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 café? 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.