I've just finished writing my sixth thriller a few weeks ago, a novel that will probably remain untitled until we get closer to a publication date. While this is the first of two related novels, I still don't have a feel for how the next book will move. Everything past the first hundred pages remains so sketchy. Instead of hitting it hard, I've decided to take the day off and watch a movie. At this point I can't decide between THE MALTESE FALCON or THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. I love both films, and Dashiell Hammett and Thomas Harris are two of my favorite authors.
What I admire about both of them is their remarkable grasp of storytelling. In both cases, the films are an exact mirror copy of the novels. John Huston directed THE MALTESE FALCON. But it's his credit as screenwriter that makes up one of my favorite stories in the history of filmmaking. Hammett's novel was so tight, so perfect, that Huston handed the book over to his assistant, asked her to transcribe it into screenplay form, and went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. If you ever get your hands on a copy of that screenplay, you'll see what I mean. It's Hammett's novel, word for word!