I had envisioned the newest project as a mystery novel with some paranormal elements. In the back of my mind, I thought of it as Sherlock Holmes meets Medium.
Then I had a long car trip with my husband and family. My husband is my best sounding board and I started to talk out the main story arc of the novel. He asked wonderful questions and made thoughtful comments. By the time we got to Quebec (7 hours later!) the tone of the novel had changed fairly radically to a thriller, told through two major POV, a young woman named Isabel, a 'closet empath' and Dr. Hallowell, a psychiatrist who invented a 'treatment' for hyper-empathy.
Isabel is a freelance journalist whose older sister was one of Dr. Hallowell's first patients 20 years before the start of the story.
The doctor is convinced that he is doing a great service to these children, even though Isabel believes that the treatment damages them.
The external conflict centers around the disappearence of Isabel's sister. The internal conflict is Isabel's need to hide her empathic abilities and Dr. Hallowell's crisis of conscience when he realizes his work is being co-opted for political gain.
The characters are becoming clear and I've begun the opening scenes in addition to the worldbuilding I've already completed.