Stand By Me: A Story and an Arc

I just finished watching the movie Stand By Me, which honestly, along with Goonies has to be one of my all time favorite films. Yeah sure, I’ve seen the classics, and I am a lover of film, but those movies appeal to the youngest part of me, the part that I like the most.

I’m sure there is a sense of nostalgia that I get when watching the film, after all I was the same age as those boys when the movie was made, and my heart throbbed for River Phoenix, especially River as Chris Chambers, but as an adult and as a writer there are other things I like about the story.

The kids are at that age when things will change in life it’s their last chance to really be kids before getting thrust into the world of puberty, and then the pressures and stress of the onslaught of adulthood, that let’s face it, adults lie about. Remember thinking that once you became an adult things would get so much better, that things would make sense? What a slap in the face adulthood is, but we don’t know that then we just know we are going to be teens, and we all know that being a teen is hell, we know it before we become a teen, and we know it when we get out alive. Eleven, twelve: the last years when we can still play and still be kids.

We start out with the setting in a small town not much to it, but it is the whole world, and then there is a quest, in this case, a quest to find a dead body, and then there is the journey, along the journey things happen things are revealed and discovered. Finally, the quest is complete, but it isn’t what was expected, then the “bad guys/the obstacle” confronts for one final blow, one final test, and then there is the return home, but home is not the same, home is smaller now and the character’s are different, changed somehow.

As I was watching the movie, inter-dispersed between still reacting to the film, still laughing in the same spots, still getting stressed when the train is coming, still feeling empathy and remorse during certain scenes, I was thinking about my own book, Zizkov. Annabelle, the main character, is well into her late 20’s, but still she is on a journey. She is coming from one place and moving into another with a certain expectation, and along the way there are things that slowly change her. I have a journey story. Oh, I think many of us do, but I think I have a standard coming of age journey story- only age has already come.

I had the over whelming desire, while watching the film to really write a good story. I have to be honest and say I read Nathan Bransford’s latest post, and it depressed me a bit: Less people buying books, less publishers wanting to represent, and more people wanting to get a book published. Only the best of the best need apply or query, in book lingo, give the publishers and agents 110%. But what if your 110% is below the average? I would like to see my book published one day, and more than that, I would love to be a writer, paid and able to say, writing is my profession. Fame and lots of money are not important to me, just a small publication, just enough to eat and pay rent, but I’m not a 110% person. I know my book will never be a best seller. It just isn’t going to sell to a large mass, it isn’t, it’s simple and about a short time in a person’s life. There are no vampires or dragons, no crazed killers or bodice ripping moments, just a woman living in Prague with a bunch of people who do not want to live “normal society”, and many with some drug problems- par for the course-. I wonder why I keep working on it. If I know I will never be able to reach the expectations, and demands of the literary world, why do I keep writing it? Well, I suppose there is a sense or a need within me that wants to tell the story, even though its not brilliant. I do know there are some people who would like it, I know of one person in particular who likes it, (he is reading it as I write) if anything, I’m writing it for him, for that one friend, but also I would love to hold it in my hands in print and hope that at least some people some where enjoyed it. I’m hoping that there will still be some small publishing companies out there who will want it, who ask for 100% and not a 100% of what the competition is doing but my own personal 100%.

Its funny how a movie about children searching to find the remains of a dead boy can spark in me a need to keep working on my book, and finish through to the end, but oddly it does and it did. God, am I saying my book is a dead body? I bet part of me is, part of me thinks I am wasting my time, but another part thinks you don’t know what is on the other side of the woods at or at the end of the journey, you can’t stop halfway through. True, and besides, it is after all my time, and what else am I going to do with it? I mean, I am a writer.

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