The Café

The Café

A Story by whit921

The narrator returns to the imaginary café that she has built up in her mind to give herself solace.


Her imagination took her elsewhere: most days it was a petite café in France, partially covered by flowering vines whose fragrance intertwined with that of the coffee served inside. She would seat herself at a table nearest to the cobblestone street in order to watch handsome strangers pass by, sometimes catching their eyes. And her mouth would curve flirtatiously at passersby and her cheeks would blush like the sunset as the sun bowed below the horizon, leaving traces of pastel pigment in the darkening vast blue as a parting gift. And as darkness grew the vanilla moon would reflect in her eyes and she would sigh unto the stillness of the night, and closing her eyes she was the night, immune to the flock of memories that constantly pecked at her skin every day, reduced to this single moment of solace. And the moon would take her chin and guide her to the stars which reflected in her coffee cup warming her hands.  “Isn’t it magnificent?” The moon would tell her. “This world.” And she would agree with her eyes. And she would raise her coffee cup to her lips and drink in the moon and the stars. And in this moment, however imaginary, she was content.

© 2021 whit921

Author's Note

I wasn't sure where to go with this. I tried to create a story around it since it is basically plotless, but I wasn't satisfied with anything that I wrote, so I might come back to it later. But as of now I intend for this story to capture this moment of solace and beauty. Feedback is appreciated!

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Anything, even a fragment, is a beginning. Always move forward, heed your inner Muse first and foremost, and don't get stuck in revisionary cycles that take you nowhere.

Posted 4 Days Ago

Well, you did ask...

This works for you, because you have two things your reader lacks: Context and intent. But look at this as the reader must.

• Her imagination took her elsewhere:

So an unknown person, of unknown age in an unknown place, in an unknown year, thought about a place different, and equally unknown? Would that excite you and make you want to read on, or confuse you? Missing data isn't a mystery. To a reader it's reason to turn away, because we need context as, or before we read any given line. There can be no second, first-impression.

When entering any scene you need to place the reader in three ways: Where am I? What's going on? Whose skin do I wear?

In this case, for example, suppose you'd began with:
- - - - -
Bess blew out a breath and let the tension flow from her. The report was finished at last. And as the printer spit the pages of it out, she turned to the view through her bedroom window and sighed."Another boring small town night, in the same boring bed room, doing the same boring college work. Would this semester never end?

At least the work for today was finished, so she leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes, letting her imagination take her elsewhere.
- - - - -
Presented like this, we know her, and why she wants/needs some time spent daydreaming. We, incidentally have learned her approximate age and situation. We know she goes to college, and doesn't live in a dorm on campus. And, we know her state of mind—all without having to have the narrator lecture/explain it.

So now, knowing her a bit, and her character, the reader wants to know what she's daydreaming about, so as to know her better. And notice, too, this isn't being reported by a dispassionate narrator, she's living it, in

Why do it that way? Because, as E. L. Doctorow put it, “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” Our reader isn't looking to learn about her, they want to be made to feel they ARE her. And no way in hell can you do that with the nonfiction writing skills we perfected by writing all those reports and essays we were assigned. Fiction takes the tricks the pros take for granted; the skills that were used to write every story you've chosen to read; the skills you, and YOUR reader, expect to see the result of in the prose.

So... I'm absolutely certain this wasn't what you expected when you posted this story. And I wish there was a more gentle way of breaking such news. But since you are interested in writing, and like everyone who turns two fiction wasn't aware there is another way to write, I thought you'd want to know, because you can't fix the problem you don't see as being one.

So what do you do? You add those missing skills, practice them till they're as intuitive to use as the ones you now have, and there you are.

Will it be easy? Of course not. No profession is easy. But since it's something you already want to know more about the learning will be more like going backstage at the theater than a chore. And the practice is writing better and better stories. So what's not to love?

The library's fiction-writing section is a great resource. You work when you have time, you move at your own pace, there are no tests, and, no pressure.

And to make it even more convenient, the best book on creating scenes that sing to the reader that I've found to date, is available for free download on some archive sites. Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer is an older book, but it's still the best, and is the book that got me my first contract. The address is just below. Copy/paste it to the URL window at the top of any internet page and hit Return to read or download it.

For an idea of the kind of differences you'll find between the writing you know and what fiction-writing requires, you might check a few of the articles in my WordPress Writing blog. They're based, in large part, on the teachings to be found in that book.

So dig in. The book won't make a pro of you. That's your task. It will, though, give you the tools and the knowledge of what they can do for you. And like the proverbial chicken soup for a cold, it might not help, but it sure can't hurt.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.

Jay Greenstein

Posted 5 Days Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on June 10, 2021
Last Updated on June 10, 2021



Hi! I'm Whit and I'm 18 years old. Thank you for reading my stories. I absolutely love to read, so I figured I would start making my own stories. I've recently taken up writing, so any feedback is app.. more..