I haven’t seen the movie that made the front pages of all French newspapers yesterday, and only remember the main actor in it from a French TV series based on a Québécois sitcom called Un Gars, Une Fille. Yet, I cut out the page dealing with it, in yesterday’s La Dépêche. Why? Maybe the story is apocryphal, maybe not; according to it, at a time when the movie couldn’t find a distributor in the States, the film’s director told his wife he would put it out as a DVD so that the actors and the film crews could get to see their own performances. The rest of the article being the story of The Fabulous Rise from Nowhere of a quintuple Oscar-winning movie.
Do I see my own stories as achieving that kind of rags to riches success? In a tiny mind cubbyhole, what writer doesn’t? What made me cut out the page was something else. The something being; you believe in what you’re doing? You stick to it. Success may come; or not. If it does, enjoy. If it doesn’t, you’ll have done what you set out to do in the first place.
In my case: that something is nailing the damn story right. How? By paying attention to it. By getting the mix of voices right. What is right, in this case? I can’t define it other than in that feeling of: yes, this is the sentence as it should read; same for the paragraph; same for the scene. Yes, this is where this incident should play; yes, this is the order in which the story tells itself.
Not there yet? No. The boys, for one. Which ones? Are some of them redundant? Would their presence make more sense in another draft – in which case they would become a passing evocation in this one, and no more ?
Meanwhile, the river meanders through that town; upstream, down, and the places in between.