Bond 25: Ian Fleming’s Writing Process

In anticipation of Bond 25, the studio is releasing some great background material which I’ll be posting here – starting with information on how Ian Fleming put words to the page while writing his James Bond books at Goldeneye, his Jamaican home on the beach near Ocho Rios.

“I get up with the birds, which is about half past seven, because they wake one up, and then I go and bathe in the ocean before breakfast. We don’t have to wear a swimsuit there, because it’s so private; my wife and I bathe and swim 100 yards or so and come back and have a marvellous proper breakfast with some splendid scrambled eggs made by my housekeeper (Violet Cummings), who’s particularly good at them, and then I sit out in the garden to get a sunburn until about ten. Only then do I set to work.

“I sit in my bedroom and type about 1,500 words straight-away, without looking back on what I wrote the day before. I have more or less thought out what I’m going to write, and, in any case, even if I make a lot of mistakes, I think, well, hell, when the book’s finished I can change it all. I think the main thing is to write fast and cursively in order to get narrative speed.

“Then, about quarter past 12, I chuck that and go down, with a snorkel and a spear, around the reefs looking for lobsters or whatever there may be, sometimes find them, sometimes don’t, and then I come back, I have a couple of pink gins, and we have a very good lunch, ordinary Jamaican food, and I have a siesta from about half past two until four.

“Then I sit again in the garden for about an hour or so, have another swim, and then I spend from six to seven –the dusk comes very suddenly in Jamaica; at six o’clock it suddenly gets very dark – doing another 500 words. I then number the pages, of which by that time there are about seven, put them away in a folder, and have a couple of powerful drinks, then dinner, occasionally a game of Scrabble with my wife.”

Source: Playboy magazine, December, 1964

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