Resurrection of a Manuscript

By definition, resurrection means coming back from the dead. The word is appropriate is because this is exactly what happened to my first attempt at writing a novel, a book with the working title of Moscow Airlift.

Tom Clancy’s first three books – The Hunt for the Red October, Red Storm Rising, and Patriot Games – were already on my bookshelf and I thought that I could write something that good! So, I started pecking away.

It didn’t take long to figure out that I didn’t have a clue. Over the next few months and years, I kept at it, determined to finish the manuscript. A lot of things got in the way – raising kids, Desert Storm and Shield, working – got in the way. It took almost three years to finish the first draft and I put my heart and soul into the story line.

Back in those days, word processing software was, if not its infancy, certainly not what it is today. At the time, I preferred a long forgotten package called Samna. Along with Word Perfect, and WordStar, they are part of the dustbin of software history. Parts of Moscow Airlift were written in all three and getting them into one version of Microsoft Word was, back in those days, a challenge. But, I digress.

Even then, I knew there were a lot of things wrong with the book, e.g. it was way, way too long at almost 280,000 words and the plot was overly complex. Nonetheless, I tried to “sell” it to agents and a couple of publishers. One looked at the manuscript and said, you’ve got the format right but it needs a lot of work!

He was right. Life interfered and I put it on the electronic shelf where it stayed until about 2012. Several agents and publishers via either their query guidelines or in e-mail exchanges wanted to know whether Big Mother 40 was part of a series or a one-trick pony. I was arrogant (dumb?) enough to say yes and added Moscow Airlift to the list of titles along with short blurbs about the plots. None of which existed outside the recesses of my mind.

Now, five books into the Josh Haman series and it was time to look at Moscow Airlift again. I hadn’t looked at the manuscript in years. Looking at the dates on the files, the last time I did anything was 2013 when I reworked the 1999 version and got it down to about 155,000 words.

Fast forward to 2017 and I needed a book to follow Inner Look. It was either Moscow Airlift or The Kurile Wedge Incident. Originally, I thought The Kurile Wedge Incident would be next. However, after a pass at it, I decided to swap the two and make Moscow Airlift book six.

Yesterday, I literally finished the last edit before it goes to a publisher. Is it perfect? No. Is it a lot better than either the 1999 or 2013 versions? Absolutely. Is it a great story? Only you, as a reader can tell.

Right now, it is only partially resurrected. If and when it comes out, it will be fully resurrected in that it rose from the world of dead manuscripts.

Marc Liebman

May 2017


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