault of her falling into a backwater town and family she was a questionable parental figure as early as Eliza's formative years. She had little patience for her children, easily driven into a temper whenever they were even slightly rambunctious. By the time Eliza and Victoria were three, her elder sister Lucille was seven and already prone to shouting matches with her mother, arguing everything from chores and housework to who would get to watch the TV. Eliza found chores delegated to her, by both Lucille and Haley, but she was already learning to raise her own voice in defiance, full of rebellious energy and not content to simply sit quiet when yelled at.

The three eldest girls of the Reed household were all very argumentative. Dinners were protracted affairs where the three would argue over who would do the dishes and who was the laziest and most useless while an exhausted Daniel would only speak up if Haley demanded he did on her behalf. Eliza's defiant attitude was enforced by the general mood of the house: nobody really wanted to take responsibility for anything besides Daniel struggling to be the breadwinner, and there was little respect for Daniel due to his quietness and tendency towards being a pushover. Victoria did not adopt a similar methodology as her twin had: she seemed to be muted and quieted by conflict instead of rising against it like Eliza did. She often melted into the background in these years.

None of the Reed girls attended preschool due to their parent's misinformation on existing government aid for payment, so Eliza's first year of school wasn't until she was almost six. She was a problem child from the get-go, a fair learner but prone to tantrums and even occasional physical violence, shoving kids and yelling indiscriminately when she perceived offense or they didn't do what she wanted from them. She demanded teacher intervention early and she demanded it often, almost all of her first two years of school were marred by plentiful time outs and parental calls and conferences, which only further upped the tension at home because Haley felt Eliza's troubles were a waste of time and reflected badly on her. Eliza briefly became something of a scapegoat in the house, as Lucille had better temper management in public comparatively so she avoided drawing the same amount of parental ire.

By age eight Eliza was largely a social outcast, her peers in class afraid of her temper or only repaying it in kind. She had, through significant negative reinforcement from all involved authority figures, been worn down into restraining somewhat, but she was still extremely aggressive for a girl her age. Regular sessions with the school counselor produced little: Eliza wasn't especially predisposed to explaining herself, as she was far too used at that point to people not really listening when she had something to say. She had little respect for authority, was difficult to cow no matter what school authorized consequence or punishment was enforced, detention was a routine occupation for her and she seemed perfectly content with sitting around and doing nothing for a few hours: it was quieter and more peaceful than whatever she could be doing at home. Because she was never particularly physically violent there was only so much the school could do against her, (Yes she was, you just said she acted violent towards other students in the last paragraph.) and it wasn't until midway through her third grade year that she finally gave in.

This behaviour is very severe, and I have trouble believing that Eliza would just coast along in school with it, even with the frequent detentions and the counselling. If she’s a constant disruption in the classroom and acting against other students, then eventually she’s going to be removed from the classroom all together. I’d really prefer to see this section toned down, because at the moment it’s too extreme to be functional.

Eventually with the counselor's help and advice she was able to adopt anger-management and restraint, at least at school and mostly just to silence the constant stream of criticism that her behavior produced that she had found annoying and preachy. At home she remained explosive and feisty, giving as good as she continued to get. She also became slightly abusive of Victoria, since her quietness made her someone Eliza could rant to and lay chores and blame off on. In school she remained somewhat infamous among her class peers and even somewhat beyond due to schoolyard gossip, a reputation only time would diffuse, as Eliza herself seemed mostly content having no close friends and only dealing with others in group projects, where she mostly just ignored the others who quietly just did her share of the work due to the menace she carried relative to them. (And there were no consequences for her intimidating other students into doing her work? No-one in the groups ever told the teacher that she hadn’t done anything? Again, this is going beyond believability.) She was socially isolated and it did hurt her more than she'd ever admit, she simply didn't have the self-awareness and personality to understand what she had to do about it, socially frozen due to an unspoken lack of confidence. (So actually, she wasn’t content to not have any close friends after all, which means this sentence conflicts with the sentence from earlier.)

Thus her major forms of self-entertainment were all solo hobbies, that she took to strongly as they were in many ways all she had between a socially dead school life and infuriating home life. One of the few things Eliza has ever felt her mother was good for was the stuff she owned. Haley's old collections of vinyl, bass guitar, and effects deck had been toted with her back when she had struck out for Hollywood. All poor quality, and a fair number of them didn't even work, as Haley had stopped practicing and maintaining her collection when her dreams had supposedly died. Eliza rediscovered the equipment around this age, (What age?) and began tentatively studying and practicing her bass, between dubious self-help books she'd scrounge up in the local library and a naturally musically inclined ear. Haley mostly disparaged her daughter for trying to take up the guitar, assured Eliza she'd be just as much of a failure and nobody as Haley herself had been. Haley's jealousy, as Eliza reached heights of talent she never could have hoped to touch, further soured the relationship between the two as time went on, giving a certain real element of hatred to what had originally been arguments mostly born of mutual irritation. (I need to know what age we’re talking about here and how long Eliza was practicing at this point, because even if Haley wasn’t all that great a musician, it’s still a notable accomplishment for a child to be more skilled than them, especially if they’re self-taught. Also, what does she actually like about playing the bass? Why’d she pick it up in the first place?)

In addition to playing she also studied her mother's record collection extensively, often going into the closest of Kingman's music stores and playing the records there, as the Reeds couldn't afford to keep their own player, having sold it a while back during a tough month. Eliza disparaged the trends of mainstream rap and hip-hop infused pop that were popular on the radio during these years, influenced by the xenophobic leanings of her family in her younger years she was somewhat racist before mellowing out in her future years into general apathy. (Woah hold on, Eliza’s been racist up until now? This is a fairly significant thing to just be glossed over in one line, and it needs either a lot more elaboration, or snipped out since it doesn’t really have any other bearing on the profile.) In general she was turned away from pop music as a personal rule, especially since Lucille loved blasting it on the TV when she managed to wrestle control of the remote from the other girls.

She turned to the music of old, falling in love with the sounds of bands like New Order, Depeche Mode, Yaz, Human League, China Crisis, The Psychedelic Furs, and so on. Her tastes found genius (Too flowery, retain objectivity please.) in the style of synthpop and New Wave, and she was considerably crushed when she learned that most of the sound she loved was found in hardware synthesizers that lay far beyond her budget considerations. She was undaunted and stubborn, however, and she was in the record store almost every day after class. She ignored peers who happened to stumble in after her, and hogged the store's record player as much as she could without getting herself kicked out of the store, studying and memorizing the bass rifts of songs so she could practice them when she got home. She developed a love for strong and prominent bass guitar lines, since they were the ones she could most easily replicate with her means at the time, and Peter Hook of New Order became her veritable hero. His melodic and effects-saturated basslines are her preferred method of playing to this day.

Another refuge Eliza found during this phase of her life was with her father's parents, whose house was across the city. Daniel's parents were kindly, spending what little money they could spare to treat Eliza well whenever she found her way over. Haley had little love for her in-laws, and Lucille was extremely socially active and found little time for her grandparents, so it was mostly Eliza and Victoria along with Daniel when he was off work- depressingly often (Too emotive, retain objectivity please). Visits to them were such a highlight of Eliza's life at the time that she'd shamelessly slip money from the family's pitiful savings drawer, and take the subsequent heat from her mother when she inevitably noticed, or even take the full three something hour hike to make sure she could visit them at least once a week. (Do her grandparents not own a car, or are unwilling to loan her the money for a bus? I’m a little sceptical that people are happy to let her make three hour treks on a regular basis without bothering to just drive her for twenty minutes instead.) Her grandparents allowed her to watch TV as she pleased without having to argue incessantly over the channel, gave her better food than either of her parents could manage to cook, and were perfectly happy talking to her and engaging her in all manner of games. Through them Eliza developed a strong skill with classic games like chess, go, and backgammon. Her grandfather had been a former chess master in his glory days, and under his tutelage her average mind developed an inroads for strategic board games, memorizing the tricks her grandfather taught her for reading opponents and predicting moves and developments on the board. She was by no means ever especially talented, but she would stand out as an especially difficult opponent for those not expecting her to be in her future engagements with board games. (What does she actually like about these board games? Or is she only playing them as a means to bond with her grandfather?)

This raises a good question, actually. Eliza’s home life with her mother is more or less emotionally abusive, so have her grandparents not tried to intervene at all? Is it not possible that she tried to live with them instead at some point? For people who care about her so much, they seem more or less content to just let her suffer when she’s not at their house.

Eliza found a certain peace with her grandparents, a mellowing of her spirit that put her at her best when she could remember the good times she shared with them. Over time these trips enforced a stronger bond with her partners in crime in (Too casual) Victoria and her father, she developed a tolerance for them that made them mutual confidantes, Victoria and Eliza especially becoming close and helping one another out. Eliza no longer threw her sister under the bus (Too casual), and came to often protect Victoria in family arguments. She didn't become quiet; she actually became louder for Victoria's sake, and when she was unable to drown out the other girls she often shared punishment, duty, and blame with Victoria instead of dumping it all on her. By the time Eliza was about to enter middle school Victoria was essentially her only close friend, and Eliza had done her best to treat her twin well and re-win her trust, finding her social voice by talking with her sister and her friends, playing chess with her when they were able to borrow a board from one of Victoria's other friends in school, one that Eliza would quietly sequester and never return since all involved except her eventually forgot about it's actual origins. (This sentence runs on quite a while, please break it up a bit.)

In her middle school years Eliza decided she'd had enough of being mostly alone, and decided to benefit from the years passed from her trouble years. The people she'd alienated were only vaguely able to remember why they disliked or were afraid of her now, and her classes shifted significantly. (There hasn’t been that long a time since elementary school, and kids are pretty good at being petty bastards. Would you mind giving a better justification for why she’s able to get on with her peers again than ‘they forgot about it’? She could always just interact with kids she didn’t go to elementary school with in middle school, after all.) She was far from socially brilliant, and most of her tactics boiled down to shared interests, sometimes forced as she tried to impress her peers with her precociously developed guitar skills and shoehorn herself into conversations. Her tactics were met with mixed results and she made a few friends, but she was never quite able to develop a strong group to associate with and she was mostly relegated to a fringe role in most groups she was in, struggling with the sense that she and her opinions were being marginalized. In some cases her old temper reignited when she felt wronged and slighted by the people she thought were friends, she burned bridges with some by creating beef (Too casual) and drama with particular people. In other cases the habits she'd learned at home of being argumentative and taking what she wanted won her few favors: she'd get called out for 'borrowing' things for too long and was ousted from more groups. In general she built a fairly negative outstanding reputation in the grape vine (Too casual) as a fairly negative person, a mooch and overly aggressive girl, by rumor that led to her falling into a fairly bad place in the overall social picture.

Her musical skills, at least, continued to develop. Without a job and with her home situation remaining rather weak her gear remained low-tech, so she compensated with sheer skill, being able to play back almost any song by ear with only one or two listens, (Nope. There are musicians with decades of experience who can’t do this, I don’t want to see Eliza doing it this young.) and having mastered most bass techniques and being able to fluidly improvise with them them without second thought. She first discovered the mixing process of making music through software programs like Audacity and Cubase through these friends, (We haven’t been talking about any friends in this paragraph, so there’s no context here) while she originally disparaged the idea of 'programming' (no apostrophes) music she found it reminded her of the synths of synthpop she had grown to respect as a young girl, and she quickly learned to translate her hearing skills into the world of music production, as much as she could given her limited access. She never found access to more studio-standard hardware, and it remains one of her greatest pipe dreams to someday do work in a proper studio.

Another problem is that from the next paragraph, I’m led to believe that Eliza is this good at bass by middle school when she’s still only self taught, as far as I’m aware. I’m a little hesitant to let that fly, and would prefer it if you toned it down.

Eliza's middle school career passed uneventfully for the most part, she maintained tenuous connections with various peers that could be ended by any sort of morally dubious action on her part as she was hardly endearing enough to be forgiven for slights. Academically she benefited from the intelligence of Victoria, who was kind enough to share notes and tutor her in the quiet hours of the night at home, which were rare as Lucille was still in the home, and help Eliza with the subjects she struggled in like math and English. She had a taste for history, because as a subject it overlapped enough with her love of music to where she could study things like the history of music. She developed a taste for classic music in concert with Victoria, in particular she developed a respect for the raw power of Romantic era compositions. By no means did she have the ability to afford learning a more classically oriented instrument like she wanted to, but she would do things like translating the phrases from Chopin and Mussorgsky into compositions for her bass, which she'd play to whoever she could convince to listen, Victoria being the only really consistent admirer. Eliza's talent did win her at least some respect where her personality fell short, and some of the musicians in her peer group at least learned to stomach her for what she brought to the table, a trend that would continue into high school and Cochise's music scene.

In her high school years Eliza began to really develop a strong identity for herself as a talented musician. She had some affiliations with Chess Club, made some acquaintances in classes where she wasn't intimate enough to potentially alienate them with her more despicable social habits and practices, but it was in Cochise's burgeoning music scene where she really revealed the full spectrum of her character. Her talent and passion attracted all manner of friends and collaborators, those who only knew her in passing due to having seen her in the town record stores and not having shared a school life with her. She had some genuine admirers now, and had a broad enough pool of diverse friends to where even she couldn't drive all of them off. She continued to not learn from the lessons of the past and continued to passively be a toxic (Too slangy, please rephrase) and drama-inducing influence as her home situation had taught her to be. Her reputation never really improved, but at least more people were willing to stomach and tolerate her, and some people who got to see her good side. (Wasn’t she trying to stop being toxic in middle school because she learnt a lesson from those troubled years? Now that people are actually interested in her beyond shallow relationships, shouldn’t she be less likely to be a bitch towards them?)

In her Sophomore year her home saw a significant shift, when Lucille married a military man she'd been smitten with for most of her high school years and was able to move away with him to a base in the Pacific Northwest. The loss of her primary sparring partner meant a now years-embittered Haley could turn her full attention to Eliza and Victoria. At this point she couldn't logically deny that Eliza had massively surpassed her in skill and had a real shot of making it in the music industry, so she did exactly that. She grew incredibly critical, passive-aggressive, and spiteful, and threatened to take away and sell the guitar, among other far less savory threats. Eliza was used to holding her own and calling her mother's bluffs, and this time she actually had a clear upper hand. Daniel himself had also had enough of the mistake he felt he'd made in ever falling for Haley, and the house became an all out war between Daniel and Haley as he fought for his daughters, threatened separation and she fought back desperately tooth-and-nail. The focus pretty quickly shifted away from Victoria and Eliza, as they were smart enough to avoid the home when their father was at work so that they could avoid their mother's impotent but still annoying fury.

Eliza has thus largely been ousted from her own home, she's moved most of the important stuff she can to a friend's and she can often be found in one of Kingman's few music stores or trying to steal playtime from a friend. She'll take long walks around Kingman without purpose if she has nowhere to crash for a few hours, and she's come to enjoy the time to herself. She mostly reserves visits to the grandparents for when Victoria is free, since Victoria is also far more involved academically than herself. She's tried to grab herself some jobs to try and build capital for the vague plans she has to make a name for herself in music, but she's been fired from the two jobs, throwaway retail part time, she managed to land for poor work ethic and 'non-work conducive behavior'. That is to say, she's aggressively lazy and difficult to treat like a normal employee. (Please rephrase this. Again, profiles should be straight to the point.) She's not as worried about a rather poor resume and the blacklisting already against her; in general she is overconfident that everything will work out for her in the end.

This paragraph raises a few questions. Is Eliza actively living outside of the home at this point? When did she make a friend that she got on well enough with to trust her most important stuff with? What does her friend/friend’s family think of her moving in? Has no-one attempted to involve a social worker if Eliza’s trying that hard to avoid going home? You said the brunt of it started in her sophomore year, so I have to question when Eliza started working so hard to avoid being at home, particularly if she was still under 18 at the time.

Her peers find that she is now a rather relaxed girl if not provoked, but that it is best to keep her at a distance as Eliza is very easily tempted into 'borrowing' (No apostrophes, just to the point.) things and never finding the impetus to return them, and throwing temper tantrums and finding excuses to blame others for whatever whenever she has a reason to. She's also extremely gossipy and has developed a love for bad-mouthing people to others, both because it amuses her greatly and because it fits into her twisted ideas of how social discourse is supposed to work. (When did she develop these ‘twisted ideas’? What exactly are they? I don’t actually know that much about Eliza's opinion on how socialising is meant to work, just that she’s awful at it. She still mostly hooks up with others through shared interests, and has also taken to using her home situation to win pity points. Her social sphere is never particularly consistent, she mostly gravitates towards those who are a bit more forgiving and passive and thus easy to make friends out of and otherwise is in and out of friends groups depending on how willing they are to tolerate her at that particular time. Eliza is a girl who doesn't really seem to care much anymore, or at least in theory doesn't, she has her own understanding of the world and her place in it and she only has nasty words for anyone who dares to disagree. (This sentence has me raising a red flag that I’ll get to at the end of the profile.) She's also had no inroads into the world of romance, here for a lack of trying. She doesn't realize that she's asexual, never bothered to assign such a label to herself, as it simply has no factor on her life as a whole.

She still is far more lonely than she'd ever care to admit to herself, paranoid about how others think about her while pretending not to be, and she still struggles with a lack of understanding as to why she's socially where she is. (But you just told me last paragraph that she has an understanding of the world and her place in it. Which is it?) She's not used to reflecting on her own flaws, since her inflated and toxic (Again this is too slangy for the profile) ego and need to always be right and loud about it was all she ever learned from home, and she's never been really trained to think too hard on things outside of specifics like her board gaming or the like. She's insecure and all the more socially uncomfortable for it; often her mentality nowadays is a tenuous combination of desperate self-justifications for herself and mental sneering at others, that often leaks out into actual dialog.

Her Senior year is one she's only passing to the extent that she needs to graduate, in most classes she dials it in and often doesn't turn in homework, sans history as she still enjoys the subject and often likes to discuss trivia with the teacher. She has no intentions of going on to college, but is happy for Victoria's own intentions to go through Mojave on aid and try to impress a four year collage into a full ride scholarship with hard work. She mostly doesn't care about her home situation anymore unless she wants to goad her mother or her father needs reassurance that he'll come out the winner in the brewing divorce war.

Advantages: Eliza is self-assured and has a naturally strong rebellious spirit that will likely keep her mentally strong and capable of fighting when she needs to. She’s naturally good at inherently dominating arguments and verbally overpowering others due to how loud and brash she's been raised to be when trying to get her own way.
Disadvantages: She has a very poor sense of self-awareness and will likely especially struggle with ironing out the shortcomings that threaten her survival chances, she has a poor reputation at Cochise and a lot of people will naturally be suspicious of her due to her known attitudes, she's still got a temper and a tendency towards losing her cool that can be exploited, she's also overconfident by nature and this may hinder her if she cannot temper the tendency on island, she's not the most socially aware and does not read people well which may be a detriment to forming alliances. (Break this long paragraph up into smaller sentences, please.)
Honestly, a big concern of mine is that Eliza comes across as a pre-made player, a character who exists to start killing everyone once they get to the island.

A lot of the profile is spent on establishing how angry and torn up Eliza is inside. You repeatedly embellish her detachment from the rest of her class, and the sentence I pointed out towards the end suggests that she has little reason not to start killing everyone, since she ‘doesn’t care anymore’, and when you pile on just how troubled her past is on top of all that, she comes across as a ticking time-bomb ready to start murdering when she has the opportunity.

I’m sure that isn’t your intent, but I do strongly urge you to give this profile a good review in your next draft. I suggest trying to dial back the extremity of Eliza’s harsh existence and give her some more positive things to work with that will uplift her life a little bit more. Her relationship with Victoria’s a nice start, but the profile is still pretty heavily balanced towards how miserable Eliza is right now.

At the same time, you have a tendency to spend a paragraph talking about how detached Eliza is and that she’s content that way, then immediately follow it with how she’s actually pretty lonely and bummed out about it. It’s fine if she presents one thing but actually feels another, but at the moment the conflicting paragraphs come across more as Eliza being both simultaneously. It results in me not being really all that clear on what Eliza’s mind-set towards other people actually is.

There’s a fair amount of work to be done here, but I’m looking forward to seeing your next version of Eliza after you’ve made the changes and re-evaluated her a bit. Let me know by posting here when you’re done, and I’ll be happy to give her another look.
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Slam
Mr. Danya
Slam
Mr. Danya
Joined: August 11th, 2009, 7:39 pm

September 6th, 2015, 10:55 am #3

Having discussed Eliza with another member of the staff team, I've had some fairly significant issues pointed out that I need to bring up now, so that you can take account of them in your next edit.

At the moment, Eliza's behaviour at school is going to be raising red flags with the teachers because a lot of her behaviour is an indicator for physical or emotional abuse, and the people sent to investigate this are more than likely going to find something, because emotional abuse is exactly what's going on here. This is obviously going to lead to consequences.

Another concern is that Eliza's anger issues lead to the possibility that she might be emotionally disturbed. If that was the case, she would be undergoing psychiatric action at a higher level than a school counseller. In fact, she would be most likely be outright in a special education program at a special ed school. Even if she's not ED, she ticks a lot of the symptoms for Oppositional Defiant Disorder, especially as this behaviour has been lasting for years.

I think the point my fellow staffer and I are trying to make here can be summed up as Eliza's behaviour at present goes beyond just being antisocial and angry, she's coming off as potentially mentally ill. However, no-one at the school seems to have picked up on this and she's just coasting along with counselling and detentions, when in actual fact she would most likely be receiving a lot of treatment to try to get to the root of the issue and fix it.

I hope you'll keep this in mind when you're going over her in your next edit, because it will be very hard to get her approved if she's not displaying the ability to function in a normal school setting. After all, the trip is for average high school students, and if she's not mentally well then she won't be eligible to go on it.
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Cicada Days
Winner
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

September 6th, 2015, 1:03 pm #4

Daaaamn, alright. I've made the recommended edits, or at least I think I have. For a general idea of changes made:

- I've tried to reduce the home situation from 'horrifying' into 'character defining but not severe enough to necessitate social services intervention'. If it is still being read as too severe, a character concept like Eliza is probably just beyond my capacity for this version.

- I also tried to downplay Eliza's mental state as an issue. She's supposed to come off as socially difficult but not to degrees of mental illness. The part about stealing things might need some ironing out? I'd like it to stay, if we could give me suggestions for making it not overly exaggerated while keeping it a relevant trait.

- Made her talent reasonable for a girl her age. She's pretty good but not a prodigy, essentially.

- Generally just cut a lot of verbiage.

- Added some insight into her political leanings and how it affects her in school.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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Slam
Mr. Danya
Slam
Mr. Danya
Joined: August 11th, 2009, 7:39 pm

September 6th, 2015, 3:41 pm #5

Thanks for the edits, but I’m still concerned. You’ve left enough elements in there to have me worried that the original problem is being glossed over, because Eliza’s mother is still constantly arguing with her daughters, and Eliza and Lucille are still constantly arguing back. Coupled with the fact that she still has a period of being a huge trouble maker at school, and it reads to me that Eliza still has all the elements that were causing concern before, you’ve just been less explicit about the results of them this time.

Since Eliza’s still essentially acting the same way at school, I’m still lead to believe that it would lead to some investigations of her home life, which is still likely to have some rather drastic consequences considering that Haley’s still abusing her kids and husband.

I appreciate that you want Eliza to have it rough, but I’m sure you can appreciate that abusive backgrounds are really tricky to do reasonably, considering how much of an impact they can have on people, and we have to be very careful about how we approach them. It might be in the best interest for Eliza if you excise this element entirely, but if you’re determined to keep it then I really am going to have to see it given the consequences that it would facilitate.

There are still a few other things I’d just like to point out whilst we’re here, though.

First off, please remove apostrophes around words like ‘acquired’ and ‘borrowing’. The profiles aren’t trying to cover up for what Eliza and her father are really doing; If they’re taking without returning, then that’s what the profile needs to explicitly say. In general, you should avoid this kind of beating around the bush language when writing profiles.

For the record I don’t have an issue with her borrowing habits. Plenty of dicks out there borrow and never return, and it’s not a problem if you want to retain it for future versions.
wrote: Her major form of entertainment was a lonely hobby.
The phrasing ‘lonely’ hobby is still inappropriate. If it’s just a hobby that only takes one person, then it’s a solo hobby, not a lonely hobby, and if you mean lonely in the descriptive sense, then it’s getting too emotive for the profile, especially since the rest of the paragraph doesn’t refer to Eliza being lonely.

I’m also still not sure what Eliza likes about playing the guitar. I hear that she enjoys learning it herself because she thinks it puts her above others (or at least that’s the interpretation I got), but that doesn’t tell me why she got into the bass specifically in the first place. If it’s something her mother was quite into, doesn’t that stand a chance of actually making her less likely to take it up just for the sake of taking something up? If not, then we’re talking about an elementary school girl who took it up just to spite her mother, and kids aren’t generally that emotionally mature to recognise a means to spite people, especially when we consider tht Eliza's emotional state is already in a bad way.

School subjects like history still shouldn’t be capitalized. Senior year also shouldn’t be capitalized.


Let me know when you’ve made your next move and I’ll give her another look.
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Cicada Days
Winner
Joined: March 27th, 2015, 4:13 am

September 6th, 2015, 4:05 pm #6

Hmm. I don't think I can make this cohesively work, so I'll request Eliza be considered abandoned.
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
"C'mon! It's just a prank, bro."

- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4
Unofficial Theme : 'When it's clear to everybody I'm always the last to know.'
Extra art by Mimi! (1)
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
[+] Spoiler
Sprite credit to Yugikun (Beryl Mahelona, Gyu-ri Christensen, and Demetri Fustcher) and Fenris (Charelle Chernyshyova, Ramsey Cortez, and Joanne Coleman).
[+] Spoiler
Character Relationships (no longer updated)
Hero | Swap
[+] Spoiler

B036 - Dead
(Adopted from Yugikun)
[+] Spoiler
"And you were the one looking to pick a fight. Don't complain when you don't get the one you want."
- Memories - 1 2 3 4 5 - Pregame - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 - Sadie Hawkins - 1 2
[+] Spoiler
"Hope that's good enough."
- Arsenal - Bag of dried chipotle chilies (LOST)
- Island - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
- Meanwhile - 1 2
[+] Spoiler

G047 - Dead
[+] Spoiler
"It's Tina."
- Memories - 1 - Pregame - 1 - Sadie Hawkins -
[+] Spoiler
"You're nothing."
- Arsenal - The 'Man Catcher' (LOST)
- Island - 1 2
- Meanwhile - 1
- ??? - 1
Sprite credit to Fenris (Ben Fields) and Yugikun (Tina Luz).
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Share