Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Update on William Longman

I was hoping by now to have had the first volume of the William Longman series ready to go, but that is not the case. The errors are all mine, so let me bring you up to speed on the work.

Bill and I corresponded in the 1980s and I have over a hundred letters from him, many of them quite long and full of information. The plan was never to publish them, they were just letters from a friend, but as the stories grew and we headed into the 1990s I thought that publishing some of them might be a good idea.

I spoke to Bill about this and he agreed so long as nothing was done while he was alive. So we carried on corresponding and I began to make telephone calls to him to collect further information. I would scribble this down on bits of paper and gradually I found I had quite an archive.

Then Bill died in 2005, but owing to one thing and another the plan to publish his story kept getting put back until 2014 arrived and I decided to finally do something.

The plan was to simply publish his letters with a commentary by me to link stories together, but as I reread the letters I realised that this was not going to work. They are not in chronological order and he would often tell one story in a letter and then refer back to another account that he had previously given which added more colour to that tale. So it became obvious that I would have to take events from Bill's life and pull the information out of any number of letters to create a narrative that you, the reader, will find agreeable.

Secondly, in his letters Bill rarely tried to recreate the dialogue that went on, so when we spoke on the 'phone I would try to jog his memory on that matter. I got some information from him, and could recreate dialogue from that, but I have to be honest and say that a lot is made up by me based upon Bill's speech patterns.

Put all this together and the work for me is rather heavier than I expected. That being so, you can expect to have the first volume of the Longman story at about the end of May.

Stay tuned!

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