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Sarah Daffy

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Sarah Daffy last won the day on November 21

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About Sarah Daffy

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    Writer. Dancer. Artist. Encourager. Screenwriter.
  • Birthday November 22


  • Location
    Lost in a dream, always in motion.
  • Occupation
    I write. And write. And write. Oh, and I am also a dancer, screenwriter, musician, songwriter, baker, writer, metal detectorist, animal lover, future author, fellow Christian, writer, and artist. Did I forget to mention I am a writer?

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  1. What Makes A Great Villain?
    What Makes A Great Villain?


  2. How do you choose your books title
    How do you choose your books title
    20 hours ago, Accord64 said:

    I also look for uniqueness in titles. I'll do a search on Amazon to make sure a title idea hasn't been used.

    That is always a part of my process.

    After that, I think of puns or wordplays:


     A Most Refined Dragon - My dragon fantasy is about a dragon who has to overcome a lack of refinement (bad odor and jealous temper) while also building an oil refinery. The most important criteria was that it have the word dragon in the title. I also wanted a hint of Chinese American word usage, as the heroine was Chinese American.


    The Endless Hunt: Or If I've found God, Why am I still Looking? - My first nonfiction. I could have used "search" or "journey", but "hunt" sounds dangerous, like hunting wild animals. The subtitle was intended to be irreverent and fairly express how it is hubris to think that one ever fully finds God. There is always more to discover.


    Job Rises: 13 Keys to a Resilient Life - Again, I like to pair something philosophical but vague to a clarifying subtitle. I blatantly copied the self-help industry penchant for numbers and the word "keys". Why "Job Rises"? Because the inspiration to write about Job came to me while I was meditating on one of my favorite proverbs: "for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes." (Proverbs 24:16) I asked myself, who fell many times but rose in the end? Job was the only name that came to mind, and the book even refers to being safe form seven calamities.



    Seven habits, Five people, twelve steps, you get the picture. Why thirteen?


    From six calamities he will rescue you;
        in seven no harm will touch you. (Job 5:19)


    Six plus seven is thirteen. (I also found thirteen steps and decided not to make the number a nice easy ten or twelve just to look tidy.)


    I also used the word "resilient" because resilience is a whole subgenre (which I didn't know before I write it) and because that word popped into my head before I even began the research. 


    Peace, like Solomon Never Knew. That is the working title for my current book. It is about Ecclesiastes. I decided to hint at a paradox in the title, because the book is full of them. Solomon never found peace, and Ecclesiastes on the surface is a downer of a book, but in fact, the purpose of the book is to lay out the path to a peaceful life. So a book about a man who never found peace who himself wrote a book about how to find peace disguised as a book about the futility of existence.


    The Loyalty of Trolls is the working title of a YAF I have on the back burner. There is an old Icelandic saying about trolls, which translates to "the loyalty of trolls". The story is about the dangers of misplaced loyalty in people ready to abuse the trust of their loyal followers. It is also about Trolls, and not the internet kind. Loyalty is the main theme, so it is pretty on the nose.


    Years ago I read tips on naming books:


      - a place name

      - an event

      - a person's name

      - a famous line of poetry (often Shakespeare)

      - an intriguing object





  3. Help with Hooks Please
    Help with Hooks Please

    Let's brainstorm. I bet there are a lot of different hooks we have each seen in use. Here are a few I remember.


    The Cutaway. Lord of the Rings: A Door slams in Sam's face right after Frodo is captured by orcs, cutting him off from pursuit. Then Tolkien cuts away to Aragorn, Gandalf and company hundreds of miles away. We don't find out what happened to Sam and Frodo for several chapters. 


    The Cliffhanger. While the term originates with author Thiomas Hardy, it goes back much further. In the story of Scheherezade (Arabian Nights), she tells the Sultan stories each night and leaves off with a cliffhanger, so he won't kill her in the morning like the last princess. Each night she finishes the previous night's story, but starts a new one. This technique is a real life saver.


    The Stack Push. Scheherezade used this one as well. In the middle of the story, one character tells another character a story. In the middle of that story, the character's character tells a story. You can go three or four levels deep with this, just like in Inception, the movie. Make sure you unwind them i reverse order, like popping the stack.


    Sudden Death. The unexpected death of an important character.


    Sudden Arrival. The sudden arrival of an unexpected person: the son or sister you didn't know you had. Like The Rock's movie, "Game Plan".


    Unexpected Winfall. The protagonist gets a message about an inheritance, possibly unspecified with instructions to follow. Think about all the stories where someone inherits a haunted mansion, a magical item, an arcane book of secrets...


    Traitor revealed. The heroine learns that her cat has been colluding with the Russians. Or was it the sidekick who discovered his rat really is a rat? (Poor Ron Weasley...)


    Summons. The hero receives a summons to go on a journey for work to meet a new client. (That's how Dracula begins! Aren't you glad you're not his lawyer?)


    Bad Planning. Good old scene versus sequel. The action is at a lull, and the heroine makes plans for how to best her rival. The hook is that you know her plan is doomed because the narrator let slip some details.


    Unexplained Plans. Every action movie used to have the scene where the hero gathers his sidekicks around and says, "I have a plan..." Then they don't tell you the plan. You only get to see it unfold.


    Waking up somewhere weird. In someone else's clothes. Maybe in someone else's body. (To Your Scattered Bodies Go is my favorite.


    Dreams. This is a cliche. If you are a writer, you just can't resist the urge to start a scene with a dream, no matter how many agents draw their knives.


    New Affection. I ended one scene with the wrong woman (not the heroine) being escorted by the hero on horseback. He has never been attracted to her, but she is his sister's best friend so he tolerates her. The other woman drifts off to sleep while the horse is walking and begins to talk in her sleep, revealing things that she never says when awake. Being nosy and seeing an opportunity to learn embarrassing things about her, he whispers to her to divulge something she has resisted taking about. She falls for it. The secret is a lament she once wrote and never shared. She begins to sing it in her sleep and the song begins to captivate his heart, as it reveals a depth to her soul that he never saw before.


    That's my list. Anybody else want to chime in?




  4. How do you make your characters flawed?
    How do you make your characters flawed?
    Just now, PenName said:

    I was actually envisioning Heidi walking in on Raven writing the check. Then maybe she rips it out of the checkbook and jumps out the window on to the street. 

    Good idea! But Raven was a maid and she was cleaning the room. How would Heidi be able to just walk in? After all, her aunt would probably be a little displeased that she refused to come the first time when she ran away from the orphanage.

  5. Writing Fight Scenes
    Writing Fight Scenes

    David Farland shares some really practical notes about how to write compelling fight scenes.




    David Farland’s Writing Tips: “Writing The Fight Scene”

    In many novels you will have a fight scene—everything from a verbal scuffle as two people break up to a major battle, and because this is often the climax to your story, you might want to approach the scene cautiously.

    Years ago, with my first novel, I had one critic say that in On My Way to Paradise I had written perhaps the best battle scenes of all time. I remember reading that and thinking, “Really?” But I also remembered that when I was planning the novel, that was one of my goals. So I believe that preparing properly for the big climax should take some consideration.

    I’m currently working on the final scenes for A Tale of Tales, a novel where the climax has terrified me for years. It’s just so complex and difficult to write that I have to approach it cautiously.

    So here are a few tips on writing those fight scenes.

    1. Well before the fight scene, make us care about your players, either for good or for ill. We might root for a young hero and wish death upon a villain, but unless we know those characters, the fight is impotent. That is why I seldom recommend that you start a novel with a fight scene. Who cares? (Of course, a skillful author can create some rooting interest in the midst of a fight scene.)
    2. Escalate the fight. Most people don’t rush into battle willy-nilly. Usually, before a fight, the protagonist will try to resolve his conflicts with an antagonist through negotiation or by “talking the situation down.” So the fight often becomes heated and escalates during a verbal confrontation.

      Usually this verbal confrontation ends up with name-calling, where one person attacks another’s identity and dehumanizes them. This is a key. Most people can’t kill another person so long as they think of them as human. That is why in every war, soldiers come up with a nickname for those that they are supposed to kill.
      Very often, the verbal confrontation ends with a threat or a challenge of some kind, though my grandfather in the Mafia warned that you should never signal to another person that you plan to take them out. You just, “Take care of business.”
    3. Make your protagonist’s intent clear. What does he hope to accomplish in the fight? How does he hope to win? What allies does he need to bring into the fight? In the prelude to battle, we typically want to understand the game plan.
    4. Set up the battleground. When a character gets into a fight, the action often gets hot and heavy. You don’t want to try to describe your setting in the middle of a battle, so I generally have my viewpoint character assess the grounds before the fight begins, front-loading the details and problem areas.
    5. In the fight, it’s time to get realistic. I like to write my battle scenes in a way that reflects the thoughts and actions in real time, unless of course times seems to slow for my protagonist. (As your protagonist gets into danger, a rise in adrenaline often leads to a sense of “time dilation,” where it the mind is thinking quickly and the contenders are focused entirely on battle.

      Because I want the fight to be realistic, I detail the sights, sounds, smells, feel, and emotions of the battle as accurately as possible without going purple in my prose. In other words, I want it to feel raw, both for my protagonist and for the antagonist.
    6. Fighting isn’t easy. If your protagonist goes in and wins a battle with a sucker-punch, it’s rather anticlimactic.

      What’s better is if the antagonist has of course anticipated what the protagonist will do and erased any of the protagonist’s advantages. In short, if the protagonist is going to bring his magic sword, then the antagonist needs to figure out how to break it.

      In many major battles, the protagonist often has to fight his way to even reach the antagonist. Thus, when Gandalf rides up to the gates of Mordor, they don’t even have a hope of breaking through to meet the villain.

      Very often, the protagonist himself will be wounded, see friends die, and thus be both physically and emotionally damaged before the big battle.
    7. Your climax for your novel often occurs in a big battle. The protagonist often has a personal problem, his “B-storyline” that has been a secret weakness, and an Achilles heel. During the climax, the protagonist often makes a discovery that allows him to recognize his weakness, correct it, and thus when the day, snapping victory from the jaws of defeat. Now, if you have such a climax, it has to be set up probably hundreds of pages before the climax, so that the reader has forgotten about it, and it can be pulled out now.

      Alternately, at this climax, the protagonist draws upon some power that he or she didn’t even know that they possessed to win the fight.
    8. The end of the battle. After your protagonist has won, you might think that your reader is feeling exultation and that all is done—but that’s not true. The most powerful emotions that are aroused are often brought forth after the battle is over. As the protagonist discovers what he has won, what he has lost, how he has changed, and how he has changed the world, the story can take dozens of turns that explore powerful emotional depths. Your protagonist might have to bury friends, show mercy to enemies, win the love of her life, and so on. In some tales, the whole world is thrown into commotion and the entire landscape warps and changes after the end of the tale, and dealing with this can and should take many chapters.



  6. Opening Well
    Opening Well

    Author David Farland has some tips for how to grab your reading right from the outset.




    There is a list of things that you need to do in opening a story. In fact, depending upon the author you talk to, there are dozens of different lists.

    For example, one editor that I respect recently suggested that in the opening, you need to establish the “Ghost” of the story, spelled G.O.S.T.

    G stand for the Goal—that does your character hope to achieve. Does she want to return to a younger time, solve her financial problems, escape her father’s influence?  

    O stands for the Obstacles your character faces. Is it another person, the basic facts of life, health problems, society as a whole?

    S stands for the Stakes of the story. What real personal emotional stakes are on the line for your character? It isn’t enough to say that the world is in danger. The world is too big a place, too unknowable, too unlikeable. Frodo Baggins didn’t give a hoot about the world—Gollum in his cave, Shelob in her lair. He cared about Hobbiton, about his little home at Bag’s End. In the same way, your protagonist needs to love her little sister, her house on the beach, or something else that she feels deeply connected with.

    T is for Tactics. What strategy does your character devise in order to get what she wants? If your readers don’t know what she plans to do and why she plans to do it, they won’t care about the story. If your protagonist learns about a problem and then just walks out her front door, we have no idea where she is going. She could be taking a walk to calm down, or perhaps going to a bank in the hopes of robbing it. There can be no tension until we know what she hopes to do and why.

    Of course, other authors have their lists of things we want to do in an opening. Orson Scott Card has a list of questions he wants to answer for his reader. Here they are: “What’s going on?” “Oh, yeah?” “Why should I care?” 

    In the opening, we have a character who is typically introduced in the process of doing something. We need to explain what that is, what her motivations are.

    When we get to the “Oh, yeah?” question, we need to help the reader buy in to the story, to engage their “suspension of disbelief.” In science fiction and fantasy we often start with a premise that might sound wildly implausible. For example, I might have two characters arguing while strolling on the surface of the sun. So an early job as writers might be to explain the premises of the story in such a way that walking on the sun becomes believable. 

    In a similar way, I might have a character who is engaged in an extraordinary endeavor—let’s say a quest to overthrow a foreign dignitary. I might need to work hard just to explain the character’s motivation and methods for doing it. If my protagonist is a head for a covert government agency and a trained assassin, he would try to resolve the problem a lot differently than if he were a pastry chef.

    Then we have the question, “Why should I care?” This one is so important that it may take a lot of work. It may be that the protagonist is facing a problem that the reader is worried about. It may be that you need to emphasize commonalities between the reader and the protagonist. 

    If your reader doesn’t care about he protagonist, chances are good that the reader won’t make it even a few pages into the story. I’ve abandoned books hundreds of pages in simply because I found the protagonists’ to be unlikeable. Sometimes their mores are reprehensible, their habits disgusting, and their very thoughts revolting. So I toss the stories.

    Algis Budrys used to say that there are seven parts to a story, and the first three of those come in the opening. You need to establish a character (usually a protagonist), in a setting, with a significant conflict. This might sound easy, but just doing those three things in a way that is alluring and entertaining can be a challenge.

    For example, let’s take your character. If you’re introducing a protagonist, you might want to do it in a way that illustrates who this person is at heart—what things they love, what they fear, what secrets they hold. You might want to astonish the reader with the protagonist’s skills or motives. You may even want to hide information on the protagonist’s background for introduction later. 

    More importantly, you may have an entire cast that you need to begin introducing in an opening scene—an antagonist, a lover, a teacher, a dear friend. So just introducing the characters can be tough. Once you get more than three characters in a scene, just staging where each is in relation to the others can be problematic.

    As far as the setting goes, you need to answer basic questions of where and when this story takes place. Is it in a hole in a ground where a Hobbit lives? What kind of a hole is it? And what the hell is a Hobbit?  Beyond that, what is near at hand for the protagonist, what is in the midground, and what’s in the background? What time period are we in? What time is it exactly? What’s the light source for the scene and what’s the weather like today? 

    What of conflicts? Every character usually has at least one, and probably several. The protagonist might be late for work when the car breaks down. She doesn’t have money for a cab, and needs to be to work by ten.  She might have a sick baby and she’s worried about it, but by the end of the first scene in a short story, our protagonist usually has a jaw-dropping moment where she realizes that she is in for the most-significant fight of her life. Maybe she gets to her job as a teller and finds that her bank has been robbed, and that everyone working in the bank was killed, and now the police think that it was an inside job.

    That fight might be with an ex-spouse for control of their daughter, or it might be a fight with a rare disease that threatens her life, or it could be a struggle with an addiction that could ruin her life, but it needs to be significant.

    I like to add something to Algis’s list, however. I like to add a hook. A hook is any little tidbit of information that makes the reader wonder.

    For example, consider the line by Dickens: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” When and where is this story taking place? Well, these words could easily be penned by someone who was looking at our world today, but Dickens was talking about the world of London and Paris just before the French Revolution.

    This is what I call a “setting hook.” It’s designed to make people wonder what and when the setting is. So the hook actually works toward fulfilling the reader’s needs in receiving a story.

    There are a lot of kinds of hooks. I talk about eight of them in my Writing Enchanting Prose courses, and Alfred Hitchcock played with a couple of others, but having hooks in the opening of a story does some subtle things.

    All stories rely in part on a sense of mystery—what is going to happen next? Why? How will the character resolve this problem? When will the detective recognize who the real killer is, and so on. 

    By using a hook early on, we create a mystery. Just by getting involved in that mystery, the reader’s brain is given a little burst of dopamine, a reward for having begun the story, which then induces the reader to read on. As the author answers that mystery over ensuing paragraphs and pages, it creates a sense of trust in the reader. On a subconscious level, the reader begins to recognize that the writer will not just raise questions but will also answer them in a compelling and exciting way. 

    In short, the opening to any story promises the reader a sense of fulfillment.



  7. How do I get beta readers?
    How do I get beta readers?


    You can certainly send a copy of your book to beta reader via email as Zee suggests, but you can also use Google docs to upload a version that you can then point a beta reader to. The advantage of the google.doc route is you can put some controls on the document so the beta reader(s) can comment, but they can't download your document. So it is a little more secure - they don't get a complete copy of your work.


    I'm sure piracy would not be an issue for any of the regulars on this site, but if you have outside beta readers it might be safer.

  8. Can you quote info from Google in a book?
    Can you quote info from Google in a book?

    Hmmm...I don't think I'd fool around with Google. Why not just rewrite it a little.

  9. New Christian Science Fiction Published
    New Christian Science Fiction Published

    Ron Grasmick and I just published a new Christian science fiction book entitled The Jesus Road II.  It's up at Amazon now.  Wish us luck on sales!



    Jesus Road Vol II with Ron for website.jpg

  10. Reading Your Old Writing
    Reading Your Old Writing

    Bringing this thread back to life for this gem:


    Which Tony Stark(s) best describe your reaction when you read your old writing? 😬😂 Mine is 4 and 7.



    tony face.jpg

  11. Film-Related Question
    Film-Related Question

    Does anyone know if you can photoshop with videos? I'm trying a free trail of Adobe and I'm a little lost. Free trail ends next week so help is appreciated. :)

  12. It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day
    It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day

    Thought this song was fitting for this time. 



  13. Killing your darlings
    Killing your darlings

    OK, I am sure we all have our own heart-rendering story of having to ditch scenes we have written. So  I am interested to know how people cope with it and why they felt they had to ditch the scene.


    I'll go first.

    This is very recent. In fact today I was working on the plot line for the 2nd part of Granny Annie. I had in mind to have the scene of Cora being reunited with her loved one in a 'heaven'.   (I posted a while back)


    It is going to have to go - because I want to bring things full circle with the end back to Demons.  I won't tell what I have done, but I have drafted a different ending which is going to more suitable but Oh, it hurts😢

  14. Book Reviews
    Book Reviews

    Yes, Sarah, please do!

  15. Out of Touch - Funny!
    Out of Touch - Funny!

    Ran across this hilarious gem:



  16. One Word Theme
    One Word Theme

    That's a nice adaptation of what Johne had to say, Zee.  Forgiveness is a great theme.  And nice answer, Jared.  And Shamrock, I don't believe that was not deliberate!

  17. Today's virus giggle
    Today's virus giggle

    Saw another good one:




    I feel like this is played out at all supermarkets these days!

  18. Character Name Help
    Character Name Help

    I just discovered (Sorry, Johne, I'm a little slow) that Scrivener has a name generator! Male/female and several nationalities.

  19. Majority of authors `hear` their characters speak
    Majority of authors `hear` their characters speak

    My characters often speak to me. They usually say something like: "Seriously? That's my dialog? Who says things like that? Please write me better or find someone who can!" 😒



  20. I would like to help-especially as proofreader
    I would like to help-especially as proofreader


    Hello everyone,


    I am willing to help within this writing community! I would like I want you to know that I am not a professional writer by any means, though trying to become one,. However, I would like to help anyone if I can! I am very meticulous in the work that I do and I absolutely love to proofread and edit! I believe  I can complete other writing tasks successfully. I have posted a couple of writing samples on here though a while back. I would really appreciate any experience that I can gain here! 


    Thank you,



  21. Today's virus giggle
    Today's virus giggle


  22. Oxford Comma Required by Law!!!!
    Oxford Comma Required by Law!!!!


  23. 7 Classic Opening Page Mistakes
    7 Classic Opening Page Mistakes
    41 minutes ago, Johne said:

    I'll call and see you: my WIP begins with someone waking up with amnesia.


    Ooh, and imagine if that person woke up in the hospital. Trifecta!  :D


    Now you've got me thinking of how to use all seven at once.  A person having a meltdown at a doctor in a hospital, the POV rapidly shifting between the doctor, patient, and nurses, all being named (of course), but not much is revealed about anyone, and the hospital is on a different planet (with five moons). Then the scene abruptly ends as the person wakes up. But which person from the dream is it? 🤪    

  24. Google Translate Songs
    Google Translate Songs

    For some reason, the post of the video of the computer generated country song reminded me of Malinda on youtube, who takes songs through google translate and then sings the retranslated song. They can be absolutely hilarious. She's done a lot of them, just search "Disney google translate song" and she should show up. 


    here's one of my favorites.




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