The usefulness of cafés

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For many reasons: tea, coffee, toast . . . but also as a sanctuary for writing, especially if ‘forced’ to be in one.

This morning after taking the car in for a ‘small service’ the mechanic phoned to say that they would be obliged to clear out our bank account as all disc breaks needed replacing. Shit. So I’m stuck in the local supermarket café with an endless supply of cheap tea and no need to do anything else but write; no distractions of cleaning, in-tray investigation, chickens to deal with, dogs to walk, people to phone, etc.

French cafés are particularly good as, although my French is reasonable, I don’t tune in to other conversations as with my mother tongue, AND, there’s no gabbling TV screen in this eatery, so just me, my laptop and no excuse . . . right, back to the novel.

Tangents

I’m very good at these – going off, wandering about, throwing in new ideas, which can be exciting or frustrating depending what I’m trying to achieve, writing wise.

 

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I once saw a film of a writer (can’t remember who) as they were planning a book. The walls of the studio were plastered with a sort of time scale plan – each chapter planned out: what was going to happen to who, where and when.

I don’t seem to be able to do this, and I have tried. I start with characters and a vague idea of what might happen, but then the plot invariably changes and veers off in some other direction, characters leading the way and me stumbling along: “Er, hello . . . wait.”

 

A review of one of my most tangenty stories, where the reader (luckily) enjoyed following my unknown path.

I really enjoyed this and it was hugely compelling, I had absolutely no problem zipping through to the end. The concept is really original, and in the best sense – intriguing! The writing is jaunty, the story feels like it has direction. And this isn’t even hugely important, as you have the rare gift of being able to grab a reader and string them along, you could digress and go on weird tangents and I’d follow you as you clearly know what you’re doing.

 

Major tangent-wise, I’ve just started another short story inspired by a flight into Stanstead recently. Supposed to be 6,000 words, it’s already out of control and heading into book shape, now taking over the novel I was already writing – the second instalment of Hoxton, Smithi.

It’s all good practice . . .

 

My stuff at the moment:

Three stories with ‘Cracked Eye’ online magazine – 158th book out, The couch and Rose, to appear at some point.

Trilogy: ‘Going Out in the Midday Sun, on Amazon as paperback and ebooks.

Hoxton: (not Horton, thank you spell check) to be on Amazon, or to order with fancy hand-made cover, from me, in the New Year.

Smith: Follow-up to Hoxton, to ne published, hopefully by late spring.

Dog: A short/long story/novel, in progress, and length to be decided.

Some illustrations from Hoxton:

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