Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I sat down to write the other day and...

Rachael Harrie at Rach Writes... started the Writers Platform-Building Crusade, which comes complete with challenges! Woohoo! And the first one is to write something, anything, starting with I sat down to write the other day and...

But first, if you're not part of the crusade, you should check it out. It's fun. I've met lots of interesting people, and the more who participate, the more fun it will be. Now, without further ado...

I sat down to write the other day and was just hitting my groove when the phone rang. I was tempted to ignore it, but since it could have been the school calling, I answered.

"Guten Tag. Mein Name ist..... und ich rufe Ihnen an weil..." My brain, still stuck in the story, heard something more like this, "Καλωσόρισες το όνομά μου είναι... ζητώ σήμερα διότι..."*

"Wie bitte?" I responded, trying to buy time while my brain switched langauges (this usually takes around 2-3 minutes, sometimes as long as five).

The caller repeated his spiel (used here as an English word, rather than German). This time through, I managed to pick out some of the important words, but I still missed the general point of the call.

I asked him to speak more slowly, to which he replied in an exasperated voice. "ICH... RUFE... IHNEN... AN..." Yeah, I'm neither deaf nor stupid, just needed time.

Done with the phone, I sat down at the computer and tried to remember what my characters had been doing. Riding an elephant? No, but something to do with an animal...

Trying to get the story back in my head, I glanced out the window to see the neighbor boys playing. One looks remarkably like ten-year-old Harry Potter**, and I briefly imagined him jumping on a Nimbus Two-Thousand and playing quidditch instead of soccer. That, at least, would explain the ball that kept flying past my window.

Focus, focus, I thought, and I finally got back into my story. The animal was a bird (elephant? what was I thinking?), and the characters took it from there. I enjoyed a good writing session (look! to the right! The WIP is now a first draft!), and then it was time to pick up the kids.

As I walked to the bus stop, I thought about my newest picture book idea. Explorers. Maybe it could be about two kids exploring Mars. Not non-fiction, but the fictional story could be the backdrop to the factual back matter. Or maybe not.

*I do not speak Greek, and if the translation above is not the Greek equivalent of "Hello, my name is... I'm calling you because..." I apologize. Please direct your complaints to
** The neighbor really does look like Harry Potter, I did not make this up just because of some silly challenge rules (although it was a great way to meet the challenge). :)

What are your greatest writing distractions?


  1. WELL DONE for getting your WIP to be a first draft! I am trying so hard to get there in the next few days...

  2. Awesome. :)

    Focus is hard sometimes isn't it :)

  3. Rachel: Thanks! You can do it!!

    Tabitha: I think I get more easily distracted with age. It's terrible. :P

  4. Excellent challenge post! I don't know how you get your brain to change languages all the time!

  5. I wish I had a Nimbus Two-Thousand... :D

  6. Thanks Megan! It's not easy, as you can see--the above description is quite literally what happens when I'm in full English-language mode and must suddenly speak/understand German. A large number of Germans think I'm a complete moron.

    Faith: Me too. :)

  7. Have you ever asked the neighbour kid for his autograph? ;)

  8. Love the post Alison. And the translation made me laugh, even though I've got no idea what it said (hope it was something about how cool all the Crusaders are!) :)

  9. Your brain switches languages like that? That's crazy! But really cool.

  10. German is like music to my ears ^.^ I used to hate it, until I learned it. I'm rusty now, but it wouldn't take much to re-learn it.

  11. Switching languages is difficult and can be incredibly disorienting.

  12. Wow, I honestly thought I'd commented!

    Loved this! :)

    (Though Tess, German? Music? Are we speaking about the same language? ;) )

  13. Loved your tongue-in-cheek reference to the "all Greek to me". Gotta love those online translators, though we are rather at their mercy most of the time and just have to cross our fingers and hope...

    Congratulations on completing the first draft of your WIP!

  14. My son used to tell me about how German was derived from the English language by the people at Mercedes Benz.

    Your are quite resourceful to get that Greek thingy...

    I am spieled.