37. Wolfsong, Movies, and Books

I have just finished reading Wolves of the Calla. 700 pages and a little less than 2 months after I had started reading the absolute behemoth of a novel, I have journeyed from the start to the end of it, without missing a single page, or a single paragraph.

(sadly, the same cannot be said for sentences or individual words, since I had done most of my readings in the early hours of the morning – the hours so early that is isn’t yet appropriate to wake up)

And now I have begun reading the next great installment of The Gunslinger’s quest, in Song of Susannah. Only just peeled the plastic cover off mere minutes ago, and have caught the first glimpses of its contents.

(of course, the first chapter ends exactly at page 19)

I’ve said this many times to many people over the past weeks or so, and I’ll say it again here: Stephen King writes the most interesting nothing-happened scenes ever. The pace is slow, the in-universe days seem to stretch on forever, but damn if it isn’t entertaining through and through.

(with the exception of the opening prologue to Wolves of the Calla, but in retrospect, it was a necessary thing to set up the novel in such a way, or it would not have stood the way it did)

James Joyce’s Ulysses probably did it better, but I haven’t read that yet.

While we’re on the subject of reading, I have recently discovered a new-and-improved Film and Literature section of my university’s library. Nevermind that my university does not actually have a course for film studies – I now have access to actual academic resource on the filmmaking craft! How awesome is that? And don’t even get me started on the Literature section – I’m talking about serious literature here. Shakespeare; Kipling; Hemingway; Lee; Frost; Steinbeck – and a certain Dan Brown had somehow found his way into the lower shelves. Someone ought to talk to him and show him where he needs to go.

After an hour spent there just browsing through the books on display (Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies; The Puzzle Plot; Romeo and Juliet; Much Ado About Nothing… God, I could live there if they would let me!), I contented myself with borrowing an interesting-looking book titled Screenwriting Tips, You Hack, written by Xander Bennett.

I had since been carrying it everywhere I went – to class, to meals, to birthday celebrations – just in case I got a chance to read a few words and catch a few things. It’s a book I would highly recommend to people such as myself, who are involved in the business of writing and selling words crafted for the screen. Whether you have spent the last 30 years doing this, or you’re barely more than a wannabe such as myself, there’s definitely something in this for you. Much more than just being informative, this book has been inspirational for me to get back into the craft of scriptwriting, something I had put on hold ever since completing Kesah Chenta Cornetto: Uda & Dara back in March.

Once I am done with the business which is a children’s book for the Scholastic Asian Book Awards (due October 21), serious work will begin on a script for a feature film. Look out for it.

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