Published: February 16th, 2016
All of Cate's problems are in her head. That may be her greatest strength.
Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother's suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a program with Dr. Angeline MacGregor, run by her stern son, Ben, and housed in a repurposed church. Cate doesn't quite understand what the program entails, but she soon learns that the skills she will develop there may not only help her learn how to cope with her own problems, but will also lead her to a much greater purpose.
The MacGregor Group is a collection of alternative healers whose unconventional approaches include crystals, aura reading and psychics. They know that their life's work invites skepticism, and welcome the chance to prove naysayers wrong. But they need the unique abilities that Cate can bring, and as she slides ever closer to her own abyss, they will do everything in their power to protect Cate from those who wish her harm -- including herself.
Controlling the Characters
I imagine that the process of creating characters works differently for each writer, and maybe even changes for the same writer over time. For me, though, when it came to writing ALL THE BROKEN PLACES, I didn’t feel as though I was creating characters at all. Rather, the characters seemed to be already fully-formed, and they revealed themselves to me slowly over time.
It started with introductions—just bits and pieces at first. My brain began whispering to me about imaginary people, saying things like, “Meet Ben. He runs a paranormal healing clinic.” Later, more details would be filled in, like Ben is also a psychologist and a Marine Corps veteran. The same happened with my heroine, Cate, and with the others in the story.
It felt like a process of discovery rather than of creation. I would find myself at dinner, or driving, or doing chores around the house, and my thoughts would be taken over by the characters’ monologues or conversations with one other. I began to understand them more deeply, to care about them, and to get inside of their heads and hearts.
Eventually, a tipping point was reached. There was so much going on in my mind with these characters that I felt compelled to put it down on paper. The more I wrote, the more they talked, and the more distinct they became as individuals. As the novel’s plot unfolded, I could predict what they would say and how they would react in given situations. Now, as I continue writing the next books in The Healing Edge Series, I feel as though I know all of the characters well, like close friends—although like friends, they can still surprise me.
The topic of this post was suggested to me because my author bio says, “Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments.” And since that is definitely true, perhaps the title of the post, “Controlling the Characters,” is misleading. I don’t actually control them at all. Rather, they give me a window into their world, and sometimes they do make me laugh spontaneously, particularly when Cate and Ben start sparring.
So the next time you’re at a movie or concert or a lecture and you hear someone laugh when nothing at all funny has taken place, try to cut them a little slack. After all, it may be a defenseless author caught off guard by a comedic moment in the theater of the mind.
Author and plant lover Anise Eden spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren’t there.
On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue.
Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments.