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Funny thing about writing a novel in two weeks: you miss out on your shows. 
Speaking of which, have you watched the new MacGyver series? If you love empty calories, this show is right along the lines of Burn Notice. It's goofy, completely unbelievable, most likely scientifically inaccurate, with weak dialog, floppy plot lines and paper-thin characters. 
And I love every second of it. 
When your brain is tired, sometimes you just want to lean back in your office chair, pull up iTunes and gulp down some metaphorical carbs. That's what I'm doing this very moment. I happen to know some of the science is ganky, because I may or may not have been a science geek at some point, but that doesn't bother me. For all its flaws, this show is FUN, just like its predecessor. 
Do yourself a favor. Watch it.
Pop CultureTV
My mother is the reason I ever read Stephen King; she was a huge fan of his from the time his first book, Carrie, came out.
Mom is a brand loyalist, too, meaning once she latches onto something, that's the thing she loves, no matter what, and it never changes, as far as I can tell.
So I sent Father of Malice to her, simply because she's a tough critic of anything I do, and always has been. A lot of people can argue whether that's denigrating to children or pushing them to succeed. I have no idea, but I do know my mother has always been quick to point out the flaws in whatever I'm doing. 
Which makes this text message from her utterly shocking:
This is the most frightening book I have ever read, including Stephen King's books.
I generally receive and respond to text messages in the Messages app on my Mac instead of looking at them on my phone, so as I was sitting at my desk and received that message, my jaw literally dropped. 
Father of Malice is my first straight-up horror novel, so it was amazing that she had that reaction. I wrote the thing in two weeks (in case you haven't read every other post I've made in the last several weeks), so I expected some harsh criticism to come down from, like I said, my most intense critic. Instead, she later texted this:
I'm almost too scared to read the end.
This book is so freaking awesome!! ... It was meant to be! I always knew your brain was weird, but you have used that bizarre imagination to create a scary book that forces people to think!
Again, jaw-dropping. Of course, it wasn't all praise; she complained about having to read about a cleaning lady at a motel who ultimately ends up having no part in the plot and about a couple of typos that were introduced through autocorrect on my phone. But as far as the actual novel goes, she really loved it and said it terrified her, which are two things I was going for. Several other "beta" readers are looking at it now, so we'll see if they share her opinion.
Next step is sending query letters out to agents, which is so far outside my wheelhouse I'm actually having to spend more time thinking about that than I did the novel itself.
BizarreFather of MaliceParenting Poorly

After a two-week marathon of 5,000 to 6,000 word days, I'm proud to announce that I have finished writing Father of Malice, what I believe to be my best novel yet. 
To repeat the plot synopsis:
A snarky big-city newspaper editor gets fired and finds himself having to move to small-town America to get another job. Once there, his new paper discovers a strange cult outside town that worships a mysterious, emaciated man who seems to pop up in whispered tales of horror throughout history.
I initially worried that, by getting caught up in an effort to write a complete novel in half a month, quality of the work would suffer, but going back through it, I can honestly say I'm pleasantly surprised.
I wrapped it all up at 6:13 p.m. tonight.
In this instance, being trapped by being able to only write 80,000 words on the story (I fudged a bit; the final tally is 84,241), I had to actually leave some things out that I wanted to put in. In some previous works, I sometimes struggled to reach the word count and had to really concentrate to not pad it out with nonsense. But in this case, everything just needed to be exactly as long as it was, and though I had to leave some important tangents out, I ended up loving the way it all came together.
So I'll stop talking about it now. I'm sure anyone who reads all the entries below will be glad to hear it's over; I'm done talking about Father of Malice for now.
After all, Robby the R-Word is coming out in May. Concentrate on that for now.
Father of MaliceRobby the R-WordWriting Quickly
I really want to be done writing Father of Malice before the end of January, which will happen later today. My reason is entirely selfish and stupid: I want to have written a complete novel in two weeks, because I think that would be pretty cool, especially since I've been carrying on my normal routine while doing it, including doing my regular work, playing with the kids, watching TV with the wife, tearing down barns and talking smack to the dogs. 
I now have 80,000 words written, which is the typical novel length (and 3,000 more words than are in Robby the R-Word), but the story isn't done yet. It's getting there, but there are a lot of loose threads to tie together before we can get to the knot at the end.
Can I do that in the 5,000 words I can write in the next 24 hours? I'm going to do my dead level best. I wrote around 6,000 words today, so maybe. It doesn't really seem like I've been writing this much, so maybe that means the story is compelling. I feel like there is so much I could put in this story, but publishers tend to frown at really long novels from newish authors, because long novels cost more money to publish.
So I won't add everything I want to add, but there is enough in there to keep it interesting, I think. I hope.
UPDATE: I just did the math, and I've written 30,000 words in the last five days (I was at 50,000 on Jan. 25, five days ago), which means my average is 6,000 words per day over the last five days. That's THREE TIMES my usual output. And the best part is it doesn't feel like I'm writing that many. I'm not doing that at one sitting. The rhythm I've settled into is I'll write some in the morning, then in the evening, when I'm watching TV, I'll write some more, and after the kids have gone to bed, I'll write a little more. Rinse, repeat.
Father of MaliceWriting Quickly
I've never heard of someone writing a novel in two weeks. 
It's probably happened, but I've never heard of it.
Father of Malice HAD to be told. Try as I might, it was all I could think of, the only thing I have wanted to do for the past two weeks. 
I believe it is, without reservation, the best book I've ever written, and I'm including the 100-plus books I ghost wrote when I was a ghost writer. I'm still a little way from the end, but strictly relying on word count, I have an entire novel of words racked up, so I'm stoked about it. Let's say I had a deadline and I had to turn in a novel tomorrow. I could wrap it up (unsatisfyingly, but still complete) tomorrow. 
Though the concept for Father of Malice has existed in my head for at least a year and I started writing on it several times, the truth is, the first word on that novel was written Jan. 14. That means 15 days later, I have written enough words to complete the entire novel (assuming I would leave it at 74,000). 
I know. That's exactly the same thing I said before. But I'm really, REALLY shocked at how quickly this novel has been written. If I could keep up that pace, I would be a BEAST at writing novels. Maybe now that I've unlocked the secret of making that happen, I will, but as of now, I'm just happy to see the end at the light of the tunnel (yeah, I know that phrase is supposed to be another way), and I can actually see this wrapping up before January is complete.
I don't care what happens after this, I will always brag that I completed a novel in two weeks. A novel I believe is the best thing I've ever written. 
Father of MaliceWriting Quickly
Robby the R-Word page at Promotory Press
I was talking to a rather famous minister about co-writing a book detailing the very public struggle he had when Christianity turned its back on him, so I started googling myself to see what he would see if he also googled me. Spoiler: I should delete this entire site, according to my wife, but I countered back that this site shows who I am, and if people get here and don't like it, that's fine, because they don't want me if they can't handle the fact that I sometimes cuss and say offensive things. 
A guy can still be a Christian and do all those things, and I can prove it in the Bible. But that's an entry for another day.
In the course of googling myself (I rarely google; I use Duck Duck Go instead, but I switch to google sometimes to see what other people are seeing), I found that Promontory Press, the publisher for Robby the R-Word, had posted the picture of me that was supposed to be used on the back of the book:
Shut up. It's hard to find a good picture of me. 
Also, I'd like to talk with the iPhone about making my teeth look like that. 

So I thought, that's new. So I went to the page it was linked from, and behold, they had an author page up on me, and from that author page, they linked to a book page about Robby the R-Word, which isn't due out until spring. And it has a new summary of the book on it, which I also like. 
And then, going back to the google search, I saw this:
Um, what?
Because I am the author of a true crime book where a polygamist minister actually did murder one of his wives, I thought briefly that some weirdo had put this together as a commentary on my book or me, or something else that only made sense in the weirdo's mind.  Turns out there's just a web comic called "The comic adventures of Left and Right," about a thing that faces left and another thing that faces right. And in this one panel, the dude just stumbled upon my name. Weird, right? 
Anyway, if you're the minister I was talking about and you ended up on this page, don't worry about the stuff here. I can still write a respectful book that will tell your story, because I believe in it and I think it's a story that deserves to be told, that will benefit everyone. And that is one of the few times on this page you will see me being completely serious and not sarcastic at all.
Googling MyselfRobby the R-Word
That's right. Crossed the 50,000 word mark. In just over ten days. 
Also, I changed my writing program a bit. The icons for chapters were cute, but I kept finding myself pausing (and pausing when you're writing this much is a waste of time) to try to remember what was in which chapter. I'm the kind of reader where a few words from a chapter can remind me everything that was in that chapter, so I decided instead of icons for chapters, I'd have a little preview of the first few words in the chapter:
That makes it a lot easier for me to keep the rhythm of the book going the way I want it when I'm adding another chapter.
So yeah, I'm getting pretty pumped about Father of Malice. I think I may have it done before Robby the R-Word goes on sale, even!
I think around the same time, because I've been improving the WriteEverywhere program as I'm using it for this book, it should be getting close to ready for beta testing from other writers.
UPDATE, Jan. 27: It looks great on an iPhone, too. (And you'll note I passed the 60,000 word mark:

Father of MaliceProgrammingRobby the R-WordWriteEverywhere.comWriting
When lyricists can't figure out what words to put to a melody, they use nonsense words like "yeah" and "oh," which is what Bruce Springsteen was doubtlessly doing in the lyric I quoted in the headline to this entry.
But when I say "I'm on fire," I have two pictures to show you.
This is Jan. 15
On January 15, seven days ago (at least seven days ago when this entry was started), Father of Malice had a grand total of 4,448 words written.
This is Jan. 22, seven days later.
On Jan. 22, seven days later, Father of Malice had just 28 words under 33,000 written. That means I wrote 29,000 words in a week. UPDATE: After I wrote this entry, I went back to the novel and the word count now stands at 33,739, which means I wrote 29,291 words in the last seven days.
That's 4,143 words per day, on average. When I'm writing, I try to hit 2,000 words per day. So essentially, I'm doubling that with this novel. I think that's a testament to the story itself, which is some crazy stuff, and I think it's going to be something everyone will want to read.
I usually aim for around 80,000 words in a novel, which means at 33,000, I'm almost halfway there. IN A WEEK. I know people who don't read novels that quickly. It would be nice if I could finish it up in another week, but I don't think that's being realistic. I'm glad for the output I've had so far, but I'm not going to count on it continuing. 
That said, the entire story is pretty well mapped out in my brain, so maybe. Here's hoping, at least.
I think some of the credit goes to my writing program, too. The worst part of writing a novel is being away from my family. But when they're watching something dumb on TV (usually, that's what they're watching), I can sit on the couch with them and write on my phone. Then, when one of the kids wants me to get up and pour them some apple juice, or make microwave popcorn, or fetch Cheez-its, or look at the latest drawing they've done, or cut a heart out of construction paper, or, or, or, it's no problem, because I'm right there with them, and as soon as the task is done, I can get back to writing while they watch the aforementioned dumb programming.
It's the perfect situation!
Father of MaliceWorkaholicWriteEverywhere.comWriting
In the post below, where I say I've written 10,000 words this week, I was wrong.
I've written 20,000 words this week.
The book, which started out around 4,000 words early this week, is now at 25,000 words. I'm no mathematician (also apparently no speller, since that took me like three times to spell without Safari complaining about how dumb I am), but I think that officially means I've written a shit-ton of words this week.
Hell, five thousand of those were today.
I love it when a story is just begging to be told. The average novel clocks in at 80,000 words, so I'm more than a quarter of the way done, and I've really only been working on it a week. I think (but am not empirically sure) that's a personal record for me.
So I feel comfortable telling you the project is Father of Malice. I have so much more to say, it's almost painful for me to take time out to write this blog post.
I feel like Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man, when he's typing away at an ATM keyboard, and since he's been in stasis for like 60 years while the government has been imposing hacking skills into his brain, he looks at his hands, which are typing commands faster than he can think of them, and goes, "I'm possessed!"
Father of Malice feels like a story that is demanding to be told, and the only holdup is the speed of my typing. I haven't felt like that since Robby the R-Word, so I'm happy about the way it is working itself out—which is even faster than Robby was.
Father of MaliceRobby the R-WordWriting
Anyone who's been following along for the last little while knows I've been bouncing between projects a lot. I love all the projects I've got going, but none of them were really demanding that I write them. So I never developed enough enthusiasm for one to take it much past a few thousand words.
Well, I hit an artery this week, and I won't tell you which project it is, because the title will mean nothing to you, so why bother. But the fact is, I've written more than 10,000 words on it this week, adding to what was already there, and that's quite an accomplishment, given that I haven't really staked out any significant time to do so.
Generally, when I'm hot and heavy writing on a project, I force myself to write 2,000 words a day, come hell or high water, and sometimes it really does feel like I'm having to force myself to hit that total. 
This week, however, it's just flowed. And I'm not blocking out time to do it. Because of my writing program, I'm doing it when I'm sitting on the couch, half-watching some forgettable show. Or I'm doing it between programming projects, or in a few minutes of down time. And somehow, I've met the 2,000-word-per-day benchmark without even trying. 
The best stories seem to write themselves, as if the characters and situations exist in some other dimension, just waiting for me to put my hands on my keyboard or on my phone and type them into existence. That's how this one is doing right now.
It's not an exact metaphor, however, because I've been turning these ideas over in my head for quite some time, and then, like a snap, it just all clicked and the pieces fell into place in my mind, so the story refused to continue not being written. I feel like I've hit my stride; the copy looks clean to me, and so far, I've only had to back up and delete stuff twice, backing myself out of corners that were created by fuzzy plot points in my mind. Now, however, everything is clear, and like when I'm reading a good book, I can't not write, because I want to get to the end. I have to get these characters onto the page, the situations written out, so the characters can reach the climax, which is going to be pretty cool. This is the only time, I think, that I've had an ending in mind when I started writing the book, which I think is a good sign.
One of my favorite writers (OK, my favorite), Stephen King, sucks at endings. He's horrible at it. For all the virtuosity in his writing, the unparalleled storytelling, the maddening perfection of his craft, I have rarely liked the ending to one of his stories. And I think that comes from the chaotic way he writes, which I also happen to do. 
But in this case, the story just popped into my head from the pieces floating around in there, including the ending, and I'm hammering away to make it a reality.
This is new for me, so let's see where it takes me.
I created my writing app (WriteEverywhere) for a very specific purpose: I wanted to be able to write from my computer or from my phone without worrying about whether what I had written would actually synch up, regardless of which device I was using. This is a surprisingly difficult problem to address. The reasons are complicated, but most of them have to do with determining which version of the document is most recent (if you edit on an iPhone and then edit again on a computer, the two devices struggle to tell each other whose version is more recent). 
I solved that problem by storing all my documents on a web server and then using the app to edit, regardless of whether the app is on a computer or a phone. 
Anyway, that was all well and good, but I still had a problem: the app looked like crap on an iPhone, and it was tough to use because of the way iPhones handle certain types of input.
So I cracked down, and above is what you see when you launch the app (a list of books you've created). 
Then, clicking on a book produces this:
And, of course, when you select a chapter, it produces this:
And it all works great. I still have a few things to fix before it's completely useable, but at this point, I can actually write on my iPhone again, which had been stopping me from writing as much as I used to, because if I'm using my phone, I can write and still hang around the family, "watch" TV with them, that kind of thing. 
So I'm excited. 
And yeah, as you can tell, my attention has switched back to Father of Malice as my current project, and I think I'll stick with it this time, because I've stumbled across a great plot, and that's like hitting an artery—the gush of words just won't stop.
Here's my new plot overview for it: 
A snarky big-city newspaper editor gets fired and finds himself having to move to small-town America to get another job. Once there, his new paper discovers a strange cult outside town that worships a mysterious, emaciated man who seems to pop up in whispered tales of horror throughout history.
I think it's a great plot, and I'm going to be writing it pretty quickly from here out now that I don't have to sit at my desk to do it.
UPDATE: Still working on it. I fixed the editing interface to make everything clearer:
The formatting buttons are all now clearer, and you can tell which chapter and book you're working on.
Father of MaliceProgrammingWriteEverywhere.comWriting