Simenon and Fleming on Writing.

April 20th, 2008


Their works aren’t regarded on a par with the giants of world literature, but Georges Simenon and Ian Fleming have done as well as any writers ever in delighting huge numbers of readers — and doing it with more than a grain of sophistication.

This long feature recounts (in slightly confusing form) a double-interview with Simenon and Fleming carried out when both men were still producing at their peak.

Simenon and Fleming discuss
The Thriller Business

[Fleming:] “There is no top limit to writing well. I try to write neatly, concisively, vividly, because I think that’s the way to write, I think that approach largely comes from my training as a fast-writing journalist under circumstances in which you damned well have to be neat, correct, concise and vivid. My journalistic training was far more valuable to me than all the English literature education I ever had.”

The piece is well worth reading if you want to write effectively and quickly. Fleming was highly productive, while Simenon was one of the most prolific authors of all time. In the piece, both of them describe their methods for composition, which did not include an abundance of time given to backwards glances. Rather, they both focused on pushing forward with their work, on keeping up their narrative momentum from day to day as they worked on their books. (Also of note: neither of them wrote throughout the year, but rather in concentrated bursts.)

Also of interest in this vein: Simenon’s Paris Review interview on “The Art of Fiction”.

One Response to “Simenon and Fleming on Writing.”

  1. What I've Learned So Far » Blog Archive » Book Review: Maigret in Montmartre, by Georges Simenon Says:

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