How Reuters trained Ian Fleming to write
Monday 25 September 2023
A new biography by Nicholas Shakespeare describes how Ian Fleming started writing Casino Royale, the first of 12 James Bond novels, in his villa in Jamaica on or around 17 February 1952.
An extract published in The Times says he rolled a sheet of foolscap into his battered Royal portable typewriter that had seen him through Reuters and Room 39 (his base during the war when he worked in British naval intelligence) and cast his mind back to the French coastal resort where he had met his fiancée.
Fleming worked three hours in the morning and one hour in the evening.
“His prose mirrored the corner bedroom in which he sat every morning from 9.30 to 12.30 at his typewriter, blank wall in front, behind closed wooden jalousies to keep out the view and the metallic clamour of kling-kling birds.
“Efficient, spare, masculine, austere, Fleming’s plain writing had been influenced by his training with Reuters where you damned well had to be neat and correct and concise and vivid.” ■