Writing History Is Hard

Last month, I started writing my first attempt at non-fiction. It is called Gold and Silver Wings and is what I call a “memiography.”  Memiography is a word I created so it is not in Webster’s yet and it is a book that is one part autobiography, one part memoir and one part biography.

So what’s Gold and Silver Wings about? The title comes from the metal (color) of the wings U.S. military aviators wear. U.S. Naval Aviators wear gold wings and Air Force Pilots wear silver wings, hence the title.

When finished, the book will be a collection of stories from three military aviation careers – my dad’s (the biography), my son’s (more biography because I am writing it, not him) and mine (autobiography and memoir). My intent is not to focus on flying in combat, but to tell other flying and family stories that will make you think or maybe cry or laugh.  I’ve already written several of the stories and it is harder than I thought.  Unlike writing a novel where I can change the facts to fit the plot, here I have to stay close to the truth.

Unfortunately, my dad passed away almost twenty-six years ago so I can’t ask him to verify the facts. All I have left is my memory, his logbooks and photos. At age 72 and a half, it is not as good as it use to be!

In many ways, Gold and Silver Wings will be a tribute to my dad’s memory that inspired both my son and me.

To organize the book, the table of contents looks more like an outline. Each chapter covers a decade and in each chapter has sub-heads that are the stories that will be told. I keep adding more, e.g. while’ writing this blog, I thought of two more to add. My instinct tells me as I write the book, the table of contents will continue to evolve.

When its done, I hope it will be a fun read with more smiling, chuckling and laughing than crying. Right now, I am editing a novel called Retribution and hope to finish this version by mid-May. At which point, work on Gold and Silver Wings will begin in earnest. The goal is to finish it by the end of the year.

Interesting a publisher in a non-fiction work is different than a novel. Normally, one doesn’t have to have the book finished. All the author needs is a table of contents and the first few chapters to use as the basis of a query letter. Even the publisher’s are different. I’m almost to that point, but I want to have the first draft at least halfway done before I start the query process. My goal is to have it with a publisher sometime in 2019! Gosh, that seems like it is a long way away, but its only eight months from now so I’d better get started.

Marc Liebman

April 2018

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