“Well, it’s about time you got here! Are you all finished socializing?”
The speaker was a tall, elderly man with steel grey hair, soft grey eyes, and a decidedly military bearing. He made the word socializing sound like he was sucking a lemon when he said it.
“I wasn’t socializing,” I corrected him. “I was working on my writer’s platform.”
I took my seat at a large, round table in the center of the closet-sized room.
“You were posting on social media,” he countered, smirking.
“I was making myself visible to potential readers,” I explained. “You do want me to have readers, don’t you?”
“Of course we do!”
The new voice in the conversation belonged to a willowy female, with soulful cornflower eyes, delicately pointed ears poking up through impossibly thick ebony tresses, and an aloof bearing.
“Then I need to attend to my writer’s platform,” I stated, my tone discouraging further discussion on the subject.
“Fine.” The man took his seat directly across from me. “But you do realize this is only the third time we’ve seen you in over a month.”
I shot him a warning look, which he answered with a shrug and a grin.
“Who else is joining us tonight?” the female asked, sliding into the seat on my left.
“I don’t know. I never know. Who called this meeting, anyway?”
All eyes turned to the haughty, brown-eyed, flaxen haired, pointy-eared new arrival. He sneered at us in greeting, then moved a chair as far away from the table as possible in such cramped quarters, and flung himself into it.
“Good to see you, too!” The elderly man snickered, and received a dagger-like glare in response.
“Shall we begin, then?” the willowy female invited.
“We’ll wait. I’m expecting others.”
No doubt whatsoever who’s running this staff meeting, I thought, sighing audibly.
Another pair of elves soon joined the group.
“I trust we are not late.” The middle-aged female with coal-black eyes and chocolate brown hair took stock of the assembled group as she spoke. Not receiving an immediate reply, she moved with regal grace to a chair next to the elderly human. Her companion, a young male with silvery-blond hair that he kept sweeping away from his strangely colorless eyes, flounced to the seat on the other side of her.
“If you had been late, we would have started without you.” The haughty young elf got up and closed the door. He moved his chair closer to the table and asked, “Did everyone bring their copy of the last three chapters?”
Everyone nodded, and produced the requisite pages.
“Okay, let’s take a look at the scene on page 80.”
“What’s wrong with that scene?” demanded the elderly human.
“I don’t think it’s believable. When you pushed your way into the room, I think I should have killed you on sight.”
“Oh, that would have been real smart. Then how would you have found out about the assassin following you?”
“He’s not following me, you moron, he’s following you!”
“No way. Look, right here on page 95, it says the assassin was following the elven cleric and her companion. That’s you, genius.”
The elf seated next to me leaned close and whispered, “Reminds me of the staff meetings we had for the first two books. Remember how the dwarves used to go at it? How many times did those meetings deteriorate into physical brawls?” We both chuckled at the memory.
“Well, I, for one, am glad you did not kill the human,” the black-eyed female declared. “Who else could have saved me from that band of thugs?”
“I would have saved you,” her fair-haired companion quickly avowed.
The human snickered. “The fact is, you had already joined that band of thugs, junior” he reminded the lad.
“Had I? I do not remember.” He frowned and shook his head. “I doubt I would have ever done anything so distasteful.”
The discussion went on for what seemed like hours, each character voicing an opinion on the chapters in question. Some were valid points, regarding inaccuracies in the timeline. Some were just ploys by a character to grab the spotlight in a scene.
Finally, I interrupted. “Okay, okay, I think I understand where everyone’s coming from. I’ll try to incorporate some of your ideas into the revisions. Now, let’s call it a night!”
I watched as the small group filed out of the room in uncharacteristic silence. I fell in at the end of the line, reaching to turn off the lights as I left the room. Instead of the light switch, my hand hit the snooze button on the alarm. I rolled over, thinking, “I love being a writer.”