Write a scene in which all of the characters from your work in progress sit together at a table and have a meal together. This is likely to be a raucous event, especially if you place characters next to each other who, in the course of your book, are working toward opposite goals.
All right! I’m going to use the characters from my NaNo story, just to mix things up a little. 😉
Here we goooo!
Aloysius Arden resisted the urge to fidget, but the urge did not go away.
I feel so out of place. I ought not be here. I ought to be standing at attention near the wall. I am a butler.
I am an invisible man.
He looked to his right. Lady Eliza Farlington sat beside him, happily slicking a biscuit open and spreading jam inside.
He looked to his left. Miss May Rose Farlington sat on that side, slicing her piece of turkey into smaller chunks.
He looked straight ahead at his son, James Arden, who appeared to be equally ill at ease. Of course, sitting next to Lord Andrew Farlington was enough to put anyone off. Anyone except for Aloysius.
Aloysius understood and respected his master and Lord Farlington felt the same for his butler.
James, however, was only seven years old. He didn’t know Lord Andrew the way Aloysius did. He only knew him as the man who could easily make them homeless if given a single good reason why.
It didn’t help that Lord Andrew exuded a certain level of intimidating authority. The fact that he physically loomed over James’ smaller stature did nothing to make matters easier on the young boy.
Aloysius turned his attention to Lady Eliza. “Yes, my lady?”
“I was just saying that the chickens seem to be doing quite ill lately. I suspect it is the new seed you have bought for them.”
Aloysius mentally flinched. “I…” He cleared his throat. “I will check into it. Perhaps it is something more.”
“Or it is the seed.”
He squashed his irritation down and smiled a placid smile. “Perhaps it is. All the same, I will investigate.” He picked up his fork and dug into his mashed potatoes.
“Could. Could I investigate it with you, sir?” James asked.
He looked up at his son. “Certainly. I would much appreciate it.”
James smiled. His smile was nothing like his father’s. It was not polished politeness. It wasn’t the result of practice and poise. It was genuine and whole-hearted and Aloysius loved him for it.
“I have made up my mind.” May Rose Farlington stated. “I am not going to marry anyone when I grow up.”
Her father raised his head with a hearty scowl.
“I intend to be the world’s greatest.”
“Greatest what?” James asked.
Aloysius involuntarily bristled at their interaction. This whole scene was so wrong.
It wasn’t right.
None of it was right.
“The greatest anything.” May Rose shrugged. “I haven’t fully decided yet. But when I do figure it out, watch out! I will conquer the world.”
James laughed. “I am certain you will.”
Aloysius cleared his throat.
James lowered his gaze to his plate and focused on eating.
May Rose stabbed a piece of turkey. “I just might become a vampire hunter.”
Lord Andrew dropped his fork. It hit the plate with an overly loud clank! “That is out of the question.”
“Why? I know plenty of lady vampire hunters who—”
“Plenty? You oughtn’t know any!”
“Why? It’s not as if they are in a position of shame and degradation. They’re hunters and I think they are amazing and fabulous and I want to be one. So there.”
James gave his father a beseeching look.
Aloysius cleared his throat again. “If I may say so, it is not possible for you to become a vampire hunter, Miss Farlington. You are far over age.”
She gaped at him. “Over age? I beg your pardon, Mr. Arden, but I am seven years old. How is that over age?”
“My understanding is that vampire hunters are trained from when they are very young.” Aloysius ate his mashed potatoes one forkful at a time. “I have heard tales of them being taken from their parents as infants.”
Lord Andrew scowled at his butler, but he said nothing.
“Of course, those are simply tales and nothing more.”
Lord Andrew picked up his fork and resumed his meal.
May Rose ate her turkey with a fixed determination. “Well, I shall still be the greatest at something. You can bet on it.”
James cringed. “May…I mean, Miss Farlington. You ought not use such phrases.”
“Indeed.” Lord Andrew said.
May Rose glared at James. “I shall use whatever phrase I deem necessary, James Arden. It is not your place to tell me what and what and what.”
“Of course, Miss Farlington.” Aloysius said, hoping to soothe things over before something exploded.
“Father, you cannot agree with her using such unbecoming words. It is wrong. It is indecent and—”
May Rose stood. She threw her napkin at James. “You are a lima bean sandwich with the dregs of meat lard drizzled all over it!”
“May Rose!” her mother exclaimed.
“What? It’s true and you know it! Ugh! I am retreating to my room. I will not ask for you to please excuse me because I will leave whether you excuse me or not.” Having said that, May Rose Farlington stormed out of the room.
A dismal and heavy silence fell on those left behind.
Aloysius cleared his throat again. “I will check into the chicken feed, Lady Farlington.”
“Very good, Mr. Arden.”