Thursday, November 14, 2013

Zafir and I don't see eye to eye regarding the series

“I’ve got a fucking bone to pick with you,” Zafir yells as he storms into my office. Agitated, he stomps about on his tree trunk legs, crushing the life out of my springy shag rug. Normally my characters don’t bother me before 9 a.m. They know my brain just can’t process anything before then and that likely whatever they do say will go in one ear and out the other. I decide to make an exception: I know that with Z in his current state of uproar he isn’t likely to remain quiet till then.
            “I’m listening,” I reply when all I really want to say is “can’t this wait?” I smile, proud of myself for suppressing the usual venom that flavors my early morning conversations. A snarky attitude is definitely not going to win me any points with the mountain of muscle standing before me. I mean, Z could literally steam roll me without even breaking a sweat.
            “I want a rewrite.”
            “Oh,” I say, perking up while my mind tries to flush out the mistake he’s obviously come across. “Well okay. We’ve got some time. A Step Away isn’t scheduled for publication until fall…” I pause, speechless, as he slowly shakes his head from side to side.
            “This shit I’m talking about goes all the way back to the beginning.”
            “Out of Reach?” I glare incredulously into his flashing grey eyes. “What’s wrong with it?”
            “I’m being misrepresented,” he answers smugly.
            “You most certainly are not!” I fight back, insulted by his proclamation.
            He scowls as he thinks for a second. “What’s the word that means the opposite of plagiarism?”
            “Huh?” The inelegant reply slips out as I sit there dumbfounded, unable to comprehend where he’s going with this.
            “Fine,” he moves on, seeing how I’m unable or unwilling to help him. “I’m being incorrectly plagiarized,” he explains. “People aren’t getting the real me.”
Not getting the real you? I almost laugh out loud. I think I’ve done a rather good job portraying the real Zafir, and believe me it wasn’t always easy. He snatches the first hardbound copy ever produced of Out of Reach off of my shelf then begins rifling through pages.
            “Hey, careful with that!” I yell.
            “See right here!” he announces triumphantly, turning the book around and sticking it under my nose.
            “See what?” I ask as I lean back so that the small print isn’t blurry. Rolling his eyes, he flips the book around and reads, “Just give me the short version.”
            “Yeah, you said that, so what?” I ask him while still struggling to see his point.
            “I did not fucking say that. Does that even sound like me?”
            “It’s basically what you said,” I answer, hoping to placate him.
            “You see, that is what I’m talking about. It’s misrepresentation. I remember very clearly that I told Kade to cut to the fucking chase.”
            “Really, you’re mad because I took out an F-bomb?”
            “It wasn’t just one,” he grumbles, folding his arms across his chest.
            “Flip the page,” I instruct. “As you’ll see, you use the F-word at least three times in the next passage.”
            “What?” he blurts out as he quickly scans through the next scene.
            “You’ve messed things up there as well. I won’t stand for this kind of censorship. It violates my freedom of speech.” Dropping my head on the desk I keep my groan of disbelief to myself: is this for real?
“Readers deserve the real me,” he rambles on.
            “Look,” I tell him, sitting up and taking charge of the conversation. “I’m sorry but you rely too heavily on the one word. It’s redundant and that kind of repetition wears on readers. Try throwing in a more descriptive adjective now and again.”
 “What? Clearly you don’t understand the power of a good fuck.”
“Clearly,” I repeat, rubbing my temples in exasperation. Burning grey eyes rimmed with electricity spark as he rests his hands on my desk and leans in close. Too close. Gulping, I press myself back as far as I can against my chair, nervous I’ve pushed him too far.
“F***, ****, ****, ****,****,” he chants, the inflection of his gravelly voice changing with each expletive.      
            “You’ve made your point,” I say and giggle, unable to keep a straight face. “You’ve clearly demonstrated the versatility of the word.” 
Leaning back smugly he crosses his arms over his chest. “And…,” he presses.
            “Fine, you can curse more in the next book,” I capitulate, tossing my arms in the air. Satisfied, he turns to go.
            “Oh, one more thing.”
            “Yes,” I grind out, more than ready to be left alone.
            “Kade and Ben get a lot of play so maybe you could get a little more of this in the next one,” he winks as he strikes the classic Adonis pose.
            “Get out of here and let me finish my morning Coke!” I yell then toss a pen at him.
            “Just a thought,” he teases, finally exiting my office with all the humility of a prowling lion.