I believe good fiction is all about change. If there’s no difference between the characters at the beginning and the end of a novel, a memoir, even a non-fiction screed, I’m likely to end up dissatisfied. I want the characters to go through discomfort and maybe even a little pain, and to come out the other end reborn through the experience.
Though it’s never mentioned in the book, when I wrote The Weird Sisters, I did a lot of research on Saturn’s Return. Here’s a nice summation of Saturn’s Return from Uncle Wiki:
The Saturn Return is an astrological phenomenon that occurs at the ages of 27-30, 58-60, 86-88, etc., coinciding with the time it takes the planet Saturn to make one orbit around the sun. It is believed by astrologers that as Saturn “returns” to the degree in which it occupied at the time of birth—approximately every 29.5 years—a person crosses over a major threshold and into the next stage of life. With the first Saturn Return, a person leaves youth behind and enters adulthood. With the second Return, maturity. And the third and usually final Return, a person enters wise old age.
I call The Weird Sisters a belated coming-of-age novel. There is a reason my characters are 27, 30, and 33- I wanted them to be on the cusp of great change, to be pushed into places where they confront the lives they have created and acknowledge -and change – the pieces that aren’t working. My own first Saturn’s Return period was absolutely fraught with change, and I believe it was largely because I was trying to stuff myself into a place where I didn’t belong, and the universe was saying, “Umm, no. Try again.” I’m interested to see what happens next time Saturn comes around and where I’ll be.
What about you? Have you survived your own Saturn’s Returns?