The Daily Word Counts of 19 Famous Writers

Aspiring writers often have quite a few questions wondering if they are doing everything correctly. Should they sign up for some sort of class on writing to get experience? Do they need a mentor that will guide them along the way? Is it true they have to starve first by giving up their job so they can focus on only writing? But the truth of the matter is, what may work for one writer may not work for another.

The most difficult thing facing an aspiring writer is to take time out of each and every day to practice their craft. In truth, you are either an aspiring writer or a writer. If all you do is talk about wanting to write a book, then you are an aspiring writer. If you are actively writing each and every week, then you are already a writer! When it comes down to it, aspiring writers talk the talk, but writers walk the walk.

Which leads to one of the most asked questions by writers or aspiring writers. How much should I write every day? There is such a thing as quality over quantity though. But by realizing the daily word count that successful writers write, it should provide a good estimate on what you should be achieving. And I am speaking about the daily word count for the book that you are writing, not anything else.

Many people, unfortunately, write thousands of words on their social media accounts during the day. They write about their daily schedule, what they had to eat recently, or their personal views on the most recent topics. If you are truly a writer, do yourself a favor and stay off of social media as much as you can and focus on your writing project. When you finally complete your book, I guarantee that you will not say to yourself, “I sure wish I would have posted more on Facebook instead to keep everyone up to date on the mundane things of my life.”

Daily Word Counts
As you will notice from reading the list below, daily word counts vary greatly from one successful writer to the next. In addition, these are all authors that make their living by writing. They don’t have a forty hour a week job to go to either. But if you have been writing for awhile now and know your approximate daily word count, it might compare quite favorably with these famous authors!

Ernest Hemingway: 500 Words

Of course, Hemingway is no longer alive, but when he was he would stick around writing about 500 words a day. “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that,” Hemingway said.

Stephen King: 2,000 Words

Stephen King seems to be one of the most prolific writers of all time. His novels can be extremely long and wordy, so one would think he would write an immense amount of words daily. However, this is not always the case.

In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King speaks on his writing speed. He would set a daily goal of about 2,000 words. This would add up to about 180,000 words in three months of writing. He also said that three months was the maximum amount of time it should take someone to finish a first draft. If it takes longer, it will get tougher and tougher to delve back into the story with the right frame of mind. In addition, King can often become involved in marathon writing sessions. He wrote The Running Man in one week.

Jack London: 1,500 Words

Jack London’s most well known novel, The Call of the Wild, was a classic. He probably had a few more in him, but he died at the age of forty. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club,” he stated.

Tom Wolfe: 135 Words

Tom Wolfe is an author that has written many popular books that were later made into films. The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities are just a couple. However, he never seemed to be in a rush to finish his books. His book A Man in Full is 370,000 words and it took him eleven years to finish. “My children grew up thinking that was all I did: write, and never finish, a book called A Man in Full,” Wolfe admitted.

Mark Twain: 1,400-1,800 Words

If there was a Mount Rushmore for writers, Mark Twain would definitely be on it. But he realized that sometime it depended on the location of where you are actually doing the writing. “In 1897, when we were living in Tedworth Square, London, and I was writing the book called “Following the Equator” my average was eighteen hundred words a day; here in Florence, (1904), my average seems to be fourteen hundred words per sitting of four or five hours.”

W. Somerset Maugham: 1,000 Words

W. Somerset Maugham was a British playwright, novelist, and short story author. He was among the most popular writers of his era and was also reportedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s. He was an orphan by the time he turned ten years old and was raised by an uncle that did his best to make into an accountant. Maugham persevered through life and wrote some quality classics. But he even recognized there was no set formula on writing. “There are three rules for writing a novel,” he said. “Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

Sarah Waters: 1,000 Words

Sarah Waters is a Welsh novelist and bestselling author. She has written six novels to date with many of them being turned into films. Still, she feels the same way a lot of writers do when sitting down to write everyday. “My minimum is 1,000 words a day… Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish- they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better,” Waters said.

Sebastian Faulks: 1,000 Words

Sebastian Faulks is a British novelist, journalist, and broadcaster. He is perhaps best known for his historical novels that are set in France. Faulks believes in consistency when working. “When I am writing a book I write from ten til six everyday in a small office near my house,” he said. “I never write less than a 1000 words a day. Writer’s Block is God’s way of telling you to shut up. More people should have it.”

Michael Crichton: 10,000 Words

Michael Crichton wrote several novels that were later turned into films. Jurassic Park was just one of the popular ones. Crichton passed away almost ten years ago, but he was an American author, screenwriter, film director, and producer that did very well in the genres of science fiction and thrillers. Also, his daily word count was always extremely high. “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten,” he said. “Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

Kate DiCamillo: 600-900 Words

Kate DiCamillo is an American writer of children’s fiction that has written several modern day classics. Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, and Flora & Ulysses are merely a few. She is also one of six people to win two Newbery Medals recognizing her work. “My goal is two pages a day, five days a week. I never want to write, but I’m always glad that I have done it,” DiCamillo said. I think many writers know exactly what she means by this.

Nicholas Sparks: 2,000 Words

Nicholas Sparks is an American romance novelist, screenwriter, and producer. His books and films all follow a bit of the same pattern with a woman meeting a new man, and the women that read his books and watch his movies just love it. He has published nineteen novels to date. Sparks says a novel takes him a few months to conceive, and then about five months to write. He sets a daily goal for himself of 2,000 words which takes him about five to six hours to write. “See,” he said, “it’s not an unbelievable pace.”

J.G. Ballard: 1,000 Words

James Ballard was an English novelist and short story writer who passed away in 2009. He said, “All through my career I’ve written 1,000 words a day- even if I’ve got a hangover. You’ve got to discipline yourself if you’re professional. There’s no other way.”

Ian McEwan: 600 Words

Ian McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter that has attained the recognition that most writers dream about. In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” and The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 19 in their list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture”. Not too shabby. “I aim for about six hundred words a day and hope for at least a thousand when I’m on a roll,” he once said.

Lee Child: 1,800 Words

Lee Child is a British author who is best known for his Jack Reacher novels that have been made into films starring Tom Cruise. “I write in the afternoon, from about 12 until about 6 or 7,” he said. “I use an upstairs room as my office. Once I get going I keep at it, and it usually takes about six months from the first blank screen until the end.”

Anne Rice: 3,000 Words

Anne Rice is an American author from New Orleans that writes quite a bit of gothic fiction. She is best known for her vampire novels and the film Interview with a Vampire. “I have to get all distractions out of the way,” she says. “I plunge into the work and write an episode; I can’t just clock in at 3,000 words. I have to have time free to resolve things. I write in episodic ways. But when I’m ready to plunge in, I write from late morning through all afternoon, all evening.”

Arthur Conan Doyle: 3,000 Words

Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his novels starring Sherlock Holmes, probably the most popular fictional detective of all time. He wrote sixty stories about the legendary sleuth. “Anything is better than stagnation,” he said.

Arthur Hailey: 600 Words

Arthur Hailey died in 2004, but before his time was up he had written many novels that had a backdrop of several industries. One of his more popular ones that was later made into a movie was Airport. “I set myself 600 words a day as a minimum output, regardless of the weather, my state of mind or if I’m sick or well,” he had said. “There must be 600 finished words- not almost right words.”

Graham Greene: 500 Words

Graham Greene was an English novelist regarded by many as one of the great writers of the 20th century. He wrote highly acclaimed serious Catholic novels and thrillers. Greene came close to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in back to back years in 1966 and 1967. He passed away in 1991, but through his 67 years of writing he had completed 25 novels. “Over twenty years I have probably averaged five hundred words a day for five days a week. I can produce a novel in a year, and that allows time for revision and the correction of the typescript. I have always been very methodical, and when my quota of work is done I break off, even in the middle of a scene,” he said.

Holly Black: 1,000 Words

Holly Black is an American writer best known for The Spiderwick Chronicles, a series of children’s fantasy books she created with writer and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi. She also has written a trilogy of young adult novels officially called the Modern Faerie Tales trilogy. Black perhaps summarizes the feeling of every writer when she responded back to a compliment about how productive she has been with all her novels. “First of all, thank you very much for saying I’m productive, because some days I don’t feel that way,” she said. “Yes, I try to write a thousand words every day. I’ve actually put up my daily word counts online for my last several novels. I do this to keep myself honest, saying exactly when I wrote what part of the book. Certainly the comment I most often get is, “That’s not really a lot of words,” but it goes to show that just steadily working will get you a book. I try to make a thousand words a day, but that isn’t always the reality.”

  • I never knew how hard these people worked! I am glad i know! i want to be an Author one day! (I’m 12 years old right now!)

    • I think that, as a 12 year old, you really have a comparatively fantastic writing style. Check back with me when you’re 20 or so, and I can steal your money ,I mean, encourage you 🙂

    • If you’re writing every week you’re already a writer, if not, those first few words are the hardest, then everyday it gets easier. Starting now will give you a massive head start on the rest of us.

      Get used to the naysayers and learn to ignore them, people will try to drag you down. Check out crab mentality. People can’t stand it when someone has a clear idea about their future, especially when they don’t.

  • This a little bit of what i wrote for my book!

    One day in the year 1976, there was a 11 year old girl that had no name and she lived at a Orphanage. She had two friends, they didn’t have names ether, and the that boy was 12 and that girl was 11. They were schooled at the Orphanage instead of going to a real school, like other kids with names. One day in class, the girl got a note from one of her friends, he wrote: “Hey, our friend and I were thinking that we could get our own names,” The girl longed for a name, and this was her chance! She read on: “I over heard the owner of the Orphanage, that she was going to give her favorite kids, names!” So some how the girl had to find a way to become one of Mrs. Smith’s (The owner of the Orphanage,) favorite kids! But how? The night the girl and her friends went up to there room, and thought of how to become one of the favorites.

      • Here Is more If you want it!

        “We could do extra chores!” said her friend, she had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and dark skin.

        “No, that would be to much work. We could do better on our school!” said the boy, he had black hair, green eyes, and light skin.

        “Maybe we could do all of those things and be extra polite!” said the girl, she had brown hair, green eyes, and light skin. They all agreed.
        The next day they were super polite, did extra chores, and did better on there school. Then Mrs. Smith sent the girl to go pick up the milk she had ordered. So she went down the street, and got the basket full of milk jars, then she saw a girl on the sidewalk, she was in ripped clothes and she had orange hair and her blue eyes were filled with tears. She looked about her age. The Orphan girl went over to her and gave her some milk.

        “Thank you, so much!” She said. She was not crying anymore! The Girl went back to the place where she got the milk and got extra, she said it was so she could get a name, and the man was glad to give her some more. When she got back, her friends came running over and hugged her.

        “We got our own names!” Said her friend, “My name is Olivia an his is Axel!” Said Olivia, the girl was so happy, she could not wait to get her name! She brought the milk to Mrs. Smith, and she was very happy there was no charge for the extra milk, that she gave the girl a name, it was Jesse!
        Later that day there was a play going on in town, and they needed actors. Jesse, Axle, and Olivia knew how to act very well. But there was one problem, the play was passed there bed time, and Mrs. Smith checked on everyone every two hours. So that means that they will have to sneak out. But they need to set up something so that Mrs. Smith will think there still in bed. The Play was Robin Hood, but with the characters as animals. Like the Robin Hood movie from 1973. But as a play and 3 years later. They set up a button that when you stepped on it, it would set of the clock alarm, that Olivia programed to sound like snoring. They snuck out the window and went over to the tent where they were having the play. Luckily it was a kids play, so kids were acting!
        In that play, Axel was Robin Hood, Jesse was Maid Marine, and Olivia was the mother of Skippy the rabbit! The cast thought Axle was very funny, because when they were practicing with the weapons Axel hit the wall when everyone else hit the middle of the target, that was funny!
        The next day after the play they didn’t tell anybody, because someone might tell Mrs. Smith, and then they might get in trouble. So they kept it a secret and laughed about it all that night.
        The next morning Olivia was sent to get some bread for lunch that day. She picked up the bread, and accidentally slipped and fell into someones arms.

        “Oh, hello there lil’ Miss.” said the boy, she had fell into some boy’s arms!

        “Oh, I’m so sorry for interrupting your stroll.” Said Olivia, she had found a boy! He had very nice clothes on, unlike hers, he had blond hair, and blue eyes!
        She had never seen a boy like this before.

        “Where are my manners,” he said, “My name is Lukas! What might your name be?” Asked Lukas, Olivia was so lost in “Love Land” that she could almost not even talk!

        “I’m, Olivia.” She said staring at his bright happy blue eyes.

        “Oh, I must get going. Olivia, when are you coming back here?”

        “Next Week!”

        “Well, see you then!” He said, walking away down the street. Olivia was so happy, she ran back to the Orphanage to tell her story to her friends.
        While she went back to her friends, Lukas went home to his Dad, and told him about her.

        “Oh, Dad she’s lovely!” He said, he had been explaining her over lunch!

        “Yes, maybe we can figure out where she lives and then you can hang out more, with this Olivia of yours.” Said his Dad.
        Back at the Orphanage Olivia was explaining stuff about Lukas.

        “Oh, he is the most handsomest boy I have ever met!” She kept saying.

        “Hey, what about me!” The girls both looked at him. Everyone at the Orphanage disliked Axle, except for Olivia and Jesse.

        “Your not that handsome and we all know that you have never really gotten a girl that liked you back, and plus this is about Olivia, not you Axle.” Said Jesse. What she said was true, he had never gotten a girl that liked him, crush wise. When it was Noon, the kids got to go get three baskets of milk jars. So Jesse, Olivia, and Axel went to go get them. While Axel and Olivia were putting the milk into the baskets, Jesse saw the girl on the side walk.

        “Oh, hello again!” She said, Jesse waved back and grabbed her friend’s hands and introduced them to her.

        “This is Olivia and Axle, Oh and I’m Jesse.” She said.

        “I like your names, I wish I had one.” She said sadly.

        “We could give you a name!” Said Jesse, she was thinking a lot about this now. What is her name going to be? “I don’t know what it could be, but I will make sure I find a good one for you!” She said, the girl smiled!

        “Can I show you where I live?” Asked the girl.

        “Of course!” Said Axel, so she took them down a old alley.

        “This is where I live!” She showed them her bed, which was a box, and then she showed them something she called a “secret”.

        “Now, don’t tell anyone about this! Or else!” She said,

        “Or else, what?” Asked Axel.

        “I don’t know, but here is my secret pet, Llama!” She showed them a vanilla colored Llama. She had a blue and pink scarf on. “Her name is Luna, spelled with two Ls.” She said petting the Llama. It was very strange to have a pet Llama, live in an alley, and keep it all a secret from everyone but her new friends. That meant she must be a Orphan too!

        “Your an Orphan!” Jesse shouted,

        “Yeah, but I really don’t like it very much, the last time I went to a Orphanage, the owner was so mean. I don’t want that to happen again. I had to run away because it was so bad!” She said, sitting in her box bed.

        “Maybe you could come to our Orphanage!” Said Olivia, the alley girl smiled, and they brought her to the Orphanage. They told the milk man to take care of Lluna, and he promised that she could see her Llama any time! So the four friends walked to the Orphanage…

        Chapter 2 The Rich Family

        When the got to the Orphanage with with the alley girl, she stop and hesitated.

        “Were am i going to sleep?” she asked looking at Jesse.

        “Your going to sleep in our room, no one else is in there except Axel, Olivia, and I!” said Jesse, she didn’t want her to worry so much. So they went in side, and saw Mrs. Smith.

        “Well, hello there, now you shale sleep in room 15. I will help you unpack your stuff.” then she looked at her bag, it was a old brown sake, the only things in there were, her stuffed animal Llama, a pencil and note book, and a bandana. “Oh, my! Where is all your stuff?”

        “This is it!” she said happily. Then she went upstairs to room 15. They realized that this was not Jesse, Axel, and Olivias room. It was the bullies room! The bullies were so mean and they would totally kick the girls hind.

        “Hey, guys look its Bessy and the other stupid heads!” said Mark, he was pretty much the “leader” of the bullies. He pushed the alley girl over and then Jesse, and the rest of them over. They ran out the door and into room 13, where Jesse, Axel, and Olivia slept.

        “Oh my goodness, i was petrified in there!” she said, and that gave Jesse an idea.

        “Your name will be Petra!” Jesse said happily, she had never felt better then to give her new friend a name!

        “Why, because i’m a scaredy cat!” said Petra, annoyed at that time.

        “No, Petra is a girls version of Peter!” said Jesse, they all laughed. Jesse and Olivia helped Petra find witch bed she was going to sleep in, while Axle went to get some bread.
        When he got there, he saw lots of yummy bread, and he thought, that he might make a friend, or meet someone like Olivia and Jesse did. But he could not find anyone to meet. The milk stand and the bread stand were across the street from each other, so he went over to talk to Lluna while he waited for the bread to be ready.

        “Oh Lluna, I wish i could make a friend!” he said sadly, then he saw a blond boy walk by the bread stand asking the baker something.

        “Have you seen a dark skinned girl, with black hair in pigtails today?” he said. Axle could not believe it! That was the boy that Olivia met that one day! he ran over to talk to him.

        “I have! she lives over there at the Orphanage. I can take you there after i get some bread!” said Axle. of course Lukas had to ask Axle’s name and all, he was really polite, and Axle had never met someone this polite before! They walked and talked, and Axle thought he had made a new friend! they went inside the Orphanage, and into room 13.

        “Hey Olivia, guess what Lukas and I have been talking, and he says he is inviting us over for super!” he said, Olivia could not believe her eyes, it really was Lukas!

        “Oh, thats awesome! Can Petra come too?” asked Olivia, Lukas looked at Petra like there was a problem with that.

        “Sure! The more the merrier!” so he lead them to his house. It was the biggest house the Orphan kids had ever seen! When Lukas rang the door bell, a tall old man opened the door with a smile, he had glasses, gray hair, and blue eyes, Witch made Jesse, interested in the man.

        “Hello master Lukas, and friends! What might your names be?” he asked, with a shy smile.

        “This is, Jesse, Axel, Petra, and Olivia, the girl i met that one day i told you about!” Lukas said, looking at Olivia. “Oh, this is Mr. Edison Le, he’s the butler!”

        “Come inside Master Lukas and friends.” he said, opening the door to a really big house! The Orphans were amazed. Lukas brought them into the dinning room. The table looked like it could fit 10 families at once!

        • I really liked your story. I hope you continue to write and I look forward to reading your books one day.

        • I really like your idea! Here are the first few pages of the story I’m working on:
          “Not again,” Ray grumbled as she walked into another meeting with the fairy council of Calor, the country that had the hottest climate in all of the three fairy regions: Glaciem, the coldest, Aura, the temperate one, and Calor. The kingdom she ruled.
          Her twin sister Joule wrinkled her nose. “I could beat all six of them in a fight, easy.” She estimated, talking to Ray out of the side of her mouth.
          Ray studied the squabbling fairies. She had trained with the saber, like Joule, but not nearly as hard. She was willing to bet that she could beat five of them, but the other… “You sure you could beat Cyclone?”
          Joule considered that. “He might be able to know what I’m about to do, but he can’t see where I would hit him. I’d win.”
          Cyclone was blind, with an ugly scar slashed horizontally through his pale face and both his blue eyes, but he had the rare ability to read minds. Ray also suspected he was a genius, but he was certainly no help with controlling the fairies that bickered on either side of him as he sat, quietly observing them without seeing them or being seen. His orange wings barely gave off any light, contrasting noticeably with the wings of the others, which were glowing nearly red with fury. Noticeable to Ray, but apparently not to the rest of the self-absorbed council, which never glanced at him once.
          “You’d be surprised,” Cyclone replied across the room to Joule. He didn’t yell like the rest of Calor’s ruling council, but his voice carried much better than the screaming fairies around him. Sand started when he heard Cyclone speak, and when he looked over at the fairy beside him, nobody could mistake the fear and revulsion painted clearly across the councilman’s face. Sand tried to move seats unobtrusively, but all eyes were now on him.
          “Be surprised at what, huh?” Cactus demanded. “Everyone keeps secrets from me! It’s so unfair! I want to talk to someone in charge! And Saaaaaand! Stop looking at Cyclone like that! You’ll get us in trouble! I hate you! I hate all of you!” Sometimes Ray could hardly believe Cactus was an adult fairy; she’d seen some six year olds that were more mature than him.
          “I could be in charge,” Adder offered silkily. Ray dug her nails into her fist. He had been trying to become king instead of her ever since she became queen, two years earlier, when her father Raptor was killed by the hypnoformers. They were creatures, entirely composed of ancient magic and hate, that could hypnotize any fairy, human, or merperson, and could turn into a perfect replica of them as well. They had been ruled by Lady Ivy, a traitorous member of the royal family of Aura. Ray suspected that Ivy had been working with Queen Tundra of Glaciem, but she had no way to prove it, and kept those conspiracy-theory-like thoughts to herself.
          “Or I could be in charge, since you manipulated Mother into leaving her throne. But Ray’s the queen, so shut up, you moose.” Joule said bitingly. Except for the moose part. That was a favorite insult of Ray’s sister’s, but she never really understood how that was supposed to be hurtful. Ray mostly found it comical.
          Adder’s thoughts were obviously going along the same lines, which Ray didn’t love. She would prefer to be as different from him as possible. “Moose?”
          “Maybe you shouldn’t-” Cyclone began wisely, but Joule cut him off.
          “Moose. Someone who plods stupidly around in Glaciem, eating off the ground and dying often. Plural is meese, because if multiple gooses are geese, then multiple mooses are meese.” Joule defined. “Moose. An example could be you, Adder.”
          Cyclone didn’t bother to point out that he was from Glaciem. It probably wouldn’t be a very good political move, though, now that Ray thought about it. Calor had also recently been at war with Glaciem, which intended to steal some of Calor’s land. As the youngest council member, only fourteen, just like Ray and Joule, he was liable to get voted out. Ray knew Adder would very much like to see him off the council, because he was the only one not gullible enough to make him king.
          “Hey! That’s mean!” Cactus fretted.
          “Nobody cares,” said Cyclone with absolutely no emotion.
          The tension in the room kept growing tauter, and Ray knew she had to stop their arguing, or a fight could really break out. “Quiet!” She yelled. Nobody listened.
          “The queen says shut up, meese!” Joule slammed her fist on the table with a bang. With the sudden movement, Ray noticed a small dagger sheathed and attached to her leather belt. It had been previously been concealed by the ceremonial cape both sisters wore. Ray frowned. Weapons were not allowed in the meetings. She knew that Joule would never use it, but if any order was to be salvaged in Calor, rules should be followed, even by the queen and her sister. Everyone looked toward Joule fearfully.
          Ray sometimes felt that her sister might have been a better queen, despite the occasional flouting of trivial laws. Joule could usually keep the council in line. She was a better fighter and a fairly good leader. But there was one reason why Joule couldn’t rule Calor: She had no magic.
          Joule’s wings still lit up, but that was more because of human magic… what did they call it? Science. Apart from that basic trait, nothing. She couldn’t cast any spells or enchant anything. When the heir to the throne of Aura, Lapis, had taken a portion of their magic to defeat the hypnoformers, Joule had made a slight mistake and given Lapis every drop of power she had for the hugely difficult spell. Normal magic was things like enchanting a brick to float in a cloud. Difficult to learn but not life-changing. Lapis’s spell eradicated an entire species. Only Ray knew that Joule had miscalculated; they hadn’t even told their mother, Rain.
          “Okay. Arid, please tell us the outline of today’s meeting.” Ray said as politely as possible. She didn’t look forward to the senator’s long speech, but this kind of politics was something Ray understood, more or less. A problem she could figure out how to solve.
          “Yes, Queen Ray.” Arid appeared to nearly fall over as he stood up. He was so old, Ray wouldn’t be surprised if his leathery skin suddenly broke apart into dust one day. Wispy gray hair sprouted from the crown of his mostly bald head. “The main issue we are facing today is the attack on the embassy at New Delhi. Five fairies were killed and there was a riot as well. On the wall of the building there was a message, which I will not repeat. Photos were taken of the crime scene.”
          He handed out pieces of paper with different pictures on them. The council passed them around the table like a gruesome game of show-and-tell. They showed the once-pristine building in shambles. Both red and orange wing blood splattered everywhere. Desks had been thrown on their side and paperwork lay everywhere. On the brick wall at the front of the building was two sentences in hastily painted black scrawls: We don’t need moths and eels invading our land. Get out! It was signed in dark red: The Ironmob. Beside the bone chilling warning was an insignia. Ray peered closer at the picture. It was a black rectangle, vertical, with one red line on the right side going all the way down it, then on the right side there were three red lines, the shortest one in the middle, and the longest at the top. Ray wondered if it was symbolic of anything or if it was just the first thing this Ironmob thought of.
          “That’s not creepy at all.” Cyclone broke the horrified silence that had fallen. “From what’s going through all of your minds, you’d think the hypnoformers were back, not that some magiaphobic humans had a nervous breakdown and rioted.”
          “Thanks for that.” Joule mumbled. Considering the hypnoformers had stolen her magic, that was not the most sensitive thing a mind reader could say.
          “Welcome.” Cyclone might have smiled; it was hard to tell with all the scarring on his face.
          Arid cleared his throat. “What should we do to mend this antagonizing feeling between fairies and humans?”
          “Princess Lapis and the rest of Aura shouldn’t have revealed themselves. They didn’t need human help to defeat Ivy.” Adder declared. In all the desperation of the Hypnoformer War, Lapis, Chrysan, the hypnoformers Ghost, Creeper, and Lady Ivy’s daughter Night, had revealed the existence of sentient magical creatures to humans for the first time in more than a thousand years. The humans hadn’t exactly reacted diplomatically, as this massacre was an example of. They had invented the terms moth and eel to describe fairies and merpeople to make themselves feel better that they couldn’t cast spells.
          “That’s all very nice, but until we can invent and afford all the energy needed for a changing-time spell, it won’t work. Other ideas?” Ray requested. Also during the Hypnoformer War, Lapis had briefly gone into her own past using a complicated spell cast by Oak, the king of Aura, but still had not been able to change anything. She had merely been an invisible specter to her younger self, which was good, assuming that the human’s “butterfly effect” was an accurate theory. Messing up the future in a big way was nothing anybody needed.
          “Fight them. I hate humans!” Cactus whined. You hate everything, you annoying, immature little moose. Ray decided to keep the retort to herself. Or at least as much as you could when one of the people in the room was actively reading your mind.
          “We don’t have the funds to start another war. We all know that,” she reminded them with a forced look of calm on her face. Besides, it wasn’t every one of the humans who did this, and I’m sure they would target the closest human settlement. That isn’t who caused the problem.
          “Which brings us to another issue today,” said Arid. “Queen Tundra and King Frostbite of Glaciem have sent another message.” He picked up the small orb of ice that had frozen a snowflake shape on the wooden table without melting and gave it to Joule so she could activate the crystal ball, a form of enchantment that Glaciem specialized in.
          Joule wordlessly passed it to Ray, who gave it a small orange zap of magic. Its curved walls folded out and out until it was a cube, about half a meter tall. On each side, a video began to flicker. Tundra’s face appeared on the cold white screen and began to speak.
          “Queen Ray and Council of Calor,” she said sarcastically. “We are giving you one more chance to grant our powerful nation some of your territory. As you know, because of the humans, much of our sky is melting into Aura, and Aura’s sky is merging with yours. If you do not allow us to take back what we deserve, we are not afraid to resume the war. After all, there was never a treaty that prevented us from doing just that, only a war that was slightly more important. Glaciem awaits your response.”
          The image flickered and the cube collapsed back into the small crystal ball.
          “What should we do?” Sand worried. Ray agreed, but she would not have phrased the question that way. This was a complicated moral issue. It was true that the humans were still dumping poison into the sky and, since it was warmer, Glaciem had lost some sky that had previously belonged to them because their boundaries were defined by cold climate. At the same time, Calor’s territory had grown. But Glaciem was far from Calor’s ally. They had been at war on and off for more than fifty years.
          Ray also felt that if Glaciem had joined the hypnoformer war sooner, Raptor might not have felt the need to lead an attack on Lady Ivy’s headquarters in the ocean. And if he hadn’t done that, he might have been still alive. He might even have been sitting at the head of the council table, at the seat that the queen currently occupied.
          Nope, not the time. Ray cut off the wishful train of thought before she felt worse than she already did. She plastered on her business face and prepared for the slew of bad ideas that her council would put forth.
          “I say we attack them first.” Adder slammed his hand flat on the table, crushing Cactus’s pointer finger.
          “Owwwww!” He howled. “Adder!”
          Before Adder could respond, a loud snore shook the world map on the wall. “Oh, by the turquoise wings of Lapis, why?” Joule threw her hands up in the air and her wings involuntarily brightened in anger. She stomped over to Vulture, the plump councilman who had apparently been sleeping throughout the meeting. She stomped on one of his feet, grossly wedged into oversized dress shoes, and he woke up with a groan.
          “What?” He blinked, bleary-eyed. His four chins wobbled as he spoke. “Something wrong? What’d I miss?”
          “Dismissed.” Ray had had enough. “This meeting is adjourned. We will discuss these issues tomorrow at fourteen o’clock tomorrow. Don’t be late and get a good night’s sleep. We don’t want anyone dozing off.”
          “To be fair, Arid is really boring.” Joule whispered in Ray’s ear. The side of her mouth twitched in a slight smile. When all was said and done, Joule was right. You don’t need magic to be able to cheer someone up.
          “Bye.” Joule happily fled the evil room, leaving Ray to deal with the many complaints of Cactus.
          The irritating fairy started to walk up to her when she realized that she didn’t give a cirrus cloud about his problems and turned to follow her sister.traitorous member of the royal family of Aura. Ray suspected that Ivy had been working with Queen Tundra of Glaciem, but she had no way to prove it, and kept those conspiracy-theory-like thoughts to herself.
          “Or I could be in charge, since you manipulated Mother into leaving her throne. But Ray’s the queen, so shut up, you moose.” Joule said bitingly. Except for the moose part. That was a favorite insult of Ray’s sister’s, but she never really understood how that was supposed to be hurtful. Ray mostly found it comical.x
          Adder’s thoughts were obviously going along the same lines, which Ray didn’t love. She would prefer to be as different from him as possible. “Moose?”
          “Maybe you shouldn’t-” Cyclone began wisely, but Joule cut him off.
          “Moose. Someone who plods stupidly around in Glaciem, eating off the ground and dying often. Plural is meese, because if multiple gooses are geese, then multiple mooses are meese.” Joule defined. “Moose. An example could be you, Adder.”
          Cyclone didn’t bother to point out that he was from Glaciem. It probably wouldn’t be a very good political move, though, now that Ray thought about it. Calor had also recently been at war with Glaciem, which intended to steal some of Calor’s land. As the youngest council member, only fourteen, just like Ray and Joule, he was liable to get voted out. Ray knew Adder would very much like to see him off the council, because he was the only one not gullible enough to make him king.
          “Hey! That’s mean!” Cactus fretted.
          “Nobody cares,” said Cyclone with absolutely no emotion.
          The tension in the room kept growing tauter, and Ray knew she had to stop their arguing, or a fight could really break out. “Quiet!” She yelled. Nobody listened.
          “The queen says shut up, meese!” Joule slammed her fist on the table with a bang. With the sudden movement, Ray noticed a small dagger sheathed and attached to her leather belt. It had been previously been concealed by the ceremonial cape both sisters wore. Ray frowned. Weapons were not allowed in the meetings. She knew that Joule would never use it, but if any order was to be salvaged in Calor, rules should be followed, even by the queen and her sister. Everyone looked toward Joule fearfully.
          Ray sometimes felt that her sister might have been a better queen, despite the occasional flouting of trivial laws. Joule could usually keep the council in line. She was a better fighter and a fairly good leader. But there was one reason why Joule couldn’t rule Calor: She had no magic.
          Joule’s wings still lit up, but that was more because of human magic… what did they call it? Science. Apart from that basic trait, nothing. She couldn’t cast any spells or enchant anything. When the heir to the throne of Aura, Lapis, had taken a portion of their magic to defeat the hypnoformers, Joule had made a slight mistake and given Lapis every drop of power she had for the hugely difficult spell. Normal magic was things like enchanting a brick to float in a cloud. Difficult to learn but not life-changing. Lapis’s spell eradicated an entire species. Only Ray knew that Joule had miscalculated; they hadn’t even told their mother, Rain.

  • Beginning in 1962, Tom Wolfe wrote 10 triple-spaced pages every single day, or around 1,800 words per day. When he finished his 10 pages, his work day was done.

    The reason ‘A Man in Full’ came out 11 years after ‘Bonfire’ was not because he only wrote 135 words per day, it was because he didn’t even start it until 1995. And then, most of his time was spent researching, not writing.

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