Revenge is not all it is cracked up to be

On July 2nd, I finished the total rewrite of MOSCOW AIRLIFT.  It took about six months.  Technically speaking, it is the first manuscript I ever completed way back in 1988.  The original plot was complex – maybe overly so – and had interesting twists and turns.  When I finished the first draft, something told me that as good as it was, it wasn’t good enough.  So, I put it aside and started on another one which had the working title, THE KURILE WEDGE INCIDENT.  I didn’t like where that manuscript was going and just stopped.  Looking back, I think it was because I didn’t know how to write a novel.

Fast forward to 2014, 16 years later.  Something was keeping me from tackling MOSCOW AIRLIFT and fixing it which meant either a major editing or rewriting project.  Honestly, I don’t know what….  So with BIG MOTHER 40 and RENDER HARMLESS out, I made a New Year’s resolution to re-do MOSCOW AIRLIFT using the lessons I’ve learned.  It was, in some ways, much harder than I thought and in others, much easier.  I plan to put it away for a month or so and then begin the process of editing and tweaking it so it will be ready for a publisher.

The first thing I noticed was that the plot was overly complex.  So I went through the painful exercise deleting scenes and passages, many of which I now remember slaving over.  Then I went through what was left and decided that it was sort of O.K. but didn’t have the message/plot that I wanted.  So I saved that version, cut it down to another, bare bones one and wrote a detailed chapter outline.

With that done, I started writing.  The more I wrote, the more the plot changed.  For me this was not alarming because when I am writing a scene, I become the characters and think like them.  Even though they were taking me down a different path that I originally outlined, I liked it where the manuscript was going.  What I realized about halfway through was that this was becoming a story about revenge.  Not the obsessive, consuming desire to right a wrong, but a chance for a major character to close a chapter in his life.  When the book begins, he doesn’t know their names or even if they exist.  In fact, he only knows only about the actions in which their lives intertwined.

I won’t get into the how and where, but the main character then finds out that O.K., he has fulfilled a promise he made to one of the victims.  Now what?  The rage and anger that had been suppressed in his mind for many years is still there.  He is still angry that the original event because one cannot bring a person back to life.  So, what has he really gained?

Stay tuned for more about MOSCOW AIRLIFT…

Marc Liebman

July 2014