What ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ has taught me about writing.

Wow. Even after hearing so many positive reviews for ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ it still managed to excel my expectations. I absolutely loved it. To the point I am already thinking it could be one of my favourites this year (a bold statement for being only three months in!). I knew when I bought it that I would want to review it, and while reading I couldn’t help but think that I would love to write a story similar in style to ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’.

The first thing that captured my attention was the length. Though I’m getting better with practice, I tend to prefer keeping my stories quite brief and to the point. At the moment I’m working primarily on first drafts with the simple intent of getting the story onto paper. However, it was encouraging to note that such a vivid scene could be created through so few words. It’s the perfect example of ‘doing something simple, well’.

When I have an afternoon free, that I plan to use for reading, I enjoy knowing I can read through an entire book. That’s exactly how I read ‘Before the coffee’. As a reader, I find a smaller sized book less intimidating and I’m more likely to make time in my day to read. ‘Before the coffee’ was entirely immersive and the pace meant I didn’t tire of the story although there is only one focal idea.

Despite being a short story already it is divided into four smaller stories. Each time the central character shifts; we see the same few characters throughout the story, learning them more in depth as they each take a turn to drink the coffee. They were easy to get to know and empathise with. It was a reminder that all realistic stories are that way because of their characters. How backstories and quirks are integral to the realism of a character. I love feeling as though characters become people I know rather than mere words on a page.

Following from that, another thing I really admired about ‘Before the coffee’ was the dialogue. Sometimes it felt as though I was reading a script. It was effortless. I never used to put any speech into my stories because it felt so stale, and that’s something I’ve really tried to improve on this year. During ‘Before the coffee’ I could hear the voices of each character shining through. The conversations were really entertaining.

I am completely enamoured with this book. I smile whenever I see the cover and the story rests peacefully in my heart. If that’s not the impression we hope to achieve as writers, I’m not sure what is.

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