About Richard Bowker

Author of Senator, The Portal series, and The Last P.I. series.

Second draft of the novel is done

Appreciate the congrats, as our president would say.

It clocks in at 112K words, down about ten percent from the first draft. Yay! Lots of little stuff to take care of, but I think it’s about where it needs to be.

Its name, by the way, is Home.

In celebration, here is video of David Pastrnak’s hat trick against the Maple Leafs last night. That third goal is simply amazing.

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Easter Hymn

My brother reminds me of the great Easter hymn from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana. Here it is from the movie by Franco Zeffirelli, with plenty of over-the-top Zeffirelli imagery.

Anyway, Happy Easter, everyone!

Eighty-two percent done with my second draft

Finally identifying a couple of chapters I could just cut entirely has certainly helped progress — it’s easier to increase a percentage by lowering the denominator!

I’ve done a lot more reorganization than usual in this rewrite; the plot just seemed to work better with a different sequence of chapters. I’ve also changed my point-of-view character a good bit, and that basically involves an entire rewrite of the scene.

Still hoping to be done with the draft by the end of April. Seems like a bit of a stretch, though.

Silly grammar jokes

For silly grammar people, of whom I am definitely one.

A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

A question mark walks into a bar?

A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”

A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

A synonym strolls into a tavern.

At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.

The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

A dyslexic walks into a bra.

A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.

A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

What’s the point of practicing the piano?

My brother-in-law gave me a copy of the classic book Playing the Piano for Pleasure, which I first read many years ago. The author, Charles Cook, advocates playing the piano for an hour a day and dividing up that hour as follows:

  • Forty minutes of working on your repertoire–that is, a couple dozen pieces that you want to absolutely master (including memorizing them)
  • Ten minutes of working on your technique–he considers this optional
  • Ten minutes of sight-reading

The question I’m facing is how much effort I want to put into absolutely mastering a bunch of pieces, as opposed to knowing them well enough to derive please from playing them. In particular, what’s the point of memorizing them?

Here’s a piece I’ve been playing–the Brahms Waltz in A-flat Major, played by Evgeny Kissin:

This isn’t a hard piece to play. It lasts under two minutes, and there are only a couple of moderately tricky measures at the end. I played it through ten times or so and I was pretty comfortable with it. But to memorize it, I’ll have to hammer it into the ground for a couple more hours, and then continually review it to keep it in my fingers. That’s assuming my aging synapses are still capable of such feats.

Playing the piano, of course, makes you constantly aware of how far short you fall from what has been achieved by the geniuses who lurk among us. This site tells the story of the teenage Martha Argerich learning Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto in her sleep, while her roommate played it in the same room. When she revisited the concerto later, she had to unlearn some of the mistakes her roommate had been making.

Well, as John Lennon said, we’re all doing what we can.

 

Paperback versions of Dover Beach and The Distance Beacons

Turns out we now have paperback versions of my very fine novels Dover Beach and The Distance Beacons(An old, used paperback of Dover Beach is also available, but I don’t get any money when you buy one of those copies, so where’s the fun in that?) The covers look remarkably like the covers of the ebooks:

So now, along with Where All the Ladders Start, you can buy paperback versions of all three of the very fine novels in my Last P.I. series. Need I point out that a series of private eye novels set in a dystopian future after a major societal breakdown would make the perfect gift for that special someone on Valentine’s Day?

Also, I can get you these novels cheaper than you can get them from Amazon, so if you need a few, let me know.