Some years ago, I worked feverishly on a novel manuscript. Banged out 60K words in a six or eight-week frenzy, during a lull in regular work, religiously getting four, manuscript formatted pages a day, with Sundays off, if I recall. I don’t recall.
Reading and rereading a variety books lately, novels, I found myself tearing up at sappy plot points.
I realized — in a moment of reverie — that I had plotted that sappy element into my own novel, but it didn’t work right, and I couldn’t make it work right because I was too close to the subjects.
“A writer must not be afraid to kill his own children,” to paraphrase a great Southern author.1 (Hi Mom.)
Mercury in Retrograde
As a part of the requisite “Mercury in Retrograde Protocols” I’ve long since established, and I use, to move in concert with the little planet’s errant distractions?
My previous Mercury Retrograde rituals tend to include coffee in bulk, “Reversing” candles, maybe sage, incense, and a couple of recurrent projects — like that old manuscript.
During the next few weeks, I’ll unearth that file, page through the material, marveling at the words, correcting minutiae, and wondering why I can’t send this out again.
That recent moment of reverie, I reread one novel, then read a current current selection, then went back to another author’s latest. Good stuff, some amusing material, and then, there’s that moment, I realize I have to the nuts and bolts, the pieces are all there, but mine is missing “heart.”
Mercury in Retrograde
I had too many moving part and an unconscious level of personal crap layered into that work. While I refuse to retire it completely, I might be less inclined to dig through it this time because I understand, now, what it is missing.
Often, it’s deemed “un-writerly,” and in some circles, bad luck to discuss ongoing works. This is like, the third novel manuscript I’ve done, and it’s like the third that seems to be less than a critical success.
Not failure, other than, yes, “Failure is an option,” but more along the lines of a notable and noble exercise — with less than stellar results. Not bad. Not good, either, but not bad.
Mercury Retrograde brings up old memories like this.
the Portable Mercury Retrograde
Portable Mercury Retrograde – Kramer Wetzel
Portable Mercury Retrograde: astrofish.net’s Mercury in Retrograde