Writing Out of My Comfort Zone

A few days ago, I signed a contract with a literary agent who wants to represent a book called Gold and Silver Wings – Stories from Three Generations of Military Pilots. In an earlier blog, I called it a “memiography” because it is one part biography, one part autobiography and one part memoir.

Gold and Silver Wings is a collection of stories from my fathers, my son’s and my aviation careers. That’s the three generations.

We’re all combat veterans, but with the exception of two stories from World War II that I believe need to be told, the focus is on the non-combat aspect of a military aviator. Not all the stories are about moving a stick and rudder. Many of them are related to being in a squadron along with some from my son’s childhood and mine. They provide insight what it was like to grow up with an Air Force pilot as a father and in my son’s case, a Naval Aviator as a dad.

Many stories could start with “You wouldn’t believe this, but….” Or, “There I was….” But they don’t. However, there’s context at the front to give the reader some appreciation of what is coming.

Anyway, the book is non-fiction and I think of myself as novelist that means I write fiction. In this book, I have to stick to the facts!  Egads!!!

To find a publisher, the agent asked me to create a formal book proposal that has all kinds of information as well as excerpts from the book. It is, for the record, sixty-one pages long. In it, I committed to having finishing the manuscript within four months of signing the contract with a publisher. Yikes!!!

Rather than wait, I’ve started writing and am about a quarter of the way through the first draft. So far so good, but it is a challenge because I am using my dad’s log book and service record as a reference. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1991 and all I have are my memories of the stories he told me about his experiences in World War II and afterwards. And, I’m seventy-two and my memory ain’t what it used to be.

Admittedly, some creative license will be taken with the stories to make them read better and in some cases, make a point. From a writing standpoint, it is easier than creating a novel because I don’t have to come up with twists and turns in the timeline of a plot nor develop new characters. There are only three – my dad, my son and me.

Other people’s names? They’re few and far between and not needed. This book is about the three of us. And, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Marc Liebman

June 2018

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