Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Accuracy is Everything
An update from Daniel Konstanski:
We have been deep in the thick of things the last several months!
I completed a full draft of The Secret Life of LEGO® Bricks at the end of July. Eleven chapters filled to the brim with fascinating, detailed insider information, plus an introduction and epilogue; all told, over 70,000 words.
Getting to that point began with transcribing the more-than sixty interviews I conducted; painstakingly generating a written version of every word exchanged and story shared. That process alone took several months, after which I had more than 600 pages and nearly 150,000 words of quotes. Next, all of that information had to be catalogued. I grouped together every story about a given subject – such as the first tiles, the invention of minifigures, or the development of BIONICLE and LEGO® Ninjago™. I sliced and diced every interview, pulling relevant information into new documents, this time sorted by topic. That took another month.
Then there was the selection of what would make it into the final text and which stories needed to be saved for another day. Finally, it was time to start actually writing, turning the stories and quotes into a manuscript with context, names, dates and all the other relevant information that brings to life the various tales from within the halls of the LEGO Group. After nearly a year of work, all the interviews, research, transcribing, cataloguing and writing came together into a complete manuscript.
However, despite achieving that milestone, there was no time to rest on our laurels; much more needed to be done. In fact, finishing the manuscript is in some ways only the beginning of the process. Next, everything must be checked. Each contributor reviewed the sections of the manuscript for which their interview served as a source. This ensured I had captured and communicated everything correctly.
The LEGO Group’s Corporate Historians also carefully reviewed each chapter, everyone making sure that no date or detail was wrong. This process often yielded more discoveries, which made the book even richer. A great example of this was when Signe, my friend and the main Corporate Historian helping me with research, shared the original LEGO® brick patent. It turns out that this document has its own ‘Secret Life’ which I can share with you now as a bit of a preview. The version of the LEGO brick patent that appears on t-shirts and wall prints isn’t the original; it’s the American version. The original is nearly ten times longer and contains some surprises of its own that are not widely known. But to say more here would only spoil one of the book’s many great stories…
All of this vetting yielded comments, requests for clarification and, in some cases, a need for circling back with sources to ensure that no inaccuracies made it into the final product. On top of that, once the LEGO Group signed off, outside licensing partners needed to also review portions that covered their products, adding another layer of verification and quality control.
Finally, there has been a forensic hunt for the best images to explain and show all the stories we are telling, which has been a huge process in itself. We have even commissioned a technical illustrator to create new artworks and diagrams for the book.
It has all taken time, but the end result will be a book far richer and more detailed than it was back when I finished the first draft in July. And we aren’t even quite finished yet so it’s only going to get better!
LEGO® prototype element and minifigure
Only 500 available.The LEGO Group is offering for the first time ever, a brand-new, specially 3D printed prototype element on which you can give your personal feedback. It comes with its own AFOL-themed minifigure.
Printed in Billund, Denmark, the element is yet to be finalized so it will be a surprise when you receive it, but we can tell you that this isn't something you will have seen before. The element will present a new integrated function as a part of our exploration of new design and play functions. It is the first time the LEGO Group is asking AFOLs and fans to give their thoughts on a specific element while the technology is being developed.Limited to one per household.
- One hardback book
- One name in the supporter list
A Gift for a Friend
Give the gift of The Secret History of LEGO® Bricks to a friend or loved one.
They will receive the book when it is available in 2022, with their name in the back. Upon purchase, you will receive an email confirmation with a voucher to give to the gift recipient.
For gift voucher FAQs click here.
- One hardback book
- Recipient's name in the supporter list