Wednesday, 27 June 2012



What greater excuse is there to go to a coffee shop and indulge yourself? Over a large cappuccino, latte, whatever and a slice of gooey cake, it’s the perfect opportunity to people- watch and listen. Not only can you pick up intriguing and enticing conversations from other people, you can also observe their body-language, pick up on fashion details and eating habits. Take along a keen eye and a notebook. Is the chap in the corner waiting for the leggy blonde who has just stepped into the cafĂ©? Are the rather doleful older couple about to embark on a romantic weekend? Don’t make snap-decisions. Weave a story around the characters and take it home with you to construct into an appetising scenario. Tutors often advise you to take your characters out to dinner/tea/coffee and this is, in effect, what you’re doing.

And if you can tear yourself away from the coffee shop, take a bus ride. It’s easy to stay on way past your stop because you want to hear the end of the conversation going on in the seat behind you. Happy, sad, interesting, boring, exciting, absorbing or repetitive, it can spark off something inside you which you can’t wait to make into a story.


  1. Completely agree about going to a coffee shop - but I love to write there once a week so I tend to ignore other people!

  2. Reminds of the time I was helping out a friend with a pub. We'd stand behind the bar and observe various customers. The long married couple who barely spoke ... those having an affair looking around surreptitiously and sitting close ... the lone male on the lookout ... the older man nipping in for a pint on the way home ... Life was all there! So, just be aware that barmaids or barmen have eyes and ears if you're up to no good!

  3. So the woman staring at me when I was having a quiet cup of coffee, and leaning over the back of the seat in the bus, that was you, was it?
    Don't worry, I do exactly the same.

  4. If we'd known it was you, Fay, we'd have bought you a piece of cake and passed the time of day!
    Oh yes, Chrissie, a pub's just as good, isn't it?
    Rosemary, how wonderful to have a weekly writing slot in a coffee shop. Good idea!

  5. I love writing in coffee shops. You can hear wonderful 'overheard' comments in all sorts of places. Lying in bed recently, we can hear people walking to the local doctor's surgery. A little boy piped up, 'they've got a flag', obviously looking at the bedraggled post-jubilee flag I'd stuffed in our window box. 'Yes,' said his mum, that's a Union Jack.' Replies the child, 'they live in a castle mummy.' Well, it was a sweet comment but our very humble abode I'm afraid could hardly be put in that category!