by Karen Wiesner
Character Sketch Example
Character Name: Cassidy "Cass" Christopher
Age: 46 years old
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color/Style: Ebony black, short, feathered back but strands fall forward through the course of the day.
Build (Height/Weight): Lean, 6'2, 190 lbs. He's spent a lifetime doing manual labor. His muscles are not from bodybuilding but actual work.
Skin Tone: Lightly tanned.
Style of Dress: Either jeans or chinos with sweater. Prefers blue, black and green colors.
Characteristics or Mannerisms: He's attractive to women his age and half his age.
PERSONALITY TRAITS/BACKGROUND (Hero):
Cass is the quiet type, mostly because he has very few friends and he's out of practice. He enjoys listening to people talk more than talking himself. He's brooding, melancholy, very dedicated to his work. He worked alone for many, many years and this fit his personality. He' s a good boss though, and he feels most comfortable down in the factory rather than in his office, behind a desk. He's extremely intelligent. In school and college, he was the quiet one who tended to protect those being bullied. His wife, Evie, was his first girlfriend. She was shy, sweet and the type always in need of protection. She never had a career. She went from her parents to marriage at 18. His parents put him through college while he worked nights full-time in a furniture factory. That was where he gained a love of furniture and began making his own in his spare time. Evie got pregnant almost immediately. Cass loved his wife, but felt a dissatisfaction he never admitted to anyone. Didn't even like admitting it to himself. Evie was so frail and dependent on him for happiness. Cass never felt he could give her what she needed. She was unhappy most of the time until she had Maddie. Evie's death devastated him, more so because of his own guilt. Their daughter, Maddie, was only five and he had to be there for her. He was a good father, Maddie never lacked for love, but his feeling of being unable to give what was needed increased. He withdrew from the idea of dating until Maddie went to college and brought Robyn home that first time. In thirteen years, he'd had no desire for a relationship. Being attracted to a woman who went to school with his daughter, even one older than Maddie, embarrassed and made him realize he needed to start dating again. He convinced himself his attraction to Robyn was based on that.
A year later, he met Gabrielle. It quickly became an exclusive relationship. Gabrielle was a complete daredevil. (Her occupation-manager at a local restaurant.) She liked skydiving, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, Australian repelling, etc.-activities Cass was afraid she'd kill herself doing. He cared about her deeply, but every time Robyn came home with his daughter, he withdrew from Gabrielle and felt confused. Although he would never admit it to himself until much, much later, Gabrielle resembled Robyn in many ways-physically and in her vibrancy for life. His feelings for Robyn (which he tried to tamp down and explain away too many times to count) were too strong to allow him to make an ultimate commitment to Gabrielle. (He now believes Gabrielle knew he had feelings for Robyn.)
After a year, Gabrielle settled down although Cass never asked her to-outside of expressing concern that she might hurt herself being such a daredevil. She changed and became more like his wife had been-shy, unsure and totally dependent on him for happiness. Whenever Cass convinced himself he had a moral obligation (because he did care for her deeply) to either tell Gabrielle it was over or to ask her to marry him, Robyn would come home with Maddie and he would realize he wasn't ready for marriage with Gabrielle. And yet he needed her to create a buffer between him and Robyn.
Unbeknownst to him, Gabrielle had begun taking mood elevators and became addicted to them. She overdosed. She tried to call him and tell him but he had one of his headaches and didn't get to her in time.
His guilt crushed him again and his feeling that he couldn't give any of the women in his life what they needed and he couldn't protect them made him vow to avoid romantic relationships.
INTERNAL CONFLICTS (Hero):
Cass' internal conflict at the start of the book is the above. He can't reconcile his feelings for Robyn any way he turns. She's 8 years older than his daughter and she's always seemed so much older and...yes, wiser, but he's still convinced she's too young for him. Over the years, Robyn has become his best friend too. He talked to her (whenever she calls-he doesn't initiate) the way he's never been able to with any other person. She's smart, beautiful, full of life and hope. He loves to hear her voice, her laughter, see her smile. He simply loves watching her move when she's around. She's also completely independent and comfortable that way. He can't imagine her ever giving that up to rest all her needs on a single man. Yet he knows she would give everything for love.
She's like him--she's a protector, someone who takes care of those in need. She's like a mother to Maddie. Evie and Gabrielle were both dependent-on parents (Evie) and adventures (Gabrielle). Take those away and they put everything on him. He feels a connection with Robyn-mentally, physically, telepathically, timelessly.
EXTERNAL CONFLICTS (Hero):
His external conflict through the course of the book is to protect Robyn and his daughter against Natas Sevil's evil desire to destroy everyone he (Cass) loves. His headaches are debilitating and he feels he may be physically unable to be there when they need him.
Cass started out hand-making furniture. He made a lot of money on this, but not as much as he could have because he had a limited number he could make at a time. He asked Robyn's advice and she encouraged him to go into mass production. He did and his business is booming. He lives very comfortably.
Character Name: Robyn Warren
Age: 36 years old
Race: Probably a mix of German and Italian or Mexican.
Eye Color: "Blue denim", narrow shape with long, thick lashes.
Hair Color/Style: Long (mid-back), thick hair the color of highly polished cherry wood.
Build (Height/Weight): 5'11, 130 lbs. She's on the thin side because she's so tall. (She's a good eater though.) She exercises regularly. She "hides" her figure beneath over-sized sweaters, not because she's embarrassed, but because that's her style of dress.
Skin Tone: Golden tan, more so than Cass, from her heritage.
Style of Dress: Oversized, long, fuzzy sweaters. Beneath, shape-hugging stirrup pants or comfortably tight jeans. Rarely, long, narrow, flower-print skirts with her sweaters. Prefers blue, white, plum-darker rather than bright-colors.
Characteristics or Mannerisms: Robyn is attractive, comfortable with herself, but feels most men don't find her attractive because she's so tall. She also has very full, curvaceous lips and a long, aquiline nose that complements her and lends to the intelligence in her face. She frequently folds her legs up to her chest and rests her chin on her knees.
PERSONALITY TRAITS/BACKGROUND (Heroine):
Robyn is intelligent, confident, very comfortable with herself and extremely loyal to those she loves. Her adoptive parents brought her up to be independent and to make her own happiness, not to rely on anyone but herself and the Lord for it. She had a very happy childhood, but she grew up quickly because she frequently had to care for her older parents. She was always more mature and "future" thinking than the other kids she knew. By 14, she had a part-time job and got straight A's in school. She had very few friends (mostly computer "geeks") until she met Maddie. Robyn felt an immediate connection to her. Maddie was a wild one and seemed to need a mother as well as a best friend. Robyn loves Maddie as a mother and a best friend.
The very first time she met Cass, she was blown away. She fell in love almost immediately. She felt as though someone had shown her a piece of herself, the one she'd never be whole without. Despite the fact that she's a grown woman then, she knows Cass sees the 8-year age difference as a huge obstacle. She set her heart on him and vowed to exercise patience.
She was devastated when she found out he had a steady girlfriend. (Maddie never liked Gabrielle.) Robyn had tried to be friendly despite her own feelings, but she'd been hurt and jealous. She never acted on her jealousy in any way, although Gabrielle had been very unfriendly to her because she knew Robyn had feelings for Cass.
Strangely, Robyn and Cass' friendship increased after he started dating Gabrielle-at least whenever they were together (Robyn hadn't yet started calling him on a weekly basis at this time.) Maddie had had a steady boyfriend during that time, one who lived in Plover, near her father, and Maddie went home to see him at every opportunity. Robyn went with her at Maddie's insistence. Maddie had left her alone with Cass often, something neither of them minded. Gabrielle of course did.
While Robyn had been sad about Gabrielle's death, she couldn't help hoping the Lord was working to bring her and Cass together, as she believed they were meant to be.
Her senior year in college, Christmas, she decided age couldn't possibly be a factor any longer. She was ?? years old, a grown woman by all standards. She told Cass her feelings. She kissed him and felt his mutual feelings for her. Yet he rejected her.
Despite that, their friendship grew to the point that she was calling him at least once a week just to talk and catch up. (She'd encouraged him to expand his business when he asked her advice during one of these conversations.)
Her love for him was almost intolerable. She had her job, which she loved, and a life of her own but she wants to be with Cass more than anything. Infrequently, men asked her out and she was never tempted to say yes. Cass was the only man for her and she couldn't shake the conviction that someday they'd be together. James (a minor secondary character) has asked her out before, but she's never sure whether or not his flirtatious bantering is serious. She views him as a close friend, nothing romantic. While her boss is extremely attractive, she also feels no attraction to him either (and he's never shown any toward her.)
INTERNAL CONFLICTS (Heroine):
Robyn's internal conflict is her need to convince Cass they're meant to be together. She'll do whatever it takes. She's never tried to forget or ignore her declaration of love for him, despite his rejection. Each time they're together, she makes it clear (in a subtle, understated way) that she belongs to him and all he has to do is take what they both want.
Their psychic connection is very strong, even though they're at opposite sides of the country. Cass realizes that their communication is "real", but Robyn doesn't. She often feels he's right there with her. Believing it's not real, she indulges in the secret relationship (i.e. private fantasies enjoyed and reveled in by both of them, no inhibitions) happening between them. Cass believes it's the only way he'll ever be able to be with her, and since she doesn't realize it's real he allows himself to have it. Their "mind" conversations soothe and compel them to talk for real. Cass had realized it was real when all he would have to do is think "I want to hear your voice" and a second later the phone rang. He's also indirectly asked her some questions about one of their stolen moments and she'd taken the bait without realizing it.
The psychic connection began full-force after his rejection of her feelings.
EXTERNAL CONFLICTS (Heroine):
Robyn's external conflict is her fear for Maddie and the psychic connection she's suddenly developed with Natas Sevil. A part of her realizes she's in danger because of it. That this evil force wants to destroy her.
Robyn is Mac's assistant. She occasionally travels with him. She loves her job and makes a good living.
Secondary character: Madeline "Maddie" Christopher
Age: 27 years old
Race: same as Cass
Eye Color: Green
Hair Color/Style: Blond hair like her mother. Used to wear it down in long, spiral curls. Now wears it up most of the time. Her curls have gone slack.
Build (Height/Weight): 5'6, on the curvaceous side
Skin Tone: White
Style of Dress: Used to wear short, tight clothes. Now wears long, "hiding" dark clothes.
Characteristics or Mannerisms: Maddie is very attractive, was never without a slew of admirers, but after the attack she tried to hide her beauty.
PERSONALITY TRAITS/BACKGROUND (Maddie):
Maddie, though a Christian by choice like her father and Robyn, has always had a wild streak in her. Like her mother, she needs to be with someone, needs a man to protect her and make her happy. The men she's gotten serious with have ended up rejecting her because she's too needy, clingy and marriage-minded.
She loves her father, has always felt he gave her everything she needed in life, yet as soon as she met Robyn she knew she'd been missing a mother figure too.
Her attack: While she was waiting for her dad at a restaurant, she met Natas Sevil. He was the man of her dreams. She was completely under his sway. He promised her everything she ever wanted-love, protection, care, happiness. She agreed immediately when he suggested they go to her apartment.
Since the attack, she's been terrified because she knows how evil Natas is and yet a part of her is still infatuated with him. She can still hear him in her head and he still seduces her. She lives in terror but won't talk to anyone about it. Feels she's become evil and has fallen from grace. Her conflicted terror leads to her suicide attempt when she hears he's escaped custody.
After college, Maddie opened her own daycare center in Plover, called Guardian Angel Daycare Center. The children are all that makes her happy anymore.
Villain: Natas Sevil
Race: demon that can take the form of humans or animals (wolf, specifically)
Eye Color: preternaturally glowing, yellow eyes
Hair Color/Style: Has orangish red tufts over his ears, nearly bald
Build (Height/Weight): 5'4, medium
Style of Dress: Prison issue
Characteristics or Mannerisms: He's an unattractive man, yet he holds power over every woman he sets his eyes on. They see the man of their dreams.
PERSONALITY TRAITS/BACKGROUND (Villain):
The villain in SWEET DREAMS is the embodiment of evil and his goal is to destroy. In particular, he wants to destroy Cass, who is a protector of the women he loves. Cass has defenses against him and evil wants to triumph over good. Cass thwarted Sevil's effort to destroy Maddie. Unbeknownst to Cass, Natas had been trying to lure both Evie and Gabrielle to him. They killed themselves to escape him.
by Karen Wiesner
Setting Sketch Example
Name of Setting: Cass' home
Year or Time Period: Present day
Season: Winter (around Christmas-time)
City or Town: Plover
Description: It's a small, but fast-growing town in the heart of Wisconsin.
Description of hero's house: Cass lives on Hwy 54, in his parents' house (left to him after their deaths.) The barn no longer holds animals, but his workshop. He owns ?? acres. The property is surrounded by numerous types of trees. ?? feet from the house is a clearing. Cass' special oak tree--The Protector--that once grew in this clearing is now a stump. Cass' house resembles a "deluxe" log cabin (two story). Inside, handmade furniture. Warm and cozy. High ceilings, exposed beams, clear-finished wood. Wood-burning fireplace in the center with a bear rug in front of it. Kitchen is exposed so that it and the living room, where the fireplace is located, is one huge room.
by Karen Wiesner
Research List Example
1. Hero’s career (woodworking—-tools, techniques, wood types and uses, specifically how to carve the outer shell of a music box).
2. Heroine’s career. Note: The heroine’s boss is actually the hero in another of my books, so the research for her field has already been mostly done.
3. Trees (i.e., type of tree The Protector is).
4. Plover, Wisconsin. Note: I lived in Plover, Wisconsin at one point, so my research on the area came through that. The heroine lives in California, so I may need to do some research on that area.
5. Since this was my first paranormal, I may want to read many books by the masters of the genre to get a feel for how they create, build and effectively employ suspense and terror.
6. Will probably need to do some research on police procedural.
7. For my SWEET DREAMS soundtrack, put together "scary" songs, Christmas tunes since the book happens around that holiday, religious standards, as well as romantic and sexy numbers.
8. If I’d had no experience with the internet, I would need to research how to surf the 'net, as the heroine does that in this book.
10. Wisconsin wildlife (particularly wolves in Wisconsin and specifically in Plover).
11. Patron saints, to make sure "Christopher" is the patron saint of protection. Note: I later dropped this angle.
by Karen Wiesner
Plot Sketch Example
Natas Sevil, a demon who can take the form of man or animal (specifically, a wolf), is determined to destroy Cassidy Christopher by killing the women he loves.
Relationship between Robyn Warren and Cass. Specifically Cass' fear of failing to protect and meet the needs of the women he loves, which keeps him from giving in to the love between him and Robyn. And Robyn's determination to make him believe, like she does, that their love is destined.
Robyn and Cass' telepathic connection
Maddie's attack and her emotional state because of it, including her suicide attempt
Cass' headaches and his hair turning white
Maddie and Robyn's relationship, history and in the past year. Robyn's need for a family of her own
Robyn's computer/internet genius friend James. The research they do together on the "Sweet Dreams" killer
Connection between The Protector, the music box with "Nearer My God to Thee", the acorns and the albino dove
The mystery of who Sevil's "master" is, the one who unburied him and set him free
Cass' friendship/rivalry with Kevin Sheridan
Sheridan's brother Jimmy, whom Cass rescued when they were children, and Jimmy's problems as a direct result of that event
Maddie's shrink, Dr. Blomberg, and Robyn's suspicions that he doesn't have Maddie's best interests at heart
Cass' strained relationship with his neighbor McKee
Any form of tension in the book because of story goal and subplot threads.
Romantic/sexual tension between Robyn and Cass.
Temporary easement of either romantic/sexual tension between Robyn and Cass or plot tension because of story goal and subplot threads.
A glimpse of what happily-ever-after would be for Robyn and Cass if not for all the obstacles standing in the way.
Black Moment (one for Story Goal, one for Romance Thread)
Reader is lead to believe happily-ever-after may never be attained because the obstacles now appear monumental.
Tying up of story goal, romance thread, and subplot threads.
Aftereffects of Resolution (optional)
by Karen Wiesner
Summary Outline Example
Someone has unleashed an ancient evil bent on destroying Cassidy Christopher by eradicating the women he loves, one by one....
Hero: Cassidy Christopher, 48 years old, owns his own business, Christopher Classic Furniture, in Plover, Wisconsin, has one daughter-Maddie.
Heroine: Robyn Warren, 36 years old, assistant at Mackenzie Environment & Infrastructure, headquarters located in Los Angeles, California.
Cass and Robyn were introduced by his daughter Maddie. She and Robyn met in college. Since Robyn had no family of her own, Maddie brought her best friend home whenever she went herself. Robyn fell in love with Maddie's father immediately. Cass resisted, despite his own immediate attraction, for obvious reasons then. She was as young as his daughter. Over the years, the mutual attraction and friendship grew...as did Cass' reasons why he couldn't involve himself with this woman or any woman.
Eight years later, unexplainably, Cass and Robyn share a telepathic connection that she hasn't yet accepted is real. A mutual meeting of their minds is as vividly genuine as if they've met in the flesh. They can hear each other, see each other, feel each other. Over two-thousand miles between them, this seems harmless enough to Cass-a corporeal fantasy, the only way he'll ever allow himself to be with this woman who captivates him like no other ever has. In this shared, stolen time, he can love her in any and all ways; he can share himself and allow himself to be whole.
In the middle of a telepathic rendezvous, Robyn "wakes" suddenly to find her phone ringing. It's Maddie and she's hysterical with terror. She says "He's coming for me. I feel him. I hear him. He wants me."
A year ago, Maddie was attacked by a man named Natas Sevil. Her father has saved her from certain death, but she's been on shaky ground ever since, despite aggressive therapy.
Fearing Maddie may do something desperate, Robyn tries to keep her on the phone while she calls Cass on her other line. The line goes dead before she can dial. After attempting to get hold of Maddie again, she calls Cass and tells him something's wrong with Maddie, he needs to get over there right away.
Cass had felt Robyn pull away abruptly in his mind, but the blizzard raging outside his window took out the phone lines. Until Robyn called, he'd gotten nothing but dead air. It isn't until his headache comes back-something that's been gone for a year-that he knows something is wrong.
Driving through the blizzard that's dumped nine inches on Plover, he's overwhelmed with the memories of finding Maddie a year ago, fearing the same has happened again. Then too, the static in his head had been enough to split his skull wide open. He'd opened her apartment door to see black wind swirling all around. The cold in the room had been well below one of Wisconsin's hard freezes. The feeling of pure evil had repulsed him, but he'd seen Maddie in the center of the malevolence and he'd gone to her and taken her out of there with the heat from the demon's eyes at his back and its shriek in his ears.
The police had arrived on the scene immediately after, after a neighbor called the police because of the horrible screaming. What they lead out hadn't been a demon. It'd been a short man of medium build, with orangish-red tufts on his nearly bald head. And yet when Cass met his eyes, he'd known this was a creature that had almost killed his daughter. Natas Sevil had been taken to the Marathon County Jail in Wausau, where he'd killed a woman guard. His captors had been found, asleep like babies while the woman's bones had been crushed from the inside out with no visible outer wounds. Sevil has become known as the "Sweet Dreams" killer. He'd been recaptured that time.
Cass finds Maddie across her bed. She's taken an overdose of pills, but she still has a pulse. As he's calling 911, he sees she's written something on her mirror in blood red lipstick:
While waiting and worrying about Maddie and Cass, Robyn decides she has to go to them, in case they need her. Previously, in anticipation of the holidays, she'd booked a flight to Plover. She can't wait that long though. She e-mails her friend James Schultz, a computer/internet "enthusiast" and tells him goodbye. James contacts their boss, Wings Mackenzie, before Robyn gets a chance to and he shows up at her door. Mac offers her the company jet saying. Robyn tells him she's not sure when she'll be back. When she promises she will be back, she feels like she's lying. As she packs, she's drawn to the music box Cass carved for her out of his special oak tree. Inside is the acorn from that tree. She feels compelled to bring it along.
At the Plover Medical Center, Maddie is out of danger, but had to be sedated when she woke hysterical. Cass calls his life-long neighbor, Officer Kevin Sheridan. Cass and Sheridan are not enemies, not friends. They're amiable rivals. When they were teenagers, Sheridan's three-year-old brother Jimmy climbed the white oak tree on the Christopher property. The tree was one of the largest in Wisconsin and known to everyone in the area as "The Protector" because of the way its branches seem to be waiting to cradle someone. Although Cass had never dared climbed the tree before, he did to save Jimmy. That day, Sheridan vowed to repay Cass.
Sheridan reveals that Natas Sevil was being transferred from Wausau to Milwaukee that morning. The armored van stopped in Plover, at a fast food restaurant. The guards were found, still clutching their guns, fast asleep. The woman who served them through the drive-thru window was found in the back parking lot. All the bones in her body had been crushed, no visible outside wounds. Sevil has escaped custody. Due to the storm, no tracks were found. It's believed he escaped on foot on Highway 54, which is a road that leads both to Maddie's apartment and Cass' cabin. Witnesses reported seeing something through the blizzard that resembled a wolf, but upon getting closer saw it was a man.
Sheridan was the first on the scene after Maddie's attack. Since then, Sheridan has ridiculed Cass for his belief in "hocus pocus." The police don't believe that Sevil isn't human, despite his unexplainable murder modus operandi.
Cass calls in Sheridan's vow when he asks him to protect Maddie. Sheridan agrees he'll do whatever he can to make sure Maddie is protected.
When Cass calls Robyn to fill her in on what's happening, she tells him she's coming there. Cass agrees to pick her up from the airport. He has doubts about allowing her to come, for personal reasons, but deep down something tells him she has to be here.
Robyn's feelings for Cass haven't abated at all, she immediately realizes when she sees him waiting for her at the airport. They go to Maddie's bedside without detour.
As a newborn, Robyn had been left in a church pew with a note that said "Keeping you, precious Robyn, would be an even greater sin than the one I've already committed." The pastor of the church and his wife, well past childbearing age, had longed for a child throughout their marriage. They adopted Robyn and loved her as their own. They died when she was eighteen, leaving Robyn completely without family. In college, she met Maddie, who became her best friend and, in many ways, her child. Maddie's own mother had died when she was five. Maddie was wild and needed the gentle love and mothering Robyn gave her. Seeing Maddie lay so motionlessly now breaks Robyn's heart.
Maddie's psychiatrist, Dr. Blomberg, tells them the coma is induced by fear; Maddie 's subconscious mind is protecting her from further harm. He believes she'll come out of it soon.
Robyn's has disliked Maddie's shrink from the first time Maddie mentioned him. He' s diagnosed Maddie as having paranoid delusions. Robyn believed Maddie and Cass when they said they encountered a demon. Beyond her spiritual belief in such things, she knows Cass is a practical man. He's not given to flights of fantasy or paranoid delusions.
When they arrive at Cass' cabin a few miles off Highway 54, Robyn suggests they walk around first before going in. They find the padlock to the barn Cass had converted into his woodworking workshop broken into and footprints in the snow. Cass assumes it was one of the McKee boys (Cass' neighbor to the west) because they'd broken in before.
Once inside the cabin, Robyn notices his headache is worse. He'd seen doctors when they first started in his 20's but they never did him any good. She touches him and he says "Don' t." In his mind, he says to her. When you touch me, honey...I want you.
What had seemed harmless over the distance between them now seems inescapably dangerous. With their telepathic connection, they've gone beyond the bounds of close friendship. He's used to reaching for her whenever he needs her. Now he has to push her away to maintain the distance of friendship.
by Karen Wiesner
Miscellaneous Notes Example
Robyn is a Christian, so is Cass. They went to church together often while Maddie was off doing other things with her friends.
Maddie has settled down after Natas' first attack. She lives alone, doesn't date, goes to church regularly, owns a daycare center and that seems to be the only thing that brings her out of her fear. Whenever Robyn visited her since college and the attack, Maddie had seemed like she just wanted to lock her door and never face the world again. Before, Maddie always loved life, adventures, taking chances. Whenever Robyn tries to talk about it with her, Maddie says she's OK and not to worry. Robyn does anyway.
Book is titled SWEET DREAMS because the villain is called the "Sweet Dreams Killer." He preys strictly on females, lulls men to sleep, then kills the women by breaking their bones from the inside out with no visible wounds on the outside. (He's not human but can take the form of a human or animal.) He crushes them in a death hug.
Villain's name is Natas Sevil. He was supposedly born in Russia. No birth date is found for him. Robyn later finds dates throughout history of a killer who crushed women from the inside out with no visible wounds. Called The Crusher, LadyKiller. Every ?? years, the sleep comes over him, sleeps for ?? years, then he's reborn for ?? more.
Cass is an insomniac and has intense headaches. He hasn't had them in years, but they're coming back recently.
Cass has a special tree he grew up with. When it died, he kept the 2 seeds (acorns). He gave one to Robyn, in the music box. He doesn't know why he did this. He tells her they're magic. He keeps the other acorn himself. This is really special to Robyn.
When Natas is going into his ?? year sleep, he starts to lose form, becomes a "spirit" and sinks into the ground with a woman to sustain him during his years of sleep.
The music in the music box lulls Natas to sleep. Then they lock the music box so he can't get out of it (though, if he's not in it, he'll rise again). They bury it, then they have to plant the acorns over the top of the box to keep the demon caged. The tree that forms out of the acorns grows overnight. The tree is called The Protector by everyone in town. It's protected the Christopher men through the ages.
Robyn does a lot of research on the internet and reads biographies of serial killers. On the internet, she finds an expert on Natas Sevil. He tells them how to bury it so it can't rise again.
by Karen Wiesner
Closing Scene Notes Example
Once, when Cass' headache is really bad, Robyn tells him to lie down and she strokes his temples. His headache disappears when she touches him and when they kiss he feels better than he's felt in years.
Natas is in the hay mow of Cass' barn, waiting for his chance. If he can't get to Maddie, this woman (Robyn--whom he saw in Chapter Three, scene 2) will do just as well. He wants to punish Christopher-it was what he was created to do. He doesn't have much time. The ?? year sleep is coming. He's almost at the end of his ?? years. With Cass around, he can't even get near Robyn. Cass blocks his power to mesmerize Robyn.
When Cass goes out, Robyn wakes in a trance state and starts to leave the house in just her pjs. She's halfway across the yard to the barn when Cass comes home and stops her.
The first time Cass and Robyn make love, when Cass starts to doubt slightly whether he should break his vow to love, the room turns icy cold. They both feel very strongly that they're being watched and that some evil presence is nearby. When he stops, he says "Do you feel that?" She says "Yes. Don't stop. Don't change your mind." The evil backs off, the room gets warmer and warmer. After, she says "I always knew I belonged to one man. You." A dove is in the window.
One night, she feels something in the room with her. She prays. First a dove appears, then Cass does. He can't sleep. He takes her downstairs, makes her hot chocolate when all she wants is him. She falls asleep next to him, in the crook of his arm. He carries her upstairs. She asks him not to leave. He ends up falling asleep beside her.
Cass and Robyn decorate the Christmas tree together, cook dinner, both missing Maddie. When Robyn tells Cass about her job, Cass comments on how close she seems to be to her boss. Robyn says "Yes, we're close friends." Cass realizes he's jealous.
Very last chapter, 100 years later. It's been a Christopher family tradition to tell their children about the demon buried beneath The Protector. This ancestor doesn't believe it. Walking with Golden Retriever. Dog stars to whimper and dig beneath the tree. He hears music playing beneath the ground and starts to dig.
Button design by Karen Wiesner.
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