1000 Word Sprint Guidance and suggestions: the GOAL of a Sprint

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

Word Weaver SPRINT 1There are two goals to a 1000 Word Sprint Contest. You will be creating a short story or story segment, sure, but also something else.

The first goal is: Get your story up and running as quickly as possible.

The 1000 word limit will force you to be thrifty with your verbiage.

The second goal is to make it as complete as possible within those 1000 words.

In George RR Martin’s prologue to the first book of Game of Thrones, within 200 words you have a very good feel for the setting and the characters.

200 words, and the guy writes stories the size of phone books.

How was that done?

img_2351-12 your humble host

First, as always, you put down whatever your idea is. Get it out of your head and into the computer or onto the page. Then you go back and you analyze each sentence to make…

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When Tis Done – Part 57

When Tis Done coverWhile Brian is chatting with Mr. Ferris, his father and Jian’s arrive. Mr. Fēng poked his finger at Miles several times. After warning him to back off, he grabbed the Asian man’s hand, telling him he could break it easily.

“You’re threatening me!”

“No, sir. I’m promising you.” His eyes met Fēng’s and the shorter man dwindled slightly. “Now, can we talk about this politely? Or do I have to send you to the hospital?”

“Miles, I have to ask you to let him go,” Wilke said.

“Sure, Steve.” He released Mr.Fēng’s hand.

“I don’t want to have to involve the police,” Wilke said. “But I will, if we can’t discuss this politely. No yelling, no Aikido holds, no broken bones, punching, biting, spitting or other offensive maneuvers. Are we clear, gentlemen?”

“Perfectly, Steve. I apologize for my behavior.” Miles glanced at Fēng, waiting.

“My apologies, gentlemen,” he said, shrugging as he rubbed his hand. “I lost my temper. We had trouble at the last school with students being hateful because we are Chinese. Jian got in many fights. I am sure that he thought Brian was trying to provoke him and took the wrong approach to protect himself.”

“I’m sure,” Miles said, though he didn’t sound it. “Steve, are we about done? My wife’s at home and very worried. She’s disabled,” he cast over his shoulder at Fēng. “Legally blind. The doctor said that getting upset like this isn’t good for her condition.”

“Sure, Miles. We’re good. You can take your boy home.”

“Thank you.”

He motioned to Brian, who picked up his backpack and followed his father out. The door shut behind them and they walked down the corridor toward the door.


“Her mother is coming. Let’s get out of here. I feel like I’ve got worms up and down my spine.”

Brian hadn’t thought of it that way, but he felt that too. It had been bad enough with Jian around, it was far worse once Mr. Fēng arrived.

“You think he’s our bad guy?”

“Mr. Fēng?” Miles shrugged. “Not sure. He’s touched by evil, but you want bad guy, I’d lay even money on his kid. He ain’t right.”

Brian whole heartedly agreed. He got in his car and followed his father home. Maribelle Casey met them at the door, clearly upset. Elise reached out for her brother, hugging him tightly around the neck.

“She hasn’t stopped crying since we talked,” Maribelle said to Brian.

“Hey, Princess. What’s wrong?” Brian asked his little sister. “You scared of the nasty, mean boy?”

“She woke up screaming,” Maribelle told Miles. “Like when she got colic. It was horrible. I’ve been so worried.”

“We’re home and it’s all right,” Miles said. “We do need to get ourselves together to get over to Cynthia and Neil’s. I talked to him a little while ago and there’s something big going on.”

“Like what? Bigger than this?”

“He’ll explain when we get there. Do we still have that pasta salad we didn’t eat last night?”

“Yes, why?”

“Potluck.” Miles went to the kitchen and got the covered bowl of salad, along with a big serving spoon. He picked up Elise’s diaper bag and took his daughter to the car.

Brian helped his mother down the steps and to the car before going back and locking up the house. “Should I bring my own car?”

“We’ll go as a family.”

“Can we have a clue?”

“Neil will explain.”

“I deserve to know what’s going on.”

“Yes, you do. And Neil will explain. He didn’t give me details. I’m not trying to be deceptive, son. I don’t know.”

Satisfied for the moment, Brian hopped in the front seat with his father. His mother preferred to ride in the back with Elise. They arrived at the old Finley place as Jordan’s family pulled up. Brian helped his mother out as his father got the baby. Brian grabbed the bowl and spoon and carried them as he walked over to see Jordan.

“What’s going on, Brian?”

“No clue.”

“What happened at school?”

He explained about the conflict with Fēng Jian and his father.

“Your dad could have gotten in a lot of trouble for that!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 56

When Tis Done coverJian is in the office, being reprimanded for attacking Brian. Dora Finley gives Brian holy water, blessed salt and a charm, at his request. He goes in to speak to Jian and the principal, making sure to shake their hands, and the hand of the security officer, before going out.

His phone rang. Millie and the other students frowned at him.

“I swear, it was off.” He glanced at the screen, knowing it was his mother before looking. The phone had been off all day, but it always rang for his mother. He stepped into Dora’s office to answer. “Hi, Mom.”

“Brian, what’s happened?”

He expained quickly. Maribelle listened quietly.

“You’re sure he’s bad?”

“Almost a hundred percent.”

“Why not conclusively?”

“I can’t really talk about this right now, Mom. Mr. Ferris is going to want to talk to me any second.”

“You call your father.”

“We tried. He didn’t answer.”

She sighed. “I’ll call him. You stick close to Dora.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Let me talk to her.”

He handed his phone to Dora Finley. “It’s Mom, she wants to talk to you.”

“Sure thing.” She took the phone. After a short chat with his mother, she hung up and handed it back. “You be careful,” she whispered as the door to the office opened.

Brian examined Jian’s arm from a distance. He could see the skin was red and irritated. The salt and holy water had done the job. He might not know what Jian was, but he knew he was bad. Nice people, normal people, didn’t break out in a rash from a little blessed salt and holy water. The black eyed Asian glared at Brian, his lower lip clamped between his teeth. Brian could see Jian’s hand was even more red than his arm. He took a seat by Millie and Brian was taken into Mr. Ferris’ office. He told his side of the story and waited for the hammer to drop. He anticipated that he was going to get into a lot of trouble.

“I don’t know what’s up with you and that Fēng boy,” Mr. Ferris said. “But he’s going to be a problem. I’ve called his father, but I don’t expect to get much support from him. He’s nearly as arrogant as his son.”

“I’m sorry this happened, Mr. Ferris. I didn’t intend to cause trouble, but he swung at me. I had to defend myself.”

“Of course you did. I’m in a quandary how to deal with this. You weren’t technically fighting, but you were involved in a conflict. Is your father coming in?”

“Mom said she’d try to reach him. Mrs. Finley talked to her. You can ask her.”

“I will. I appreciate your coming in to speak up in Jian’s defense. I’m not sure it will make much difference, though.”

“I had to try. Of course, it’s entirely up to you, sir.”

“Officer Wilke is getting witness reports. Once I speak to your father, you’ll be free to go.”

The outer door to the office opened. Raised voices penetrated into the inner office. Mr. Ferris got up and walked out to the front office. He was greeted with the sight of Miles Casey being yelled at by a short, slight Asian man. The fellow wasn’t speaking English, but he was furious and he blamed Miles.

“Sir, I have no arguement with you,” Miles said mildly. “But it’s becoming evident why my son is having trouble with yours.”

The man advanced, poking Miles in the chest.

“Back off,” Miles said, drawing himself up to his full height. He tended to slump, making his six foot two frame seem small. Now, he looked large and angry.

Mr. Fēng didn’t back off, he advanced another step. Miles pressed his lips together, glowering. “I asked you nicely. Don’t make me embarrass you in front of your son.”

“You touch me, it’s assault,” Fēng said with a smirk.

“You touched me already,” Miles replied. “And you’re in my personal space. Do we need to continue and escalate this conflict? Or can you back up and act like a grown man, not a dumb kid?”

“You insult me!” Fēng said and the poking finger descended once more. Seconds later, he was crying out in pain.

Miles stood there calmly, the smaller man’s hand gripped in his. “See what you made me do? I told you politely. Officer Wilke,” he said quietly to the school security officer. “You heard me, correct?”

“I did, Mr. Casey. I also witnessed this gentleman poke you four times.”

“Thank you.” He tilted his head, still holding Fēng’s fingers. “I understand you’re a potter. Let me tell you something, so we’re clear. I can break your hand with very little trouble, effectively putting you out of a job. I don’t want to do that, but you come at me again, and this will get ugly.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 55

When Tis Done coverThere is trouble in debate, when Jian argues with Brian. He gets so angry, he takes a swing at Brian, who catches Jian’s arm, defending himself. The school security officer, and the principal, are called.

“What’s wrong?”

“He assaulted me,” Jian said, pointing at Brian.

“He took a swing first. Brian just defended himself,” Rhonda said.

The other students backed up Brian. Mr. Wymore was conflicted. By the rules, he had to see to it both boys were suspended for fighting, but it was clear that Jian had initiated it. Rather than throwing a punch, Brian had protected himself.

“Everyone, I’m sorry, but we’re done for today. Brian and Jian will be heading to the office with Mr. Ferris and Officer Wilke.”

“Witness statements will be taken immediately,” Mr. Ferris announced. “Whoever saw it, come to the office.”

They gathered their things and followed them down. Jian refused to let anyone touch him. Brian walked calmly to the office and went to sit by the receptionist’s desk while Jian was taken into the vice-principal’s office.

“What did you do?” the receptionist, Millie Sayer asked him.

“Defended myself.” He wouldn’t explain or say anything more.

“Want me to call your mother?”

“She can’t drive. Call my dad, please.” He gave her the number.

After trying the number twice, Mrs. Sayer shook her head and hung up. “He can’t be reached, sugar. Anyone else”

“Yeah. Mrs. Finley is a friend of the family.”

“I’ll call her. You sit tight.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Dora arrived a few minutes later, eyes wide with concern. “What happened?”

“Can we talk in private?”

“Sure. We’ll be in my office, Millie.”

“No problem. They’ll be with the others for a time. You go ahead.”

They went in her office, closing the door. Brian told her what had happened with Jian.

“We told you not to provoke him.”

“My breathing provokes him. He swung at me, and when I had hold of him, I got a glimmer of something. He’s not who he says, maybe not even what he says.”

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning, we were looking for trouble to arrive. I think it has. And I think he intends to do something quite awful. I don’t know what and I have no idea how, or why or anything else, but he’s dangerous. More dangerous than Mr. D. or Opal.”

“You’re scaring me, Brian.”

“You should be, Dora. Flat out terrified. That boy is evil. I can’t prove it, but I know it. Do you have any blessed salt or holy water?”

“Both. Why?”

“May I have some?”

“Sure. But why?”

She got a small bottle and a salt shaker from her desk drawer. Handing them to him, she watched as he wet his hands and shook a little salt on them, rubbing it around until it dried.

“An experiment. Do you have a charm with you?”

Another drawer provided this. He tucked it in his pocket and got up. Walking into the vice-principal’s office univited, he advanced on Jian, clapping him on the shoulder as he hauled him to his feet. Taking Jian’s hand, he squeezed, rubbing the salt on the other boy’s hand.

“I’m sorry. We obviously got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it’s a cultural misunderstanding. Mr. Ferris, could we just forget the whole thing? If Jian would simply apologize for coming at me, I’m willing to let it slide.”

Mr. Ferris stared, agap. “I really can’t do that, Brian. I can mitigate his punishment, but he still has to be reprimanded.”

“I understand. Well, I tried.” He turned to Jian, shrugging. Shaking his hand again, he grasped the elbow of the same arm, rubbing the salt on the other boy’s skin. Muttering a counter curse in Old Galic, he released the boy’s arm.

“What does that mean?” Jian demanded.

“It’s a blessing. Something I picked up somewhere. I was really hoping we could put this behind us and move on.”


Brian shrugged. “That’s just the kind of guy I am.”

“I’ll take this into consideration,” Mr. Ferris said.

“Thank you, sir,” Brian said, shaking his hand. He also clapped Officer Wilke on his shoulder before walking out. He shut the door behind him, smiling at Dora Finley.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

When Tis Done – Part 54

When Tis Done coverJordan goes to drama rehearsal after school, to find Lien there. At debate, Brian has to put up with Jian. The young Asian man seems determined to annoy Brian.

“I’m going to start with the new kids,” he told Brian. “Think of a subject and get everyone going. Extemp in twenty minutes.”

“Yes, sir,” Brian said. “Okay, y’all. You heard the man. Gather round.”

“Why are you in charge?” Jian asked, his expression and tone nasty.

The other students stared at him, puzzled.

“You just heard the man.”

“I don’t see why you should be in charge. Are you better than the rest of us?”

“Dude, just doing what Mr. Wymore said. He’s the boss. You can join in, or you can leave. I don’t care one way or the other. Maybe you’d be more comfortable in the remedial group?” He invited with a sweep of his hand. “No one will think less of you if your skills aren’t up to snuff. We all started at the bottom.”

That got smiles and nods as each person remembered their early days in debate.

“Up to you.”

“You think I don’t know what I’m doing?”

“I got no clue. Don’t really care, if I’m honest. Put up or shut up.”

Jian frowned, clearly not understanding the idiom.

“He means,” one of the girls said. “Either prove yourself or stop questioning him.” Tossing her hair, she gave Jian a none too subtle reproof.

The Asian boy clearly didn’t like being reprimanded by a girl, but he kept quiet.

“What’s our subject?” one of the boys asked.

“I’m trying to decide. I thought about gun control….”

The girl, Chloe, shiffed, tossing her head again. “So done.”

“Agreed. I thought about political issues, but I think we might end up all arguing on the same side of that. So…. With the ladies in mind: Nice Guys or Bad Boys?”

The girls clapped, cheering. The boys looked at him, stunned.

“What are we supposed to do with that,” the same boy asked.

“You are going to point out the advantages of being a good guy, or a bad boy. Think you can handle that, Ollie?”

“Sure!” Rubbing his hands together gleefully, Ollie sat at a desk and started putting together his argument.

Each student sat and started working. All except Jian.

“This is a stupid subject.”

“Didn’t hear me ask your opinion,” Brian said. “They like it. If you don’t, there’s the door. Don’t let it smack you in your bony, flat ass on the way out.”

Jian bridled, shoulders back, chin jutting, he advanced. Brian stood his ground, looking down at the shorter boy with a calm, placid expression.

“Are you trying to insult me?”

“No. I got better things to do with my time.”

“Since we met, you have gone out of your way to be rude.”

Brian guffawed. “Since we met, you’ve done nothing but give me grief. Trust me, if I really wanted to be give you shit, you’d know it. I’m just going about my business. The fact it pisses you off is just gravy.” He turned away, purposely leaving himself vulnerable.

Jian hopped forward, reaching for him. Brian sensed him coming and spun around, grabbing the other boy’s arm before he could land a punch. He had Jian’s arm in a chicken wing over his shoulder, in less than ten seconds. Yowling, Jian cursed at Brian in his native tongue. He might not know the words, but Brian understood the intent. He’s seriously infuriated the Asian boy.

Mr. Wymore rushed over from the central pod between the classrooms, where he’d been talking to the new students. “What’s going on here? Rhonda, call the office now!”

She hopped up and hit the intercom button. It took a few moments for the receptionist to answer.

“Brian, let him go,” Mr. Wymore said quietly.

Doing as he was told, Brian relaxed his grip on Jian.

“He totally attacked Brian first,” Rhonda said.

“Yes?” came from the intercom.

“Mrs. Sayer, I need the campus security officer in my room to escort a student to the office for discipline.”

“He’s on the way. Is everything all right?”

“It will be. Send Mr. Ferris in, please.”

“He’s coming with Officer Wilke.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

They stood in silence, waiting for Officer Wilke and Mr. Ferris. A few minutes later, the men arrived.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Lory & Shelton

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Wednesday, April 25, 4-6 PM EDT on Blog Talk Radio

Still waiting for Spring to Spring? Here in Florida, it has—mostly—and with it allergies, asthma and annoyance. Nothing like a stuffy head and watering eyes to keep you inside. Or, you can brave the crowds, and flock to the beach—where you battle traffic, rip tides and high tides. The choice is clear, at least to me. Home is where the heart is. (And the Benadryl)

Gosh, if only life could be perfect! You know what? It can, by reading a good book! Our authors today have some great escapes for you, so kick back, sip your favorite cold (or hot) beverage, and enjoy a chat with us.

Lory La Selva Paduano

First up, Lory La Selva Paduano author of historical fiction Crown of Embers, Wonderland Series, Khafa the High Priestess. New to the show, we’re so glad to have her here. Welcome, Lory!

Shelton Williams

Also new to the lineup is Shelton Williams author of murder mysteries Covey Jencks, Washed in the Blood and Summer of 66. Welcome to the show, Shelton! Hope you have fun.

Join us for a fun filled chat, and be careful out there. Mother Nature is a little loco.


When Tis Done – Part 53

When Tis Done coverAll day at school, Brian is plagued by Jian, who is in most of his classes. After school, the Asian boy openly expresses his interest in Jordan, which makes Brian angry. She reminds him that he’s supposed to be kind, no matter what, but that doesn’t sit well with Brian. When Jordan gets to the drama room, she finds Lien there, sitting alone.

“Hi, you okay?”

Lien shook her head, eyes wide with fear.

“Is it your brother?”

The other girl shook her head, trembling. She shrugged.

“If he’s so mean, can’t you talk to your dad, tell him?”

“You don’t understand, Jordan. It’s not our way. My brother and father can do or say what they like. I’m only a girl.”

Jordan wanted to scream. Her Inner Feminist grew incensed at the idea. She knew that some countries had a very different view of women, but she hadn’t thought she’d ever encounter it in her home town. Now, she was confronted with a very real issue of discrimination. She wanted to fight it, but knew it really wasn’t her business or her conflict to resolve.

“You shouldn’t let him treat you badly. There are laws….”

“Yes, but not for me.”

Jordan tried to speak, but Lien held up her hand.

“Thank you. I appreciate your support and the fact you want to stand up for me, but this is how it’s been since I was a little girl. It will continue forever, until I marry. Then, I will be under the auspicise of my husband, answering to his rules.”

“That’s so—archaic. Barbaric.”

Lien shrugged. “But it is our way. It’s all right, Jordan. They don’t always get their way, but they can be very unkind when I talk back or refuse.”

Jordan had no answer. Lien had accepted it, so must she. She couldn’t fight every battle, even if she wanted to.

The drama coach walked in, grinning. “We’ve got a new student joining us today,” she announced. “Everyone, please welcome Lien.” She presented the shy young woman.

Smiling, Lien stood and waved at everyone.

“Jordan, will you take over introductions and start the warm up? I have to go talk to Mr. Ferris.”

“Sure. Everyone, up on the stage.” She’d done this before. As a senior, and the designated assistant director, they listened to her. She did the introductions and started a game to help them all learn one another’s names. It wasn’t just because of Lien, there were some new freshmen and transfer students, so it was helpful for them all. By the time Mrs. Joyce came back, they were well into their warm up. She let Jordan continue until they were done, and invited everyone to sit in a circle on the stage.

“I’ve just spoken to Assistant Principal Ferris. He’s informed me that he’d like us to perform for the first assembly of the year, introducing students to the arts. He’s been a big supporter of ours, fighting for the team to have funds, so I don’t want to disappoint him. We need to think of some things we can do that won’t take a lot of preparation, since the assembly is in less than two weeks.”

“We did that short one act last year,” Jordan said. “All three of us are still here. We could do that. It’s about ten minutes.”

“I can do the soliloquey I memorized last spring,” a boy popped in.

“And Dwight can do his Mark Twain,” Jordan suggested. “Lien, is there something from your country that you could perform?”

Taken by surprise, the young Asian woman stared at Jordan.

“Perform something from my country?” She thought a moment. “Well, yes. I suppose. As a project one year, I learned one of the traditional dances. I still have the dress and fan. Would that be all right?” she asked the teacher.

Mrs. Joyce beamed. “Oh, I think that would be amazing! We could start with Mark Twain, go to the soliloquey, do the short one act and end with your dance. I think that would make an amazing performance! Excellent! Let’s get to work. Lien, can you come show me the dance, even if you don’t have your costume and music?”

“Of course. I would be happy to.”

“Great. Jordan, why don’t you three take the stage. Boys, one of you on stage right wings, the other stage left.”

“Yes, Mrs. Joyce!” they chorused.

Brian stood just inside the door to the debate coach’s room, feeling Jian’s eyes on him. He didn’t have to look around to spot the boy, he knew exactly where he was in the room. The weight of his glare wasn’t frightening so much as it was irritating. It made Brian angry, but he pasted a smile on his face and walked over to greet the members of the team. Mr. Wymore was talking to a couple of new freshmen, getting them oriented and finding out how much experience they had—virtually none.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books