Cheeseburger Gothic

"When you go out for a pint with Jony it's like going out for a pint with the future"

Posted 10 hours ago into Writing by John Birmingham

That quote from Bono is a lovely little bonbon from a Jony Ive profile in Vogue. As always with Vogue's journalism it's great research and story telling founded on access and wrapped in their particular obsession with what everyone is wearing.

Its also telling that Apple gave the story - which is as much about the Apple Watch as Sir Jonathan - to the world's premier fashion rag. And the U.S. version at that. Man, there'd have been some vicious trench fighting over that, with both British and French Vogue having a call on the story because of Ive's nationality and the location of a significant part of the story in Paris for Fashion Week.

It will nonetheless be pored over and parsed at the nanoscale by the tech press for all of the crunchy inside baseball anecdotes. Such as this par from a section on Ive's secret lab:

Work is conducted behind tinted windows, serenaded by the team’s beloved techno music, a must for the boss. “I find that when I write I need things to be quiet, but when I design, I can’t bear it if it’s quiet,” he says. Indeed, the design team is said to have followed an unwritten rule to move away from their work whenever the famously brusque Jobs entered the studio and turn up the volume so as to make his criticisms less audible, less likely to throw them off course.

The major concern of the piece is design, rather than technology or a simple personality profile. (A lesser concern, Sir Jony's wardrobe - "I first catch sight of Jony Ive across the Apple campus, in a plain Dodger-blue T-shirt and white painter’s pants..."). Totes worth a read if you have ten minutes and any interest in any of this stuff.

Eyeball it here. No paywall.

6 Responses to ‘"When you go out for a pint with Jony it's like going out for a pint with the future"’

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted 7 hours ago
"... whenever the famously brusque Jobs entered the studio ..."
Was that before or after his death?

Respond to this comment

Blarkon has opinions thus...

Posted 5 hours ago
Well, certain *parts* of the tech press.

Respond to this comment

Halwes mutters...

Posted 4 hours ago

G'day Mr B, The Arnhem Club would like to discuss an author visit where we'd pay you to come to town, visit a couple of schools, maybe the library and sign a few books. Can you give us some sort of contact or we can put a number on here for you to ring and you could scrub it off straight away. We realise that it will have to be organised far out from the day becasue of your busy schedule but we can offer a fabulous fishing trip, bring your young bloke if you like, and an insight into aboriginal australia that only a privileged few ever get. Dave

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted 4 hours ago
Like, in Arnhem Land?

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted 4 hours ago
That would require some advance notice. But it might be something to take the young lad on. Are you on the twitterz? DM'ing me there is always a good option. Otherwise I should probably get off my arse and set up an email for this blog.

Halwes mutters...

Posted 3 hours ago
Yeah it's Nhulunbuy on the eastern tip of the Gove peninsula before you go south into the gulf. We're pretty keen. Leave Bris am and arrive here at about 1500. We'll cover airfares accommodation etc. Sorry no twitter. I can assure you that the young bloke would love it. Everyone does. Advance notice is good so we can organise. Scrub this when you get it <A href="mailto:halwes5@bigpond.com">halwes5@bigpond.com</A>

Respond to this thread

Respond to '"When you go out for a pint with Jony it's like going out for a pint with the future"'

Louder than a Havoc daisy cutter

Posted 11 hours ago into Awesome by John Birmingham

Great little essay at the Nautilus blog about just how loud the eruption of Karakatoa was. Hint: louder than the loudest, most bottled up planet cracking fart from Havoc.

On 27 August 1883, the Earth let out a noise louder than any it has made since.

It was 10:02 AM local time when the sound emerged from the island of Krakatoa, which sits between Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. It was heard 1,300 miles away in the Andaman and Nicobar islands (“extraordinary sounds were heard, as of guns firing”); 2,000 miles away in New Guinea and Western Australia (“a series of loud reports, resembling those of artillery in a north-westerly direction”); and even 3,000 miles away in the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues, near Mauritius* (“coming from the eastward, like the distant roar of heavy guns.”1) In all, it was heard by people in over 50 different geographical locations, together spanning an area covering a thirteenth of the globe.

Think, for a moment, just how crazy this is. If you’re in Boston and someone tells you that they heard a sound coming from New York City, you’re probably going to give them a funny look. But Boston is a mere 200 miles from New York. What we’re talking about here is like being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland. Travelling at the speed of sound (766 miles or 1,233 kilometers per hour), it takes a noise about 4 hours to cover that distance. This is the most distant sound that has ever been heard in recorded history.

Whole thing's here.

13 Responses to ‘Louder than a Havoc daisy cutter’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted 11 hours ago
Makes me glad I wasn't anywhere near there when it happened.

Barnesm mutters...

Posted 9 hours ago
and you have someone who can confirm you were no where near the Volcano when it erupted?

Lulu puts forth...

Posted 7 hours ago
"makes me glad I wasn't anywhere near there when it happened."

The noise or the fart?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted 6 hours ago
I was referring to the volcano. But I am also pleased to have avoided any proximity to the fart.

Which reminds me of a true story.

Sometime in the Spring of 1979 I was in the Rub al Khali desert sitting around a fire with a bunch of Bedu finishing a meal when one of my hosts belches really really loud. Everyone looks at me, expecting me to react negatively. I didn't react. The man who belched says to me "this is good; it is for the health" referring to his belch. I tell him I know. They all laugh. Another says "no, no, Americans think this is bad. The other thing is bad" and he points to his rear end, makes a noise with his lips and then disapproving look of disgust washes over his face as he gently shakes his head.
"Not good," he says.

I again agree. After a few moments of silence, one of them asks "what is this called in English?"

It was one of those golden moments when you can say anything at all. I could have called it a "super nova" or "kippered herring" and they would have believed me. But I decided to play it straight.

"It is called a 'fart'," I said, with careful pronunciation.

My hosts did what they always do when they learned something new - they repeated it to each other rapidly a thousand times, with everyone trying it out, until they were certain they were saying it correctly.

Some time later I learned that the American hostages in Iran learned that their captors really hated flatulence. The hostages exploited this small tactical advantage by loudly breaking wind every time their captors were present.

One day the door to the room where the hostages were being kept burst open and a group of armed men ran in. Their spokesperson said - with cold determination - "we know about the fart. We want it to stop."

I am fairly confident that my teaching moment in the Rub al Khali eventually drifted over to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and that I am responsible for their enlightenment. I have always believed that, if we could trace the pathway of the knowledge of "the fart" from my campfire to that room in Iran, then we would know far more about that part of the world than we do at present.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 6 hours ago
Why wasn't this in Argo?

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted 3 hours ago
PNB, you remind of an anecdote in the book 'Half past ten in the afternoon'. James Budd's memoir of his time in Unaizah in Saudi Arabia during the 1960’s. The town had a Bedu quarter which included a primary school. The headmaster of the school was non-Bedu. The locals agreed he was a perfectly decent fellow, nothing overt you could criticise, but there was still something unpleasant and unlikeable about the bloke that you couldn't quite put your finger on.
For this reason he was locally known as "Fusaa' al-Jinn" which translates as "Silent Farts of the Jinn”.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted 2 hours ago
That's hilarious. Once they give you a name like that, you can never get rid of it. They called me Abu il Codeeb Eleela (at least that's the way it sounded). They never told me what it meant.

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted 1 hour ago

Da na na na na na na na

Da na na na na na na na

Fartman

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted 51 minutes ago
I think I speak for everyone of any consequence who frequents this place: I expect better than that from you.

Respond to this thread

Barnesm asserts...

Posted 9 hours ago
Great piece, I've really been enjoying some of the writing on <font color="#333333">Nautilus especially the long form science stuff.</font>

Respond to this comment

HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted 8 hours ago
Fkn EPIC. Loved the pressure wave. Thats shits never gunna get fkn boring. My Daisy cutters come from FKN ORBIT! I'll have ya know.

Good piece, really puts in it perspective, now toss in a chain of the going fkn beserk! that pressure wave is enough to drop a plane at the right distance, imagine the big one. FK ME!....YEAH BABY!

Respond to this comment

Peter Bradley mutters...

Posted 6 hours ago
For more in depth discussion I can heartily recommend "Krakatoa The day the world exploded" by Simon Winchester. The scale of the whole thing is amazing in the true sense of the word.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Louder than a Havoc daisy cutter'

Death Star ice cubes

Posted Yesterday by John Birmingham

I recently bought myself an extra-big ice cube maker in readiness for the summer. Mine is a simple XL cube tray, which I've already tested out and can attest to as A Good Idea.

But not as good as these fully operational death star ice cubes.

23 Responses to ‘Death Star ice cubes’

Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted Yesterday
Yep.

Need column.

Right up there with food and shelter. Plus a fine bottle of Bulleitt.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Spanner would have you know...

Posted Yesterday
Finding these Deathstar shaped ice cube moulds makes my life complete.

Respond to this comment

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted Yesterday
You could also use them to make great easter eggs.

Respond to this comment

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday

Is Don

Respond to this comment

pete ducks in to say...

Posted Yesterday
do they levitate when the Bundy hits them?

Respond to this comment

Respond to this comment

damo puts forth...

Posted 22 hours ago
My brother got me this Han Solo frozen in carbonite ice cube tray a few years back; it does not disappoint.
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/69665125458801385/

Respond to this comment

Therbs mutters...

Posted 21 hours ago
C'mon Spanners! Start swinging.

Spanner reckons...

Posted 20 hours ago
A worthy Hammer wielder beat me to it.

My Hammer awaits it smooshing christening.

MickH puts forth...

Posted 19 hours ago
I swung my hammer eight times last night! :)

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 19 hours ago
You swung good, Mick.

Respond to this thread

Abe Frellman mumbles...

Posted 21 hours ago
Awesome. Just ordered some on eBay.

Slightly off topic, there's a bar in Surry Hills called the Wild Rover, which serves your whisk(e)y with the world's biggest ice cube if you ask for it on the rocks. They have a pretty good collection too, almost on a par with Baxter Inn, and a much nicer atmos too (plus you don't have to enter via what feels like the garbage shute). I had a Victorian number called Starward: not bad, but not a patch on the better Tassie numbers like Overeem, Lark or Sullivan's Cove.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted 19 hours ago
You've been to the garbage Shute bar? I FKN love that place!

Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted 10 hours ago
I find it takes a good half hour to get the smell of garbage out of my nostrils before I can get down to serious drinking business.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted 10 hours ago
That's where we are different, Abe. I prefer the constant smell of garbage to place my whole beer drinking experience in sharp relief.

It is an especially sensual, artistic experience when imbibing an IPA.

However, I do avoid certain fragrance combinations. Unless the IPA is especially hoppy, the stench of rotting meat sort of ruins everything.

Respond to this thread

Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 21 hours ago
PS the Hammermeister missed one.

Respond to this comment

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 21 hours ago
That's no ice cube

damian puts forth...

Posted 20 hours ago
(I can't believe everyone else forwent that... I'd almost accept "taste", but here?!)

Respond to this thread

damian mutters...

Posted 19 hours ago
Just like shooting womp rats, eh kid?

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted 9 hours ago
It's not so easy anymore. Womp rat shooting has gone on for so long that smarter, faster womp rats have been artificially selected.

I've seen their secret, underground cities.

insomniac mutters...

Posted 7 hours ago
Rumour has it you are provided God-like status down there

Respond to this thread

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted 45 minutes ago
I always thought you werent meant to use ice because it dilutes the precious whisky. Instead the make tiny stone cubes you are meant to chill. Still for artisan ice how about http://sciencealert.com.au/features/20140110-26260.html

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Death Star ice cubes'

Star Trek Enterprise. Not completely fucked

Posted Yesterday by John Birmingham

I was a fan of Enterprise. It aired while I was living at Bondi and I had a routine of dining at Fu Manchu every Sunday night (Nonya chicken and Bintang beer) before meandering back along the waterfront to boldly go where no one had ever gone before etc.

I didnt mind Scott Bakula as captain and although the post 9/11 storylines were very post 9/11, I liked them too.

I alone.

Thus I enjoyed this AV Club essay on the undiscovered pleasures of ST: Enterprise. A decade and a half after the premiere it was able to stand back from the production and assess it on its own merits. It's not a blowjob. There was an irreducible tension in Enterprise that was never really resolved. "Was the show primarily a look at what went on more than a century before the arrival of Captain Kirk—not to mention 200 years before the Next Generation-era crews—or was it instead an extrapolation of current trends into the distant future?"

The trends model won out. But that was such an important part of the original series that we can hardly hold that against the producers. The AV Club doesn;t spare the whip. "Enterprise is, after all, the Star Trek show that takes as its theme music a cover version of a Rod Stewart song originally written for the Patch Adams soundtrack. In particular, the show suffers from characters who are vaguely likable at best, blandly dull at worst."

But it's one of the few write ups I've seen that doesn't get caught up in wish fulfilment. The show is what it is, or was what it was, and no more:

In its storytelling, Enterprise’s four-year run can be divided into three distinct eras, each owing significant inspiration to previous Star Trek shows. The first two seasons follow much the same formula as Voyager, with both largely content to repeat the episodic explorations of The Next Generation, albeit without the kind of earnest philosophical inquiry that elevated that program. The third season, which examines the aftermath of a devastating attack on Earth and follows theEnterprise crew as they search for and confront its perpetrators, plays like a reheated version of Deep Space Nine’s Dominion War. The fourth and final season benefits from a far more engaged creative team, as a new writing staff embraced Enterprise’s potential as a more direct prequel to the original Star Trekseries. The latter two versions of the show are generally more successful than the first two years, which are little more than competently made Star Trek comfort food, but the show doesn’t really assert its own unique, vital identity until its final season, by which time Paramount and UPN had long since lost interest in continuing the show.

I would have been happy for another season or two. And some more Nonya chicken.

21 Responses to ‘Star Trek Enterprise. Not completely fucked’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
Some episodes were mega cool. Many were mediocre at best.

Jolene Blalock (T'pol) was and is a strikingly beautiful woman. But she was at all times relevant a terrible actress - a casting error that really hurt the longevity of the series - especially after Jerry Ryan's Seven of Nine breathed new life into Voyager.

Nevertheless, I, too, would like to have seen a few more seasons after the show finally seemed to get its footing.

Respond to this comment

Murphy reckons...

Posted Yesterday
Meh. Best watched with the mute button on.

I liked Phlox. Tucker had potential. I wanted to like Reed but he needed to get that corncob out of his ass. Archer . . . Bakula can act in any role except that one. I'm never sure if he is supposed to try and sleep with T'Pol or not though I'd rather he didn't.

Given that NX-01 was an experimental ship, it seemed to run pretty well most of the time. Far better than the Constitution Class vessel did, which Scotty was forever patching back together, tinkering, fiddling and what not.

I think what might have worked better is to see a lot more of that tinkering, on everyone's part given that it was a very small ship. There, surely, is work that needs to be done and yet what we see are people eating, people reading, people shooting phase pistols (too early, continuity error, should have been lasers), and generally behaving more like they are exploring a cafe than the universe.

I found the show fairly frustrating to watch.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

tqft swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Yesterday
Due to exigencies of life I saw most of s1 and bits of s2 and a smattering of s3.
The boxset is waiting for me.
Like all trek had real potential. Some of it irredemably squandered.

Ps: first time ever saw the Xena boxset in a shop. Mmm tempting

Respond to this comment

Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted Yesterday
That's interesting. I only saw series one and found the "comfort food" description pretty apt. If three and four were better I might also look for the box set. There's damn all worth watching on FTA as usual.

damian ducks in to say...

Posted 20 hours ago
I only gave the first episode or two a look in back in the day. I was already going off Voyager I guess. Time of life thing possibly. Had been following TNG and DS9 pretty closely. But yeah about the comfort food thing. If 3 & 4 are cool, that's worth a revisit.

Respond to this thread

Therbs asserts...

Posted Yesterday

Only saw the first two series, intermittently as they were arsed about on FTA programming. If 3 an d 4 are good, could be worth buying boxed sets.

Respond to this comment

ShaneAlpha reckons...

Posted Yesterday
Season 4. They finally hired a competent writing team in the form of Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens who had previously written a lot of Star Trek novels.
Season 4 is what the fans had always wanted from Enterprise, the pre-stories of the Trek universe. I found the first 2 seasons disappointing, 3 was a bit better and 4 was excellent, with the exception of the stupid last episode. I think I would have enjoyed the following 3 seasons, particularly if they had focused on the Romulan/Federation war.

Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted Yesterday
I read a number of their novels when I was a kid. The best thing to hold you over between movies in the 1980s.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted Yesterday
I still reread their novels Prime Directive and Federation. Prime Directive I would place at the same level of quality as Spock's World by Diane Duane.

One of the problems modern Trek has is that it tends to rely almost exclusively on staff writers, whereas TOS had some of it's best episodes written by acknowledged sci-fi writers.

Imagine a new reboot t.v. Trek, with episodes written by George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Larry Niven (even though he already has a animated trek to his name), Joss Weadon, John Birmingham, J.K. Rowling, and writers from SG1, Torchwood, BSG, etc.

Then we might get some decent Trek with new stories, not rehashes of old ones.

Respond to this thread

Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted Yesterday
Ignoring the use of a Constitution class ship in the picture above ...

Mrs and Mini Blarkon have, over the last year or so, been going through my Blu-Ray (TNG) and DVD (DS9/Voyager) collection of trek. They're now up to S2 of Enterprise (also Blu-Ray).

Interestingly, Enterprise is their favorite. A year ago they hadn't seen any Trek. (They don't want to watch my Blu-Rays of TOS) - after seeing almost all the Modern Trek, they think the NX01 crew the best.

If you get a chance - watch Shatner's documentary "The Captains"

Respond to this comment

John Baker would have you know...

Posted Yesterday
Fourth season of Enterprise was among the top seasons of any Star Trek ever produced. Except for the finale.

Respond to this comment

Greybeard mutters...

Posted Yesterday
Just ordered seasons 3 and 4 from Mighty Ape for about $33 delivered. Should keep me off the streets for a while.

Therbs mumbles...

Posted Yesterday

Braggart

Greybeard puts forth...

Posted 23 hours ago
Hey, that's cheap - like me. It's like a Public Service Announcement but with added nyahaha.

Respond to this thread

Vovchara ducks in to say...

Posted 22 hours ago
everything you need to know about Enterprise could be found here sfdebris.com. Chuck is kinda an expert on Star Trek. The most appalling episode of Enterprise was probably Dear Doctor.

And here his take on ST captains:
    The Summoning of Starship Captains:

Vovchara would have you know...

Posted 22 hours ago
The Summoning of Starship Captains:
Sisko: All right, I've called you all here because the situation is grim. The Dominion has more ships then we could possibly hope to defeat on the other side of that wormhole. How do we stop them from taking over the federation?
Kirk: I assume you've already tried appealing the superior aspects of human nature?
Sisko: Of course.
Kirk: And then hit them?
Sisko: Of course.
Kirk: And none of that worked? Huh. Double dumb ass on them.
Picard: Did you try closing it with an inverse tachyon beam?
Sisko: More or less, we can't close it.
Picard: Inverse graviton beam?
Sisko: Still no, we can't close it.
Janeway: Have you tried a show of force, such as finding the Founders and destroying the crust and mantle of their world?
Sisko: Someone else already tried that, wrong planet.
Janeway: Well just go and do it properly this time!
Sisko: We don't-
Janeway: No excuses! Just do it!
Picard: What about an anti-proton beam?
Sisko: Still no. To both. Anyone else?
Archer: I told them I told them the Vulcans you can't trust the Vulcans! They run up the flat to the back of the dragon and hold their tails so you can't fly no more and then you can't know your thoughts no more because they've already stolen the wrench to your mind! Mindbomb the mindbomb! It's the only thing that will keep them out of your brain! it stops them coming through!
Kirk: ...
Picard: ...
Janeway: Mindbomb, that sounds COOL! I'm changing my answer to his!
Sisko: I can't-
Janeway: That's two votes for Mindbomb. We win!

Spanner puts forth...

Posted 20 hours ago
Snerk. I haven't LOL'ed this much since that possum outwitted Greybeard.

Well played V.

Respond to this thread

Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted 19 hours ago
I really liked where it was going by season 4 agreed that final episode was a travesty especially since it was the last trek we would see for some time. It had some great episodes which referenced events in TOS.

Respond to this comment

robW would have you know...

Posted 15 hours ago
One of the things I find interesting about these series, and television in general, is how they reflect a change or dilution of content that happened over the years. In the 1950s 1-hour television shows were about 54 minutes long, with 6 minutes of commercials. By the early 1960s (think "The Outer Limits") they were 52 minutes long.

Star Trek 1 (1966) was 50 minutes with 10 minutes of *, DS-9 was 45 minutes of programming and 15 minutes of *. Generations started out at 45 minutes per episode, but ended with 43 minutes per episode, while ST Enterprise was consistently 43 or 42 minutes long. Today, a decade later, shows are about 42-41 minutes long. The squeeze is relentless and unending.

Also, Trek 1 started out with 32 episodes, then dropped to 30. By the time Voyager rolled around, it was 24 episodes per season. Star Trek Enterprise cranked out 22 episodes per season. These days 12 episodes seems to be the rule. It's getting very easy to forget about television entertainment and getting easier to get out of the habit of watching something.

Whatever the case, I just can't sit through 20 minutes of commercials in order to watch 40 minutes of programming. I just don't have the attention span to do it. As far as I'm concerned, the networks have poisoned the well, and I just can't watch without the fast-forward of a DVR. Also, the amount of storytelling that can occur in 50 minutes is greatly different than what one can get in 40 minutes.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted 11 hours ago
That was some of the most horrifying math I've ever seen.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted 11 hours ago
Yeah, but does anyone ever point out that the commercials have improved? They are far more entertaining than they were - and informative, too.

I am growing weary of the patent bias expressed her against commercial speech that, here in these United States, is constitutionally protected.

Respond to this thread

Respond to 'Star Trek Enterprise. Not completely fucked'

How to Write a James Bond Novel, by Ian Fleming

Posted Tuesday by John Birmingham

Mi6-HQ has a lovely piece by the old spy master himself, Commander Fleming, about the writing of his James Bond novels. (Props to @JuliusFlywheel for the heads up) There's some nice deets about the real world capers the real world spy-turned-novelist drew on for his stories, including a bungled assassination attempt that he reworked for Casino Royale.

For me, however, the work flow revelations were the deep fried Mars Bar of awesome.

... Your heart will nevertheless quail at the physical effort involved in writing even a thriller. I warmly sympathise with you. I too, am lazy My heart sinks when I contemplate the two or three hundred virgin sheets of foolscap I have to besmirch with more or less well chosen words in order to produce a 60,000 word book

...

Failing a hideaway such as I possess, I can recommend hotel bedrooms as far removed from your usual "life" as possible. Your anonymity in these drab surroundings and your lack of friends and distractions will create a vacuum which should force you into a writing mood and, if your pocket is shallow, into a mood which will also make you write fast and with application. I do it all on the typewriter, using six fingers. The act of typing is far less exhausting than the act of writing, and you end up with a more or less clean manuscript The next essential is to keep strictly to a routine.

I write for about three hours in the morning - from about 9:30 till 12:30 and I do another hour's work between six and seven in the evening. At the end of this I reward myself by numbering the pages and putting them away in a spring-back folder. The whole of this four hours of daily work is devoted to writing narrative.

I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used "terrible" six times on one page? And so forth. If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day and you aren't disgusted with them until the book is finished, which will be in about six weeks.

I don't even pause from writing to choose the right word or to verify spelling or a fact. All this can be done when your book is finished.

When my book is completed I spend about a week going through it and correcting the most glaring errors and rewriting passages. I then have it properly typed with chapter headings and all the rest of the trimmings. I then go through it again, have the worst pages retyped and send it off to my publisher.

I imagine him doing all of this with a martini in hand.

I have much to learn.

5 Responses to ‘How to Write a James Bond Novel, by Ian Fleming’

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
6 weeks. Plus an extra week of editing.
I have heard about this 6 weeks more than once.
I remember Peter Corris saying a Cliff Hardy novel took him 6 weeks. John Mortimer said a Rumpole book took him 6 weeks. I find this very hard to get my head around.

Then there is Alexander McCall Smith who, as well as having a very active life of lectures and travelling, writes about 4 books a year. He does this relatively easily because his standard writing pace is 1000 words per hour, and everything is never less than good.

JB: novels, columns and blogs. It's phenomenal.

I could write a novel. But I think it would take quite a long time.

Respond to this comment

Murphy mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
As a general rule, I try very hard not to look back over my material until I've reached an end.

I believe Toni Morrison also secludes herself in a hotel for her efforts.

Shelby Foote wrote his three volume Civil War collection with a quill pen, same with his novel Shiloh.

Ray Bradbury used to hammer along at the typewriter in the public library, typing until the quarter ran out.

Each has their own poison.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

Respond to this comment

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted Tuesday
Speaking of things Fleming there was a movie made called "Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming" which portrayed his college and wartime life. It gives a few nods to ongoing characters and themes in the Bond books. The lead role was played by Jason Connery, son of Sean.

Respond to this comment

ByLinEd would have you know...

Posted Tuesday
The National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) has the same philosophy as Fleming - 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. I had a crack at it last year and made it to 28,000 words before life got in the way. No editing, no re-reading, just words on a page. It's a great way to get over writing paralysis.

Respond to this comment

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted Tuesday
Speaking further of things Fleming, I'd like to recommend "The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey Into the Disturbing World of James Bond" by Simon Winder. I've loved all 3 of Winder's books since I stumbled across "Germania".

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'How to Write a James Bond Novel, by Ian Fleming'

Digital Post It Notes

Posted Tuesday into Writing by John Birmingham

Everybody loves a Post It note. Everybody but, you know, Hitler and those Islamic State guys. Post Its are great for everything from shopping lists, to folding up and jamming into loose windows during storms to stop that shit rattling. There's even a time management technique which involves dividing a Post It note into three parts, one large, two small, and assigning your three most important to-do items to the relevant box.

It's a cool technique. I sometimes use it.

One thing I don't do with Post It notes is storyboard my books. In one sense, they're perfect for it. You can assign different colored notes to different character arcs and of course you can move the notes around to restructure your narrative.

But you're a chance of ending up with a workspace like this.

Or worse.

Plus they curl, and they flap and they get blown away in the breeze and in the end... Gah! Fuggedabboutit!

Instead I've tried a bazillion other methods of storyboarding, including unknowable numbers of apps, especially iPad apps. None of them any good. In the end I always return to a word processing document with the chapters written in note form, one after the other.

Half way through the manuscript draft, inevitably, I've drifted so far from the original arc that the original plan is pretty much useless.

That's why I have such high hopes for the now Post It Note app that lets you take a picture of the note to store and manipulate digitally. There are restrictions. The app only recognises square notes for now, for instance.

But it looks as though once you snapped a pic of actual note into the app you can storyboard it without all of the life threatening hazards of curling, flapping, blowing away etc. It'll be a few weeks before I get free of my current editing, production deadlines to try this out, but as soon as I can, I'm going to give it a red hot go. Probably with blocking out a few ebooks first, to keep it simple.

16 Responses to ‘Digital Post It Notes’

insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Tuesday
You'll be feeling a bit Tom Cruise Minority Report-y

Respond to this comment

John Davies asserts...

Posted Tuesday
JB.. I can't remember if you use a Mac or not, but on my Mac, I use "Stickies" which work exactly the same as as Post It notes. I can have different colours, and open and close them as I need. I found them in my Applications folder. Forgive me if you've already tried them and discarded them..

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
I have them John, but I hate the way they mess up my screen.

Respond to this thread

Ian recommends is gonna tell you...

Posted Tuesday
Kanban board tools (I reckon trello.com is the best) combine the post it concept with the room for details on what you'd think of as the back of the card- checklists, longer descriptions etc. You can color code them, arrange them in columns etc to map out anything you want.

They're a project management tool, but I reckon you'd get more out of them than virtual post its.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted Tuesday
Yeah, someone on twitter recommended trello to me today. I'll suss it out.

Respond to this thread

Blarkon puts forth...

Posted Tuesday
Authoring is the permanent, but ultimately fruitless, search for some app related organizing technique that will make authoring less work. As though we can save countless hours by buying an app that costs a few bucks ;-)

(the closest I come is using mind mapping software - but I used to draw out mind maps by hand 20 years ago, so it's always been in the toolkit)

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted Tuesday
"Authoring is the permanent, but ultimately fruitless, search for some app related organizing technique that will make authoring less work"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Just kill me now.

damian has opinions thus...

Posted Yesterday
My experience is that putting time and effort into tools is really a form of procrastination. Which isn't to say you can't think about work while blowing time looking at shiny apps, but it is what it is and all that.

Oh and I have this stuck up above my desk at work: http://xkcd.com/1205/

Blarkon would have you know...

Posted 24 hours ago
Every author, in the throes of deadline hell, promises themselves that with the next book it will be different. With the next book they will be *organized*.

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted 22 hours ago
Every student too. I did a masters degree promising myself that next time I would be organised and not complete my assignments the night they were due in. Never happened.

Respond to this thread

MickH swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted Tuesday
Hmmm
I've been looking for a project to get my VB.net skills up to speed (I'm a VBA guru but need to step up) maybe we should talk JB and see if I can develop something you can use

Respond to this comment

Legless ducks in to say...

Posted Tuesday
I wrote a digital post it note web app a few months back. It's part of a larger system for anaesthetists to track their patients. You can add notes, edit current notes, move the notes around, assign colours and delete notes. And it autosaves as you type.

If I get the chance I'll bang up a demo for you.

Respond to this comment

Jo MacD asserts...

Posted Tuesday
Should I be assuming you've tried and ruled out using the notecards in Scrivener?
I used them to storyboard my hellishly convoluted masters thesis.
Extremely adaptable, and with a pretty cork board backdrop.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted Tuesday
I haven't but I should

damian mumbles...

Posted Yesterday
I thought it was here that I heard about Scrivener first, back when it was Mac-only too.

Fast-forward and I've read Charlie Stross waxing lyrical about it as an IDE for writers, and notice there's a windows version. If it comes out for linux I'll have no exxcuses anymore...

Respond to this thread

DNABeast reckons...

Posted Tuesday
I've heard good things about Scrivener.
http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Digital Post It Notes'