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Sixteen Lovers Part 2

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Casting Characters
Last week, we began our exploration of the character mannequins presented in Story Building Blocks II and Build A Cast Workbook. Remember, each mannequin has a male/female/adrogynous counterpart. This week, we explore four more.

5. Blair

Blair’s currency is affection and admiration. If she isn’t praised for being wonderful, she deflates. She would be deeply wounded if anyone demeaned her. At the first sign of disapproval in any form, she’s gone in a flash of lightening. Blair places her relationship on top of the list. She wants a long-term commitment. She struggles to choose, but sticks with her choice forever if possible.

Blair loves deeply but is slow to warm up. Her partner may not understand just how much she cares. Few people know her extremely well. She is secretly intense while appearing outwardly light-hearted. She is vulnerable and easily hurt, though she won’t tell her partner. She expects him to “see” he has hurt her. She is disappointed when he doesn’t. When hurt, she withdraws. She hates conflict and goes to great lengths to avoid it. She is an easy going partner. She doesn’t ask for, or expect, a lot. She is traditional and organized and takes care of what needs to be done. She wants to be adored for it.

Blair feels attacked when an argument gets heated. She releases all the negative impressions and feelings she has repressed. She isn’t likely to leave, even if her partner is dissatisfied. She stays and works it out if at all possible. If she found herself with a partner who revealed his secret life, she’d try to deal with it, but eventually the negativity would chase her off.

Blair is serious about sex. It is a sacred act that should be given the time and attention it deserves. She is sensual and enjoys the physical expression of love. She shows her love through this communion. She needs positive affirmations to feel good about herself but doesn’t offer them. The SMBD subculture is the opposite of her core need.

6. Dallas

Dallas wants to be adored for being Dallas. She wants her partner to appreciate her sense of fun and adventure. Everything is fun until the party is over. She likes exploring all the options. Once she commits, she intends to stay. She might not if the situation grows tense. She always wonders if there are better bachelors behind other doors. Dallas might take up SMBD as a sport as long as it doesn’t get too heavy or intense. The minute things turn dark, she’s off to chase the sunshine.

Dallas is passionate and fun-loving. She cares about her partner’s happiness. She is flexible and open to suggestion. She takes her partner’s emotional temperature frequently, which irks some mannequins. The problems set in when she encounters conflict and confrontation. She takes criticism, even objective statements, as a personal attack. Her partner would have to be very, very careful of what he said. Conflict stresses her. She represses her initial response for the sake of smoothing things over, but continues to fester. She gives in to avoid a protracted disagreement. She ignores a problem until she can’t. This just delays the inevitable.

Dallas is loyal and views it as her responsibility to fix things that aren’t working. She isn’t one to give up easily. If things get too intense, restrictive, or boring, she moves on. She finds it hard to do so and blames herself for the failure.

Dallas is playful and creative. She has a rich fantasy world which she applies to sex. She sees sex as a natural expression of her love. She needs positive affirmations. She may fish for reassurance and compliments. If she doesn’t get them, she lavishes them on her partner in the hopes of sparking them.

7. Hadley

Hadley wants to be adored for breathing. Since she is adorable, her partner usually complies. If the adoration fades, trouble sets in. She would be deeply offended if anyone criticized her, much less spanked her. The relationship would die off instantly.

Hadley isn’t overly interested in being tied down (or tied up). She places a relationship on the back burner. She struggles with long-term commitment and likes to explore all the bachelors. Hadley loves to be in love and struggles when the initial adrenaline rush tapers. She may overcome her desire to flit and settle down, as long as the relationship isn’t too restrictive or her partner too critical.

Hadley loves to date and encourages her partner to enjoy life as much as she does. She is weak at planning and follow-through. She takes every day as it comes and wants to grab the gusto. If that means changing plans, she changes plans. She doesn’t ask for much. She wants to be happy and wants her partner to be happy. She schedules a busy social life. She changes things to keep them from becoming dull, whether it’s rearranging the furniture or their lives. She hates to miss out on anything she considers fun. She doesn’t like vague promises or “we’ll see” as an answer. If you stated it, you promised. She is bored by analyzing the past and worrying about the future. Tomorrow will take care of itself. She ends a necessary conversation. She would not deal well with someone who likes to debate for fun.

Hadley isn’t good with conflict and lashes out angrily in the moment with words she can’t take back. She retreats when criticized or restricted. A controlling partner sends Hadley off to find someone more fun to play with.

Hadley energetically embraces romantic love. She seeks out and enjoys intimate contact. She is tactile and sensual. She is generous, warm, and highly motivated to make her partner happy. She is lavish with loving affirmations. She isn’t big on gifts, but can provide them when requested. She might go along with her partner's suggestions as long as they remain playful. The moment the tone shifts, she’s gone.

8. Shelby

Shelby wants to be honored and respected. As long as her partner makes her feel respected, things are fine.

She is loyal and committed. If she isn’t in a permanent relationship, she continually searches for one. Once committed, she places her relationship at the top of her list. On a subconscious level, she feels vaguely dissatisfied with all of her relationships because they are never truly “ideal.”

Shelby seeks a harmonious, loving relationship and works hard to make it a success. She may need reminders to do the bill-paying and housekeeping. She often pushes routine tasks to the bottom of the priority pile. That annoys a partner who expects her to be on top of things. Once committed, she may romanticize a bad relationship in her own mind as a form of protection.

She may attribute virtues to her partner that he lacks and place him on a pedestal. She struggles to reconcile the idealistic romance novel relationship with the demands of a real one. She overlooks imperfections for the sake of connection. She avoids conflict and confrontation. So if her partner decided he wanted to play a few games, she’d be offended. 

If she ends up with a partner that is all action, no talk, she grows resentful. She values personal space and the freedom to do her own thing. If her partner respects and supports her, she thrives. She is not the possessive or jealous type. She understands her partner’s need to indulge in his own pursuits. She respects his privacy and independence. She rejects hints that something is going on and firmly defends her partner while secretly worrying that she has done something wrong to drive him away. She might not join in, but could turn a blind eye to her partner's afterhours hobby.

Shelby resents a controlling spouse, so the minute a partner tried to dominate her, she’d start figuring out a way to escape. Her need to avoid conflict and criticism is a problem. No matter how a comment is presented, she takes it personally. She responds with irrational emotion. Her distress, and immediate assumption that she is somehow at fault, make her lash out. She manipulates her partner through guilt to obtain the positive feedback she craves. It is a very unhealthy dynamic. She would not leave easily, but will if things become unsatisfactory enough.

Shelby is slow in letting someone close. Once trust has been established, she embraces the opportunity to express her intense love and affection. She is affirming and affectionate. She values the romantic aspect over the physical aspect. She places her partner’s pleasure above her own.

Next week, we will meet four more mannequins.

For more about how to craft characters, pick up a copy of Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, available in paperback and E-book and Story Building Blocks: Build A Cast Workbook, available in paperback and E-book.

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