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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

  • Rank
    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. When Computers Compose Country Music...
    When Computers Compose Country Music...

    I heard about this on an old Joanna Penn podcast where she was discussing the intersection between artificial intelligence and creativity. Apparently computer geeks trained an algorithm with various parameters from country music, then set it loose to compose a song -- lyrics and melody. This was the result, performed by human musicians.



  2. Predator Alert - Avoid Elm Hill Books
    Predator Alert - Avoid Elm Hill Books

    Katherine Coble wrote ":Elm Hill Books is a vanity press targeting Christian authors. Avoid avoid avoid. The anger I have at these men for doing this is...so much. They’re Christians taking advantage of the naïveté of other Christians. Expensive advantage."

  3. Spoonerisms - a bit of fun!
    Spoonerisms - a bit of fun!

    They can be annoying when they aren't desired, but they can also be so much fun! A spoonerism is where you switch (purposefully or most likely accidentally) the first letter(s) of one word with the first letter(s) of another word within a sentence. For instance, I once came home from a walk in the park and told my family I had seen a duck and a bow (instead of a buck and a doe). Here's perhaps the funniest story I've heard, all in spoonerisms. 






  4. A Great Writing Resource!
    A Great Writing Resource!

    I've been binge watching/listening to a Youtube channel and a good part of it is dedicated toward educating authors.  Here's a link to the writing-specific playlist that has been compiled by Hello Future Me.  The latest one has shown up when I embedded the first one.  All great!





  5. How To Avoid Writing A Dull Series
    How To Avoid Writing A Dull Series

    David Farland writes about how to write a trilogy which gets better with each new book.



    I've had many people ask, "how do I write a trilogy that gets better with time, not one that disappoints?”

    The answer to that is pretty complex but here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

    1. Give the reader what you promised at the opening of your series.

    Every opening makes some promises to the readers. For example, if your protagonist in the novel is Harry Potter, then the last book shouldn’t belong to Hermione or Dumbledore. Yet a lot of writers get bored with their protagonist and will try to switch to someone new, hoping to increase interest. You can’t do that and hold your audience in most cases.

    As Tom Doherty, the President of Tor put it, your story should have a “persistent character in a persistent world.” What that means is that you are not only telling the story for the same character (or sometimes a group of characters), but you are also setting it in the same world. So if your protagonist starts off in a fantasy world in book one, you can’t switch to a science fiction world in the second book.

    But there’s a third element to the promise you make in your story: your conflicts. If in the first book you promise that this is going to be a mystery, then in each of the novels the mystery needs to deepen, the consequences need to be more engrossing and earth-shattering. You can’t just solve the mystery in book one and then move to romantic conflicts or an adventure. Your mystery readers will typically get bored, and the romance readers or thriller readers out there won’t want to read through a mystery novel to get to the good stuff. Yet I see writers make this same mistake over and over.

    2. Escalate. Escalate. Escalate—with each book.

    What this means to you is that when you begin plotting your novel, you have to make sure that the conflicts are complex enough to support the character’s overall story arc through all three books. For example, let’s say that you want to write a fantasy, and you begin to tell the story of a young man who goes to battle with an undead king. You can’t have him overcome that undead king in book two and have nothing left to do in book three. Yet I’ve seen the equivalent done by inexperienced authors.

    That means that you have to develop a complex plot that deepens and broadens with each succeeding novel. By “deepening,” I mean that as the protagonist goes through conflict, he discovers that they affect him more profoundly than he would imagine, in unexpected ways. By “broadening” I mean that the protagonist’s family, friends, community, and perhaps even the whole world becomes embroiled in the overall conflict. (See the topic “Deepening” and “Broadening” in my book Million Dollar Outlines.)

    Most likely, as your plot deepens and broadens, you’re going to discover that your protagonist is going to discover secondary and tertiary conflicts that you will have to deal with. For example, let’s take our young protagonist fighting the wizard king. As he does battle with the king, what if he discovers that the king has a daughter that he loves, a girl his age, who is nothing like the evil spawn that one might imagine. What if he meets her accidentally and even falls in love? Now you’ve got a romantic entanglement that you have to deal with. Or maybe he discovers deeper personal conflicts. Perhaps like most young people he is terrified of death and is secretly drawn to the wizard king’s apparent power over death until he has to make peace with his own feelings about it. Or maybe there is a social conflict that he needs to explore. For example, we might have a society where wizards are respected for their magical powers so greatly, that he as a non-wizard is considered a second-rate upstart, unworthy of challenging the wizard.

    3. Find the right breakpoints and look for satisfying conclusions.

    With each of your novels, you’re going to discover that there are natural “breakpoints,” good places to end. For instance, perhaps in book one our young protagonist has his first epic battle against the wizard king and his men are routed, but in the process of being routed, he falls in love with a young woman that he tries to rescue, only to discover that she is the daughter of his enemy. At this point, we have the ending of one “try/fail” cycle, but also introduce an interesting new complication. This makes a pretty natural breaking point for book one. Later, as the young protagonist has to defend himself from retaliation by the wizard king, and his lands are overrun while his friends are killed and “converted” to the wizard’s army of undead, that might make a good place to end the second book.

    Then of course, “All is well that ends well,” as Shakespeare put it. A series has to come to an ending that is both profound and emotionally satisfying so that the conflicts are resolved, and we bring the characters' lives to a new state of enlightenment and peace.

    This is hard for most new writers. You need to learn to pace the story at a series of length. A lot of new writers who are used to writing short stories, for example, might find it difficult to develop a story at a stately pace. They’re so used to sprinting, that they can’t run a longer race. For example, when I wrote the novel In the Company of Angels, I wanted to write an ending that would keep the reader in tears for fifty pages. I teased out the conflicts with various characters in order to make each scene as emotionally powerful as possible. After I finished, I got complaints from my editor saying that they couldn’t edit it because they were crying too much. I gave the book to my wife in manuscript format and watched her read part of it. I noticed her sniffling on page 250 of a 500-page manuscript and stay in tears until the end. The novel went on to win the Whitney Award for the best book of the year. But really, I think that until that book, I hadn’t really learned to write a powerful ending. I felt that I’d mastered openings pretty well, but had to learn how to end well.

    4. Just as your conflicts must grow and escalate, your reader’s satisfaction needs to escalate with each book.

    Here’s a simple rule: Make every book that you write better than the last. This forces you to grow as a stylist and a storyteller with every single book. If you can do that, you’ll just keep on satisfying your fans.



  6. You're My Everything (song)
    You're My Everything (song)


  7. Some Ideas Practically Write Themselves
    Some Ideas Practically Write Themselves

    The sudden and tragic end of the saga.image.png.71a4751b21083b41b6d814ca0b774b1c.png

  8. Virtual Reality Meets Christain Rock Band (and Starwars!)
    Virtual Reality Meets Christain Rock Band (and Starwars!)

    If they would have had one of these when I was a kid, I would have gotten into video games. 😄



  9. Another dangerous challenge
    Another dangerous challenge
    15 hours ago, Wes B said:

    There are lots of kids who just wanna make sparks (I won't describe some of the things we did in college, but we were engineering students, and both a little more creative, and a little more conscious of potential consequences...) Nowadays, in many places the kids can't even buy sparklers, so instead of giving them the opportunity to burn their fingies, they'll find ways to burn down entire buildings...

    My dad was as straight-laced and conservative as a father could get. A chemical engineer. He was also smart enough to skip a couple of grades in school, so he was in Syracuse U. when he was 16. (And before his teenage growth spurt, at first.) Two stories he was willing to tell about his college years.

    -- Instead of studying for tests, he'd spend all night playing Bridge.

    -- The toilets on three floors in the science building exploded from something he threw in them.


    Could not get him to tell any of us what.


    Then again, he knew us when we were kids, so I can't blame him at all. (Five kids spending all their money from one weekly allowance on gun caps can blow up a large can of coffee 3-4 stories high. Ten kids saving up for five weeks can blow up a metal garbage can half as high. Both projectiles were flat when they came back to earth. The corner store stopped selling gun caps that week.)

  10. Do You Have An Internal Monologue?
    Do You Have An Internal Monologue?
    58 minutes ago, Johne said:

    If I rarely participate in internal monologue myself, listening to someone else's internal monologue is pretty much torment.

    I actually don't like it for the opposite reason. I have an internal monologue, and I don't want somebody else invading my head. When I read first person present, my thought process is like this:


    Book Text: I fling the door open and rush into the room.

    Me thinking in my head: No, I don't. I'm sitting in my armchair reading this book.

    Book Text: I rush to Edward and cry, "My darling! I've missed you so much!"

    Me thinking in my head: I do no such thing. Edward is an idiot and I'd never look twice at him.


    I find myself arguing against what the narrator says because it's not me, and they're trying to make me feel like it is me. They're stealing my thought channels! :D

  11. Cute baby stuff! 💜
    Cute baby stuff! 💜












  12. Do you have sesquipedalian tendencies?
    Do you have sesquipedalian tendencies?

    Me no use long word.  Me like short word.

  13. How many pages?
    How many pages?


  14. Has anyone done this?
    Has anyone done this?

    This post (https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/7-essential-guidelines-for-writing-in-first-person/) says:



    The first person, present tense combination has proven effective for many authors, and is particularly common in the world of young adult fiction. This combination lends a sense of immediacy and urgency to the story, so it's well-suited to fast-paced stories with high stakes and lots of action.


    A quick survey of internet articles has some experienced authors saying they would never attempt it, while others are fearless. 


    I have written in third person limited and first person, but always in past tense. I save fanciness for dialogue and interior monologue.


    For my current WIP, I decided to make my narrator an enchanted, mind-reading pendant with his own agenda. He is attached to a necklace and is passed from character to character, enabling him to see the action from different angles. "Peter Pendant" is not above using a little mind control to reach his goal, but his ability is hampered by amnesia - he has forgotten his mission! Playing with narrative structure is fun.



  15. Name ideas?
    Name ideas?

    I am working on edits and a few other things. I have come to the decision I want to keep my series with a theme. In this case, I want the series to end in az or za. I plan to rename my whole McAlester Clan to this so that each book can follow a different person inside of the clan. Does anyone have any ideas for some good clan names that end in az or za? Thank you all! 😊 

  16. How To Build Tension In A Scene
    How To Build Tension In A Scene

    You've probably heard that conflict drives story. (Orson Scott Card modifies this to 'suffering drives story,' but you get the point.) Tension is at the heart of both and is a major force of Narrative Drive. Here's how to ratchet up the tension in your writing.



    Now that the holidays are over, chances are good that you’ve had to make a return. Whether it was a sweater in the wrong size or a gadget you already owned, returns and exchanges are a regular part of post-holiday stress. If you’ve ever worked in retail, you’ve experienced the extended hours, disgruntled shoppers, and high tensions all around.

    Returns can escalate that tension. Sounds like perfect inspiration for fiction. 

    The Tension of Retail

    In college, I worked full-time in a clothing store. Holidays were busy, requiring longer hours, more inventory turnover, and additional customer service. While the fast pace often made the time pass quickly, the constant demands created a tense environment on many days. Even once the major event passed, there was still the matter of clean up, markdowns, and returns. 

    So many returns.

    And so many stories about why an item needed to be returned, why there wasn’t a receipt, and why they needed me to make an exception to our policy for them. All while people in the growing line fidgeted, sighed, or became belligerent. 

    You’ve probably been witness to a scene like this one, too. I thought it might make a great prompt to practice writing tension.

    3 Tools to Maximize Tension

    Tension is caused when something is stretched tight, when there are opposing forces pulling in opposite directions. To create tension in our scenes, we can use three elements found in any store return: opposing goals, stakes, and time.

    1. Opposing Goals

    In a retail return, ideally the opposing goals are minimized by the return policy. The business wants to make money or minimize loss. The customer wants to get an item they want or their money back. Those goals don’t have to be in conflict, but they often are, especially when one party feels strongly about what they are owed.

    I once had a woman trying to return a pair of shoes. We didn’t sell shoes. She insisted she’d bought them from us, demanded the manager (I was the manager), and left in a huff shouting that she’d never shop with us again.

    Think about a book or film you’ve watched recently and see if you can’t find characters with opposing goals. They are almost always present: the parents who want one life for their daughter while she pursues another, the detective trying to uncover the truth a murderer is trying to hide, or the man who falls in love with his best friend while she pursues someone else. Opposing goals.

    2. Stakes

    This might go without saying, but if the opposing goals don’t matter to the characters, then the tension is lost. To increase the tension, raise the stakes. 

    In my literature classes, students often ask why so much of what we read seems to be about death. An insightful student observed, “Because isn’t that the point? We’re all trying to avoid death.”

    He was right, but stakes don’t have to be life or death. The stakes need to be something the character deeply cares about. The challenge is helping the reader understand why those stakes are so important. 

    If my attempted shoe return had been a scene in a story, I would need to establish why receiving a cash refund for those shoes was worth a public spectacle to this woman. Why this store? Why these shoes? 

    If she’s trying to win a bet, those are different stakes than if she’s trying to feed a family. Decide which stakes are right for your story and character.

    3. Time

    Finally, the manipulation of time can increase tension. Sometimes tension is caused by having a deadline, like a bomb counting down, the characters racing against the clock. Keeping two potential lovers at odds over time creates tension.

    Or you can make people wait for someone else, as in our retail example, where the protracted time is inefficient and irritating. 

    Consider the role time will play in escalating the tension in your story, and use it to build suspense or conflict.

    The Tension of a Good Story

    Many of my retail experiences were, in fact, pretty minor. They felt intense in the moment, and they even make fun anecdotes to tell at parties. But the stakes were too low, or the goals were too similar, or the time pressures were too mild for me to write an entire novel based off of one encounter.

    Your challenge as a writer is to take these three tools for how to build tension in a scene and use them to create scenes where your characters—and by extension, your readers—must face tension.

    Then again, you might be surprised at the variety of ways people experienced these tensions when standing in line for returns. Could you turn a retail experience into a novel?



  17. Necessary Ingredients for Romance
    Necessary Ingredients for Romance

    May I add that readers everywhere are thankful that I DON'T write romance novels, at least after my first attempt: ;)



  18. Is writing fiction a sin?
    Is writing fiction a sin?

    Fun fact: one of my dogs' great-great-great (not sure how many greats) grandfather (I think) was in a Disney film.

  19. Necessary Ingredients for Romance
    Necessary Ingredients for Romance

    This might help, since Hallmark Christmas movies tend to plot the same. ;)



  20. Is writing fiction a sin?
    Is writing fiction a sin?
    6 minutes ago, Sarah Daffy said:

    Fun fact: one of my dogs' great-great-great (not sure how many greats) grandfather (I think) was in a Disney film.

    WOW, THAT'S SO COOL!! 😳😃😃

  21. Time Period Help
    Time Period Help

    Does anyone know what children wore to auditions in the 1950s? I'm writing a short story in that time period and am having trouble with what they wore. Thanks in advance.

  22. Why the "Skull"?
    Why the "Skull"?





    Teddy L. Desta





    Carrying His own cross, He went out to The place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle. ” John 19: 17-18


    They crucified Jesus at a place called Golgotha (in Hebrew) or Calvary (in Latin). The translation of the name means the Skull. Then we have to ask: Why did God choose this place with a strange shape, and therefore with a strange name? It cannot be a mere accident or coincidence that the place be called the Skull to reverse the fall of mankind. If not by accident or coincidence, then what is the reason for God to choose, of all places, a place called the Skull for the greatest event in human history? 



    Back to Eden

    From the beginning, God planned that man should always live in His presence, always listening to His voice and responding to His commands. But as we read in Genesis chapter 3, the first man, Adam, disobeyed God’s commandment by virtually seeking an independent life free from God’s voice. When Adam, deceived by the devil, ate the fruit from the forbidden tree of the knowledge-of-good-and-evil, he became wise-in-his-own-eyes.  The consequence of Adam’s disobedience was severe. Because of Adam’s original sin of rebellion, God cursed the earth. God banished Adam from His presence, kicking him out of the Garden of Eden. The earth fell under God’s curse. Man became alienated being on earth. Satan, instead of man, became the ruler of this world. Sin, sickness, decay, and death became the new normal on earth.


    Worse still Adam’s disobedience introduced a sin-nature into the human race. Mankind is born with the perpetual inclination to rebel against the will of God, with the bent to choose the evil over the good.  The sin-nature became the source of strife among the human family and the cause of the wrath of God on wicked communities.  Adam’s choice to be wise in-his-own-eyes became mankind’s undoing.  



    Forward to the Future

    The good news in the midst of the gloom-and-doom of the fall is that same day God has made a promise of redemption. God’s promise, as progressively revealed, was designed to undo the sin-nature to restore mankind back to Himself. Keeping the promise, in the fullness of time, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ into the world (Gal. 4:4).  Jesus, through a life of total obedience and submission to the will of God, was sent to achieve the complete antidote to Adam’s disobedience and its dire consequences.


    God sent Jesus to pay fully for the original sin of Adam (i.e., atonement), to take out the sin nature from man’s heart (i.e., sanctification), to remove the curse from the earth (i.e., restoration), and to bring mankind into full fellowship with God (i.e., infill with the Holy Spirit). Discerning God’s way to achieve these goals holds the key to understanding the mystical meaning of the cross and Golgotha. Unlike Adam’s choice of autonomy, Jesus’ life was the opposite.  Total surrender and submission to the will of God marked Jesus’ life. It became God’s will if by one man’s (namely, Adam’s) disobedience sin, death, and pain entered the world, that the obedience of another man (namely, Jesus Christ) provide the antidote for their removal from the world (Rom. 5:19).  That God will defeat the devil at its own game, made Jesus’ life, starting from His birth in a manager total surrender and submission to mark to His death on a rugged cross to God’s will.  


    “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no           reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Phil 2: 7-8


    It is clear now that God’s design was to defeat the devil by his own devices. Jesus took it back from the devil living a life of full surrender and obedience to the will of God. 



    The Cross on Golgotha 

    As the ultimate sign of His total surrender to His Father’s will, Jesus embraced death by crucifixion. To do the will of God, Jesus showed a readiness to be spat upon, flogged, stripped naked, and nailed to a rugged cross.  Jesus did not defend Himself in the face of blatant lies.  He refused under intense provocations to vindicate Himself.  He remained on display—naked—on the cross, while the citizens of Jerusalem looked at Him the full day. Because of the manner of His death, according to their customs, the Jews considered Him cursed of God and the Romans as one of the worst criminals they have to deal with.


    The place where God made His Son to die, Golgotha (also known in Latin as Calvary), is not accidental. The name means the skull, and as the result it carries a deep spiritual meaning.  This name God purposefully selected to underline the original sin, the sin of rebellion against the will of God, and what it takes to reverse the fall from grace and restore humanity to full fellowship with Himself. 


    To atone for original sin and to achieve the total reversal of its consequences, Jesus surrendered His will by agreeing to go the path of crucifixion, to die on a hill called, the Skull. That day, Jesus, metaphorically, became the Skull as He emptied Himself of the self. In submitting to a humiliating and agonizing death on the cross, Jesus has to empty His mind of the self-centered mindset, as He has to get rid off of rationality, self-preservation, and self-respect, etc.  By emptying His head, Jesus, hence, became a skull of sorts in the eyes of his enemies and friends. When, thus, Jesus let God’s will take over completely in His life, He passed the test of obedience to God’s will.  To reverse the original sin of Adam, which is disobedience, we see Jesus accepting God’s will, how bitter and painful it might have been.


    Calvary became the place where Jesus, by totally surrendering His will to the Father’s will, reversed the Fall. At Calvary, God dethroned the self and enthroned the Holy Spirit in the heart of man. Jesus’ through an act of obedience that led to His death, He opened the way for the Holy Spirit to come and indwell the heart of man.

    Jesus atoned for the original sin, satisfying the demands of a just God. His death provided a remedy for the sin-nature, providing full access to Grace that will help people to live a holy and surrendered life. The devil ensnared Adam presenting him with the Lie, making him disobey God. God used Jesus to reclaim for humanity which the devil has stolen. But Jesus’ life was also a pattern for others to follow. 



    Jesus Our Pattern

    Jesus’ life was also an exemplar for total submission and obedience to God’s voice and Word.  Jesus has now made possible the way back to the full presence of God which Adam had lost for his progeny.  Jesus’ life on earth set a pattern how to live a surrendered life that is pleasing to God. For example, Jesus followed only what He saw His father in Heaven was doing (Jn. 5:19). To do the Father’s will was His sole pleasure (Jn. 32-34).  


    Jesus, through His life of total surrender and submission, reversed not only the Fall but also created a pattern of life for the children of God to emulate and follow (Phil 2:5, Heb 12;1-2, 1 Pet 2:21).  Hence, the Spirit of God will  say to us. It is this pattern of the life of utter surrender and obedience to the will of God that the Holy Spirit emphasizes today, saying: 



    My people, in your day, I AM also looking for those who willingly will go the road of the SKULL.


    I AM looking for an Isaiah who said “Yes” to My order. He walked naked and bare-footed for three years to obey My voice. He despised the shame for the sake of His God.    


    I AM looking for a Hosea who obeying My Voice married a woman of no-repute. He allowed Me to prophecy to Israel through his act. He was ready to be counted among the transgressors for My sake. 


    I AM looking for a Jeremiah who said "Yes" to wear a yoke of iron for many days before My people. He was ready, obeying My voice, to buy some real estate when all round him was only war and terror. He was prepared to be called an idiot for My sake.


    I AM looking for an Ezekiel who was ready to lay at the public square for more than a year, starving himself by eating the ration of famine. He did not shy away from the shame of being called a lunatic for My sake. 


    I AM looking someone like the Virgin from Nazareth. Mary let her LORD to form the Messiah in her womb. She shunned death by stoning when she said “Yes” to her God.  She was not ashamed or afraid to stand by the cross of her Son. From the outset she allowed the Sword of God to cleave her heart. She negated her will for My will.


    Today, I AM looking for servants who will gladly embrace the shame and the rejection of their age for My sake. Yes, I AM looking for those who will go for Me all the way to the place of the SKULL.  Yes, I AM looking for those who for the joy set before them will despise the shame and carry their cross outside the gate. To them I will give an imperishable name. To these shall belong the glory and the power of the kingdom—forever.


    “I  saw the souls of them that were beheaded (=head-less) for the witness of  Jesus, and for the  word of God, which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”  Rev 20: 4







  23. The Struggle Is Real
    The Struggle Is Real


  24. Lights fun!
    Lights fun!


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