Question of the Month: Work in Progress

by Susan Henderson on June 6, 2011

How’s your progress going? Are you outlining? Winging it? Do you set mini goals for yourself? I’d like to hear how you’re approaching your work in progress.

As UP FROM THE BLUE continues to have a life of its own (that’s the cover of the Dutch version that was just released in May), I am busy with the next book.

I’m taking a different approach this time. I’m outlining and focusing on the plot, working out all the knots that are easier to spot when the action is condensed. I’m doing this to avoid the kinds of trouble I had editing the last book so that I don’t have to unstring it once I have scenes and sentences I love.

This is where I am in the process. That mess to the right is research.

The voice for this book is starting to pipe into my head with real clarity, and this character wants badly to begin narrating the story. But I’m not allowing that just yet. I’m determined to nail the twists and turns of this plot before I let myself  loose to do what I love the most: dive deep into the human heart, find the language to describe what I find there, and discover the many surprises that, despite all my planning, won’t reveal themselves until my characters lead me to them.

So I’m here in my office (the awesome quilt is from my mom) and working away. Can’t wait to hear how your projects are going!


In other news, I had a great time at the Backspace Conference on a panel with my editor and my agent, where we discussed literary fiction and the chemistry required to work well as a team. UP FROM THE BLUE had nice reviews in both The Daily Mail and The Sun (the two biggest-selling papers in the UK), as well as the Dutch magazine, Libelle. And closer to home, thank you book bloggers StacyknowsBookBelle, Her LucidityMikel K at the Open Salon, and Betsy’s Book Club for reviewing my book—cool sites worth checking out! Finally, not to leave out my kids: They just finished their final exams, played a killer talent show (guitar and keys on Dream Theater’s Dance of Eternity), and are now enjoying a much-needed summer break.

Ooh, one last thing: If anyone is looking to redesign their websites, I can’t recommend Shatterboxx enough! I asked them to simplify my site and make it match the colors of my book and make it easy for newcomers to find their way. Check out their page and you’ll see how varied and uncluttered and truly artistic their ideas are. (They also have a design blog!) And if you’re interested in what you see, tell Jamie and Nicole I sent you so they treat you extra nice!