It’s appalling, really

It’s appalling, really, that I’ve spent so much time on it–my third manuscript, The Koltsovo Legacy, the one that preceded Eyewall.

I was thinking, as I finished my fourth major rewrite of The Koltsovo Legacy recently, that I’d been working on it for maybe three years. Then I went back through my records. Arrrghh. It’s been the better part of seven years! No wonder I haven’t played more golf… aside from the fact it’s expensive and I tend to yell FORE! a lot. Seven years.

You’d think a guy would learn after seven years. Well, I believe I have (though some would argue, maybe not the right lesson). I think it’s a better novel now. And I received at least a tiny acknowledgement of that in June when it won first place at the Southeastern Writers Association Workshop, the same thing Eyewall did in 2008.

First place. A far cry from Koltsovo’s first venture into the public eye at the workshop in 2005. I was feeling pretty good about it back then, thought I knew all about the craft of novel writing. What a blockhead. I didn’t have a clue. Well, maybe a clue, but I was missing about 105 of them.

Anyhow, best-selling author Steve Berry was doing the novel critique that year. I thought I was extremely lucky to have Steve looking at my stuff, one thriller writer to another, and was sure he’d be impressed with what I’d cranked out: “This is great stuff, Buzz. I think I can hook you up with my agent. Hang on while I make a phone call.”

Sure. His exact words as he handed my sliced-and-diced manuscript back to me were: “You’ve got a lot of work to do.” I wonder if he heard my confidence whistling out of me like air from a deflating balloon. I shuffled back to motel room and downed two bottles of Jack Daniels. True story. Fortunately they were the little 2-0z airline bottles. I felt better the next morning and got back in the saddle.

So here I am, seven years down the trail. At least now I know I can write something publishable, re Eyewall.

I think I’ll play golf Monday.


  1. How a novel is born | Buzz Bernard on May 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    […] As near as I can figure out, the gestation period for a novel–at least one of mine–is roughly the same as for a human baby. At times, it seems just as uncomfortable, too. (I’m not speaking from personal experience, just observation.) And by gestation period, I don’t mean writing the book, I mean just coming up with a quasi-coherent outline–the story, if you will. (Actually writing the thing can take years.) […]

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