Rachel Heffington of Inkpen Authoress has ingeniously created a new monthly blog link-up thing called Chatterbox. She chooses a topic of discussion that we plunk in front of a few well-chosen characters from our stories and then let them have at it! Rachel says she loves dialogue, and I heartily agree that it’s super important. Letting characters speak for themselves, with just a bit of control, is a large element of making a story real, and it’s an excellent way to get to know them.
So, this month’s topic is coffee. This first topic was easy for me – because I just so happen to have a conversation based around coffee in Adventure in England. That conversation will do very nicely. I know there are a lot of characters, and I don’t expect you to keep them straight, but picture yourself in an English café listening to a group of eleven young people, made up of both Americans and Brits. (The narrator is Marielle, by the way.)
“So, will you order something?” [Chelsea asked. “]You need to have Lizzy’s cappucinos at least.”
“So you’ve replaced teatime with cappucino time?” Caroline jested, her voice not so strong as usual. She must not have been entirely at her ease.
Paris and her friends laughed. “I’d say coffee is just as popular as tea here,” Paris said. “But there aren’t as many fancy kinds – except for, like, chains like Starbucks.”
“You have Starbucks?” Abby asked.
“You bet. Not here, but in Taplow and Slough,” Chelsea answered. “Lizzy’s drinks are better, honestly.”
“That’s their opinion,” countered Paris. “Lizzy’s comes closer than any tearoom or restaurant to great coffee, but not like Starbucks. The calories are just as scary, though, as anywhere else, so I’d almost rather drink tea myself.”
“Hmm. I love Starbucks, but do you think I should try one from Lizzy’s?” Abby turned to look at the menu posters behind the counter. With all the wild swirls on them, it was a wonder she could read anything from way back where we stood.
“Use those pounds you just exchanged for your dollars!” Paris exclaimed. “It’d be your first buy, huh?”
“No way are you, like, going to be the first to buy something in England,” Kailey protested sharply. She took a step toward the counter. “Do they have mochas?”
“Uh-huh,” Chelsea replied, she and the others grinning as if they saw a joke. While I found the rivalry funny at times, like now, I always hoped it wouldn’t develop further and ruin what should be a pleasant, peaceful trip.
“Do you want something, Paris?” Abby asked.
“No, thanks. Wait – they have diet soda; I’ll get that.”
“Reanna? Anyone else?” Abby went on.
“Cappucino, with cinnamon if they have it,” Reanna responded.
The rest of us declined. I personally felt that it was poor form to order something after Mrs. Endicott had done such beautiful work for tea at her home.