StoryBuilder 1.0: Outline the Perfect Plot!

Now that you have your fabulous main character (and whatever secondary characters you may have scrounged up to accompany the hero in his/her path to glory), and you have a fabulous and fantastical world in which to drop your character, you need a story to tell.  Obviously.

fantasy landscape quest storyYes, plots are necessary, as little as some of us may enjoy writing them.  So in the interest of helping you all in your path to storybuilding glory, here is a plot creator in the method of the previous two posts.  Pick your story-telling options and then find out what adventure your character gets to have!

(Word of Warning: I don’t do plots.)


1. How It Begins

A. With Drama
B. With Danger
C. With Plotting
D. With Something Else Entirely

2. How it Goes

A. An Epic Quest
B. A Political Intrigue
C. War is Brewing
D. Interesting…

3. A Twist Along The Way

A. Betrayal
B. Death
C. Love
D. An Interesting Development

4. How it Ends

A. Triumph
B. Tragedy
C. Romance
D. Well, That Was Odd


Alright, now for the fun part.  Your story is all but plotted and planned!  Wasn’t that easy?  Let’s see what you’ve got:

1. How It Begins

A. With Drama: Your character is minding his/her own business when, in from the darkness, comes a tall figure of notable looks carrying some object of mysterious origin and meaning.  This figure informs your character that s/he is meant for Great Things.  This sounds all well and good until the Great Things turn into a very long and uncomfortable enterprise.  But it will be a growing experience.

B. With Danger: Your character is minding his/her own business when, in from the darkness, comes an assassin who tries to kill your character for reasons unexplained.  Obviously, your character really needs to figure out why his/her life is worth threatening.  As luck would have it, someone else will come along very soon who has at least some of the answers and will join your character on this mission.  Is this new character friend or foe?  Hmmm….

C. With Plotting: Your character is minding his/her own business, taking a nice walk on a late evening. S/he stops in at the local drinking establishment for refreshment and overhears a plot of some sort to overthrow or otherwise upset the local or national government.  Naturally, your character will end up involved.  False accusations of treason are fast coming his/her way, and naturally those will have to be responded to with an outright rebellion.  And it had started as such a lovely walk…

D. With Something Else Entirely: Other children received dolls or toy soldiers on their birthdays.  Your character has, for whatever reason, been gifted by a magical gift-giving fairy with the gift of Importance.  Now everyone and his mother wants you on their side of the latest uprising or intrigue and it is up to your character to find a cause and stick with it or else end up on a quest to retrieve the local chicken farmer’s Magical Missing Egg.  Actually, that doesn’t sound like a half bad quest to start with…

2. How it Goes

A. An Epic Quest: However the story began, it inevitably resulted in a quest.  You, a cranky warrior, a mysterious scholar, someone who may or may not be able to use magic, someone’s whose musical skills are barely tolerable, and someone whose skills and worth are yet undetermined have all found each other through one incident or another and are now slogging through marshes and climbing unconscionably tall mountains in order to achieve the object of your quest.  Not that it is necessarily a literal object.  Maybe your quest is to escape the other members of your questing party because they are very annoying and don’t get along at all.

B. A Political Intrigue: There are about ten different sides to this political debacle, and your character is wading through the morass trying to find out whose side is the right side, or at least the side who is killing the fewest peasants and kicking the fewest puppies.  Your characters makes several friends and allies, only to discover that they are all on opposing sides, but all have their own virtues.  One of them is probably going to end up betraying your character while another will be a love interest.  The question is – which is which?

C. War is Brewing: Rather similar to the Political Intrigue, but with a lot more people on each side and a lot more upfront hacking and slashing.  Your character is, as usual, trying to figure out which is the Side of Right and Truth and Justice, but his/her chosen side will often do morally troubling things which will cause moments of existential crisis.  Everything is leading toward an epic battle, which will decide the Fates of Many.  Your character will hold the key to success… for whichever side s/he chooses.

D. Interesting…: Your character’s singular goal in this story is to become the greatest chef this world has ever seen.  Through war and intrigue and famine and plot, your character strives to hunt down the masters of culinary arts and ply them for their tricks of the trade.  Alas, your character’s nemesis, a pastry chef of no small skill, is lurking in the shadows, sabotaging your character at every turn.  Will your character ever achieve true mastery of the art of the kitchen?  Will s/he ever cook for kings?  And is that charming baker who s/he met along the way trustworthy?  And will your character ever be worthy of attaining the Magic Ladle?

3. A Twist Along The Way

A. Betrayal: In a totally unexpected turn of events, somewhere along the way, that really attractive character who seemed so very trustworthy turns out to not be trustworthy.  Your character spends one, possibly two, chapters reeling from this betrayal and several things go horribly wrong as a result.

B. Death: So, there was this cliff.  And there was rain.  And this one person saw a pretty bird and, well…  Your character and any other companions mourn the loss.  Unless it was someone highly suspected of being a traitor.  Then they stand a ponder the mysterious Ways of Justice before carrying on.

C. Love: Your character was so sure that s/he loved the very attractive, rich, cultured, capable person that s/he met along the course of the story, but now it seems that s/he has fallen hopelessly in love with the annoying, less attractive but not horrible to look at, sarcastic, most often unpleasant other person s/he met along the course of the story.  But who can explain the workings of the heart, anyway?  Odds are, Love Interest #2 will turn out to be long-lost royalty, anyway.  

D. An Interesting Development: Your character randomly gains the ability to see the future, but backwards, whenever s/he sneezes.  It’s all very confusing and mostly useless.

4. How it Ends

A. Triumph: Your character overcomes every single obstacle placed in his/her path, even the ones that are statistically and rationally impossible to overcome (because s/he is that amazing) and the story closes in a sweepingly grand picture of resolution.  Everything is in its proper place.  A golden age is most definitely unfolding before the eyes of your character and his/her comrades, and everything will most definitely be fine.  Unless there’s a sequel.  Then everything will be rubbish again in no time at all.

B. Tragedy: Unfortunately, everyone your character ever loved along the way has perished.  Most of them have perished nobly.  A few seemed to perish for no reason at all except to make your character question all of his/her preconceived notions about heroism.  Now, here at the end, your character stands alone, figuratively or literally gazing upon the graves of so many who have been lost… but it was worth it for the Greater Good.  It was…. Really…. Please let there be a sequel with a happier ending.

C. Romance: On a high, grassy hill overlooking a significant city wherein most of the significant story events took place, your character and your character’s One True Love are locked in a tender embrace as they reminisce on all of the unlikely events which brought them to this place.  Every outlook is rosy now.  All previous misunderstandings and hostility erased by mutual life-saving acts which have sealed their bond forever.  If there is an epilogue, it will probably involve two and a half children, just so the readers are sure that these characters meant it.  If there’s a sequel, well, your character would really appreciate it if there wasn’t one.  Things are great.  Let it be!

D. Well, That Was Odd: Your character is sitting in a small, dark room in the predawn light, blinking fuzzily and rubbing sleep from his/her eyes.  It was all a dream?  That whole story that took up four hundred pages was all a dream?  Your character lies back down and decides that maybe s/he isn’t getting up today.  It’s just not worth it.


And there you have it, the perfect outline just waiting to be filled in with your creativity.  Let me know what sort of story you ended up with!  I’m quite curious what sort of havoc I have wrought.

StoryBuilder 1.0: Construct Your Magical Land!

Last week, I gifted you all with the perfect character building machine, and now you all have strange and wonderful characters, but nowhere to put them.  That is easily solved.  We will do the same thing this week with world-building.  After all, you can’t have characters without a world.  At least, I don’t think you can.  Maybe you can.  But probably not.

So here is a world-builder.

magic fantasy castle landscapeThe same rules apply.  Choose options from the categories below and make note of your choice so that you can find out what your wonderful world is like at the end of the post.  Once again, if you go for the exciting and unexpected route, you will get exactly what you deserve for such cheekiness.


1. World Theme:

A. Roman
B. European
C. Asian
D. Totally Not Like Any Culture of This World

2. Add Some Landscape (Add any or all of the below):

A. Ancient Forests
B. Vast Fields
C. Grand Mountains
D. Bodies of Water
E. Something Unexpected

3. Local Color (Add any or all of the below):

A. Merchant Guilds
B. Gladiatorial Combat
C. Spy Network
D. Town Idiot
E. Something Unexpected

4. Government Structure

A. Democracy
B. Dictatorship
C. Anarchy
D. Monarchy
E. Something Unexpected

5. Local Wonder of Choice

A. Mysterious
B. Big
C. Ancient
D. Pretty
E. Something Unexpected


Alright, now that you’ve chosen your fantastical and wonderful and totally unique world attributes, you get to find out more details about your world of choice.

1. World Theme:

A. Roman: Welcome to the land of columns and togas and prodigiously prominent noses.  In your world, a very clean and shiny upper class spends its days bathing and talking about politics while the masses engage in bloodthirsty activities just for fun.  Everything is very well organized, but rebellion is simmering… just beneath the surface.  Business as usual.
B. European: Welcome to a totally unique world in which knights ride around castles and citizens herd sheep, farm, and look upon the occupants of castles for protection against roving bands of mercenaries.  Also, there are probably big, fire-breathing dragons.  Possibly trolls under bridges.  Maybe even unicorns, if you’re lucky.  But don’t pet the unicorns.  They bite.
C. Asian: In a land of zen, your world is filled with pagodas and orchids and very tiny gardens filled with sand and small rocks.  Your culture is clean and civil and all conflict takes place discreetly out of sight.  There are probably also dragons lurking around, but they are much more likely to want to sit down and debate philosophy and politics than they are to burn your house to the ground, which is quite useful.  The other supernatural creatures are not so trustworthy.
D. Totally Not Like Any Culture of This World:  In a land of fluffy castles made of flowers, your world floats on a cloud… in space.  The people are friendly… except when their flowers are stolen.  Herein lies most of the conflicts of the citizens, most of whom are fairies, some of whom are bunnies, and a few of whom are small, curmudgeony polar bears.


2. Add Some Landscape (Add any or all of the below):

A. Ancient Forest: This forest has been around since before anyone in your story can remember, or since their great grandparents can remember.  The trees are taller than most palaces and tend to make deep groaning noises as if they are sentient, which they probably are.  Entire societies of mysterious creatures lurk in these woods, some of which friendly, although most are probably not.  No one who gets lost in these woods ever finds their way out… except your characters because they’re special…
B. Vast Fields: Yes, these might just be here to take up space, but they are also useful for riding across at a quick pace, being inconveniently spotted by the enemy because there is no cover, or standing at one end to gaze at a looming destination on the other side.  These vast fields may or may not have names, but they will definitely be important to the plot.
C. Grand Mountains: Inevitably, these will need to be crossed.  Inevitably, there will be snow at the top.  Also inevitably, there will be trolls or carnivorous mountain goats lurking on the precipices.  And a final inevitability: part of the dangerous paths along the edges of these mountains which have been around for thousands of years will give way at exactly the same moment your characters are trying to cross.  Drama abounds in the grand mountains. Don’t forget to name them.
D. Bodies of Water: Whether it is a lake, a river, a sea, or an entire ocean, having a body of water is quite useful.  Like mountains, bodies of water pretty much always have to be crossed.  That is, except when they need to be dived beneath to discover some sort of underwater city.  Magical beings like to rise out of bodies of water, as well.
E. Something Unexpected: Your world is blessed by the incredible presence of an upside down sky-volcano.  Every so often, it likes to spit fire on the unfortunate masses who dare to live beneath it (luckily, this only happens every few hundred years or so, normally at some significant moment in some significant character’s journey to greatness).  No one knows what’s holding the volcano up or how the lava stays inside an upside down volcano.  It is a source of great academic interest – that is, when it’s not exploding and the academics are making a run for it.

3. Local Color (Add any or all of the below):

A. Merchant Guilds: Merchants are useful folk to have around.  They sell things, buy things, and also seem to know what’s going on in the world.  Their leader is usually corrupt, though, so your character should probably not trust him/her, although most characters will end up in the guildmaster’s debt for some reason or another.
B. Gladiatorial Combat: Inevitably, your character will end up in the ring if your world has gladiatorial combat, so be advised and consider some training to lead up to this.  This cultural atrocity will also figure largely into any sort of revolution against the current government.  Gladiators tend to be more than willing to get behind a rebellion and most corrupt leaders never see it coming.
C. Spy Network: These always know what’s going on, always influence what’s going, and always play both or all sides of any conflict.  The leader of the spy network may or may not be trustworthy.  Spies are shady by nature, so even the “good” ones will probably do some pretty nefarious things in the name of “right” which will cause your character all manner of empathetic guilt.
D. Town Idiot: Adding a touch of humor and the occasional, unlooked for insight, a silly character can be humorous, but also very annoying.  Your character (and your readers) might want this character dead, which will make any sort of sacrifice of the character later a little pointless.  These characters work best in small doses.
E. Something Unexpected:  Your character’s nation engages in the epic sport of bear racing.  Bear jockeys are a courageous lot who ride bears and attempt to get them to lumber forward rather than attack each other, their riders, or the audience.  Most races end a bit violently, but the sentimental attachment to bear racing overcomes all massacres.

4. Government Structure

A. Democracy: All for one and one for all!  Everyone has a say, but strangely, no one seems to care.  A handful of people have somehow still managed to take control of the nation.  This is probably important to your plot.
B. Dictatorship: One evil overlord/lady has taken control of the kingdom.  Obviously, one person should not have all this power and it will take a plucky band of freedom fighters to give the kingdom back to the people/rightful ruler(s)/other.  Don’t forget to give the dictator a very tall and dark and impressive tower to rule from, if s/he is into that sort of thing.  As a fun alternative, your dictator could be a friendly, relaxed person who is doing a very nice job keeping the country in line.  This will probably confuse your character a bit, but I’m sure there is someone else evil enough worth overthrowing.
C. Anarchy: No government exists and chaos reigns in this kingdom.  Your character is probably seeking some sort of order in the face of this chaos, fighting against the many petty thugs who have taken over various parts of the country.  There is a slight likelihood that it will be your character who will rise up to lead everyone (although your character is totally not a dictator or anything).
D. Monarchy: All hail the king and/or queen!  It is generally a toss-up whether the monarch is good or evil and this will usually affect the plot.  A strong evil monarch is often a very exciting villain to stand against.  A strong weak monarch is normally under the thumb of an even more evil power-behind-the-throne villain.  A strong good monarch will be a good ally once you convince him/her that the villain is truly Out There.  A weak good monarch should probably just be put in a corner until everything’s taken care of.
E. Something Unexpected: When your kingdom has social or political issues to be dealt with, a small group of chosen officials ascends a low mountain to present its queries to a sort of magical, giant orb which answers questions with “Yes”, “No”, “Quite Likely”,  “Probably Not”, or “Maybe, Ask Again Later”.  Sometimes the orb takes a good shake or two to get an answer out of it and often the answer is extremely unhelpful, but somehow, your country has gotten along alright anyway.  Your character, on the other hand, might object to this process for some odd reason.


5. Local Wonder of Choice

A. Mysterious: A green stone tower that emits a different song each month stands at the center of a field.  Anyone who tries to climb the tower gets about halfway up before being knocked off by a mysterious force, after which the climber begins to sing that same song as the tower incessantly thereafter.  Normally they also end up mysteriously disappearing later, but this may be because people simply can’t stand the singing.
B. Big: A giant, glowing ball hovers over a lake.  It doesn’t do anything.  It’s just really big and glowy.  Someone suggested touching it and everything called them an idiot.  No one seems to have tried.
C. Ancient: A book sits beneath glass in a small room at the back of a library.  It is covered in script from a language lost in the shadows of the past.  Someday… someone will read it. And then Everything Will Change.
D. Pretty:  It’s glorious, colorful, shimmering, and probably magical.  If you wear it, it might kill you.  Most people just gaze at it in awe.  What is it?  Well, no one actually knows, but it’s really pretty.
E. Something Unexpected: People travel from distant lands to stand within the Forest of Bad Riddles.  The trees tell horrible jokes that have no sensible answer, the kind that you can’t get out of your head, that make no sense, and that make you wish that no one had ever told you about the Forest of Bad Riddles or dared you to spend the night there.  Seriously, if your character has any shreds of nobility, burning this forest to ashes will be the first order of business.

Random, yes, but unique, right?  Now you have a world set up with plenty of space to fill in, magical names to provide to geographical features, and a character to drop in the middle of it all.  But you still need a plot, don’t you?  Don’t worry.  That comes next week.

Five Things I’d Rather Do Than Finish My Novel: How to Procrastinate Productively

There is a crisis point in writing a novel that I never knew existed – that is, until I reached it.  I have written many half-books.  If I combined all of my half-books into one grand and glorious whole book, it would be something like a Dosteovsky novel after it had eaten too much Tolstoy.

funny road sign changed prioritiesI have only a few times reached the threshold of the very-nearly-almost-book.  That is to say, I don’t generally finish books.  I have written a novella or two, short stories aplenty, and  I am working my way through a serial that may or may not ever end.  But to come within chapters of a complete manuscript of what would be an actual legitimate book?  That has not happened for many years.

There are three chapters left in my book.  Maybe four.  And then the first (albeit sketchy) draft is done.  So why I can’t I write three mangy chapters?  Why?  Somehow, bringing everything I have written to a sound and satisfying conclusion seems more difficult than writing the 200-something pages that came before it.

But creativity demands an outlet, so instead of writing my three (or four) last ever final conclusive chapters of my book, I have thought of a whole load of things that I can do instead.  I thought I’d share these lovely delays distractions activities in case someone else out there is in need of an escape from the crisis of the very-nearly-almost-book.  Or, heck, even the half-book, the sort-of-nearly-off-the-ground-book or the I-have-the-beginnings-of-a-genius-idea-book.  Everyone needs to procrastinate once in a while, right?

1. Bake Your Troubles Away

DSC_0075My default when I can’t settle down and get work done is to make something.  Right now, there are two loaves of bread rising in the kitchen.  A couple of days ago, there were ginger snaps.  I may have possibly been ignoring my novel for a while now…

Here’s the ginger snap recipe, just in case you are in need of a baking distraction.  A mostly finished novel does not smell like cinnamon, cloves, and heaven.  These do!

Best Ginger Snaps Ever

2 C Flour
2 t baking soda
2 t ginger
2 t cloves
2 t cinnamon
½ t salt

¾ C shortening
1 C sugar
1/2 C molasses
1 egg

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately, then combine. Roll into (smaller than golf, bigger than grape-sized) balls and roll in plain white sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper). Bake at 350 for 10 min.


The cookies won’t look or feel done when you take them out, but they ARE done! Just let them sit on the pan for a while until they solid enough to remove to a cooling rack.

2. Organize Something

Yes, that pesky closet that has been threatening to evacuate if you try to stuff one more pair of shoes where they simply cannot fit.  That closet needs to be organized.  Right now.  Way more important than three measly final chapters of a novel.  And you never know: you might find Narnia in the back of it if you just look one more time.  Who would want to risk ignoring Aslan’s call? I know certainly wouldn’t.

3. Buy a New Book

So you can’t finish your own book.  What of it?  There are so many lovely finished books out there. Just think of it: whole stores filled with shelves of books just begging to be read!  What about them?  Don’t they deserve your attention? What about that used copy of Branwen Uerch Llyr that you’ve been wanting to order for ages?  Nothing will make you feel quite so good about ignoring an unfinished novel as purchasing a nice, tidy, completed one. Especially if it’s medieval, Welsh, and needs translating.  Seriously, the best thing ever.

4. Go for a Walk

Exercise is very healthy and satisfying and sitting in front of your computer wrestling with the end of a book is so very not healthy and satisfying.  And walks are such a good way to gain inspiration and perspective and scope and all those other deep, deep things that writers always seem to be after.  (And maybe while you’re gone the chapters will mysteriously finish themselves. Miracles happen!)scotland countryside mountains

5. Start a New Novel

I shouldn’t have suggested that, should I have?  Because what we writers of very-nearly-almost-books do not need is a new project to distract us from the one that is begging us for an ending.  But then, writing something is better than writing nothing, isn’t it?  And we’ll come back to that book later, anyway, won’t we?

Of course we will.




This post is very likely not a good post for anyone to read who is at the crisis point that I have reached.  However, it seems that we very-nearly-almost-book writers should stick together, share ideas, and perhaps even finish our projects one day.  These are my own particular favorite ways to ignore the fact that my book is missing an ending.

What are yours?

Since I have nothing to say that will be handed down to posterity with the eclat of a proverb . . .

“I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. — We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice xviii.

There are days on which a juggler attempts to juggle seven torches, and burns the house down.

There are days on which the chef works to prepare a five-course dinner, and spoils all the courses.

There are days on which a writer labors to find just the right words — words that will amaze the whole room, words that’ll be handed down to posterity with the eclat of a proverb, words that will give to airy nothing a shape, a local habitation, and a name — and his words fall flatter than the paper he writes on.

This is one of those days.

Yesterday was one of those days, too.  Ditto for the Saturday that immediately preceded yesterday.

It’s rather a nasty jar when two such days immediately precede, and one such day coincides with, a day on which you have the duty to post something witty and edifying in this space. To discover that you have not even sufficient fuel in the tank to spin your insufficiency into a halfway enlightening, or halfway entertaining, little ditty.

Apparently it’s a dangerous thing to pray C. S. Lewis’s old prayer: “O Thou, fair Silence, fall, and set me free.”(1)  Like all prayers, it might be granted.

(1) From “The Apologist’s Evening Prayer.”

Short Story Slump: Writer-Cafe Symbiosis

The end has come.  Sort of.  Mostly.  Almost.

What I mean is, I have most of a dissertation put together into some semblance of coherency.  It’s stuffed full of footnotes and overbrimming with Welsh and Irish quotes and even has thoughts and ideas and things I learned this year worked into it. I’m just that brilliant.

For this last post on sharing ways to turn yourself into a short story writing machine, I am going to talk about something that is partially responsible for me surviving the dissertation and something I plan to continue whenever I hit a writing snag.  Most of you have probably done it before, but maybe you’ve forgotten how useful it can be.

  • Adopt a Cafe

Many writers, when they hit a roadblock, will pack up their laptop, or paper and pen, or typewriter, or whatever it is that they use to transfer idea to written form (reverse osmosis, anyone?), and head to a favorite coffee shop, whether it’s a little hole in the wall that serves oddly named beverages and plays funky music, or a big old Starbucks with the familiar, complicated drinks and free Wi-Fi and bustling, unending crowd.

You know those days when climbing into your wardrobe seems like the best solution for your current writing woes?

Shutting yourself up in your room while you write can work, but for a lot of us, the cabin fever can do weird things to a story.  Suddenly, the characters are acting twitchy and bipolar or the plot is taking dramatically unpredictable turns.  Or you just mysteriously find yourself on YouTube watching cat videos with no idea how you got there…

Something about a cafe makes writing start happening and, for me, the words begin to flow all on their own.  Maybe it’s the mingling smells of hot drinks or the people filtering in and out in the background or the views from the windows or a particularly welcoming chair that had better be empty when I get there.

A cafe feels like an indulgence, rather than work.  I order a pot of my favorite tea and maybe a croissant or a scone if I’m feeling particularly deserving.  I allot myself a certain amount of time to write (which adds a sense of urgency and down-to-business-ness), put my own music on (a special playlist that is perfectly constructed to feed my muse) and get writing.

How could this NOT be inspiring?

It has worked quite well for my dissertation, in fact.  When my room gets too small and quiet and distracting or the library gets too schoolish, I head to a cafe.  One of my favorite places is called The Elephant House, famous in Edinburgh as the ‘Birthplace of Harry Potter’ since JK Rowling supposedly all but lived in a corner of the cafe and wrote the first book there.  Anyone who lives here knows that’s utter nonsense and she only wrote there occasionally.  However, the bright red exterior with its golden sign in the window proclaiming its association to Rowling has drawn crowds of tourists to the place.

Why do I like it?  Because their tea is delicious and the atmosphere is wonderful.  Do I also cherish the dream of one day seeing The Elephant House bragging about how once wrote there?  Oh, not at all.  Really.

The Elephant House is full of… wait for it… elephants! They lurk in pretty much every corner… kind of creepily…

If you’re stuck in your story or you want to start one up, try treating yourself to an afternoon in a cafe that suits your tastes.  Order your favorite drink and maybe a sugary snack.  Settle into a comfy chair or find that perfect table by the window and set to work.  The cafe gets your business (and possibly fame by association – let’s be optimistic!) and you get the inspiration of a warm, richly scented atmosphere that simply begs for a story to be composed on its premises.

Do you have a favorite cafe that makes all your writing dreams come true?  And also has an epic, tried and true beverage? Where do you go when you need to get out and write somewhere else?

(And am I the only one who thinks it would be gloriously funny if people took a picture of a random cafe one day just because I was in it?)