This week's coffee break is late - I'm sorry. To make up for it, I can offer you extra strong, bitter Arabic coffee laced with cardamom, sweet, succulent Eid pastries and a plate of almondy Baklava. The cafes have only just reopened here after Ramadan, and it's still a novelty to be able to go out and meet friends, eat and drink during daylight hours. As anyone with small children knows, cafe visits are not so much about the coffee as reminding yourself there is an adult world out there beyond finger-painting and Charlie and Lola (as much as we love them). The last month has been ... challenging, the city like a ghost town, and the kids bouncing off the walls unable to go outside in the 55 degree heat. But, schools go back tomorrow, and I've been thinking about ways to kick start your writing.
Do you remember playing the game Consequences when you were younger? You draw something at the head of a sheet of paper, and fold it over leaving a couple of connecting lines for the next person to pick up their drawing from. The drawing is passed round the group, and at the end you unfold the concertina to see what surreal or wonderful thing you've made. A couple of years back, I set up a blog project called 'Burning Lines' - over the course of a month a group of us created the fiction equivalent of consequences, writing an entire story online. As we took it in turns to add a chapter or scene, the story often took incredible twists. By the end of the month it had transformed from 'Brief Encounter' to something resembling 'Lesbian Vampire Killers' :)
I wondered if we couldn't try something similar to Consequences today with the comments box and take it in turns to add a line or two - a quick Coffee Break Flash Fiction? Don't know about you, but my brain cells could do with a limber up after the summer holidays ... Let's begin:
'What is that?' Alice screwed up her eyes, peered into the dark attic. 'I think it's ...