Ask Dan ANYTHING!

dan
your humble host
Each week we’re taking five, maybe ten, of YOUR writerly questions and setting about answering them for you. When this post appears, get your questions in QUICKLY via the “comments” section below.

Simple enough, right?

Ask Dan ANYTHING

Well, maybe.

See, a lot of you don’t know what you don’t know, and some of you know things others don’t; so the idea is for you – and I mean YOU – to just ASK the questions you have and let’s get the ball rolling. Skill level doesn’t matter. Newbie writer, veteran writer, you have questions. I’ll opine; maybe some others will chime in with their thoughts, and hopefully YOU will get several good solutions to choose from.

Or something like that.

  • Wanna know what dialogue tags are, and why you don’t want them in your story?

  • Wanna know how to create a “page turner” story?

  • Wanna know why you need to build an author platform?

And it doesn’t have to be directly writing related. Sometimes you need to get in the writing mood by NOT doing writer stuff. Maybe you wanna know about doing author events, but maybe you wanna know about public speaking, or… I don’t know; the London train system. (I had some trouble there, if you’ll recall.)

Or why so much of Europe requires you to pay to pee…

 

I don’t want to suggest ideas TO you, I wanna know what’s on YOUR mind.

What are YOU struggling with?

So ask.

Ask me anything.

We have lots of smart people here; if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. Or I’ll make something up.

Go ahead, you know you want to.

ASK ME ANYTHING!

Post your questions in the comment section below. I’ll answer the first 3, maybe more – so don’t goof off. Post your question NOW!

.

danDan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious romantic comedy “Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure.” 

Click HERE to get your copy of Poggi FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Also available in paperback.

 

12 thoughts on “Ask Dan ANYTHING!

  1. What I’m struggling with and always have is tense. Keeping it all in the one tense. e.g. “The girl lost the ball.” or “The girl is losing the ball.” Is the second present tense and the first past tense. Help…..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ooh, that’s a good one.

      On occasion, I struggle with that too, if it’s any consolation.

      In my case, in the first draft I just worry about telling the story. My subsequent passes are about tightening the story up and making sure it moves quickly, make sure I have a page turner. Make sure my characters are interesting and my dialogue is witty and snappy. That everything moves at a quick pace – but not too quickly!

      On my first novel, The Navigators, the final draft had a few issues with tense. Typically I float along in the same tense and then occasionally slipped into a different one. For example, I’m writing in first person but I’m writing past tense. And then every once in a while I’ll make a slip and say something kind of in real time so it’s present tense.

      Lucky for me I have a critique partner who that stuff jumps off of the page at. So with so it’s her little quirk that she catches those things almost immediately. They drive her crazy so she can’t not see them.

      When she finds one, she explains you can’t say it like this, I have to say it like that.

      And as you change a few dozen of those you begin to see where the mistake is. It’s in your phrasing, you’re comfortable way of speaking.

      Anyway, after you fix enough of them, you you start to see it and then when you start to write them you see it yourself in the first draft or second.

      Like a game, the more you do it the better you get at it.

      And so after a few novels you will do it hardly at all. But again, having a really good critique partner who is ultra aware of those things is a godsend.

      Finally, you have to use one over arching rule: whatever works best for the story, that’s what you go with. So whether it’s occasionally letting the tense slip because it just reads better that way, or any other kind of issue, grammar or whatever, if it makes the story read easier, that overrides every other rule.

      But a helpful critique partner who can spot them – where do you find such a helpful person,?

      I found mine in a critique group, but you could just as easily put a few notes to your beta readers and say, among the other things you look for would you mind keeping an eye out for slips in tense?

      Also, if you know you’re supposed to be writng in present tense, then you can do a word search for verbs that are past tense.

      Those should help catch most of them! Good luck! Hope that helps.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Is it too late to ask a question? If not, here goes…I have seen authors publish books with a compilation of short stories. Is this a good place to start as a writer, and how would one go about doing that? Should there be a common theme to each story?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are almost no wrong answers to this question!

      Some authors will write a series of short stories and put it out as a book. I often recommend when an author puts a novel that they follow it up as quickly as possible with as many other titles as possible. What’s wrong with doing three or four short stories published as books? More titles is more titles, and as long as you clearly identify that they’re short stories (and charge accordingly), there should be no issues. Maybe the short stories are free so people can sample your writing on the way to buy your book.

      Similarly, sometimes authors to get together with other authors and 10-20 or so will contribute a short story into an anthology that they publish. (We will be doing some of that either later this year or throughout next year.)

      In either case, there could be a theme or not. Typically anthologies have a theme, whether it’s science fiction or romance or whatever, but they don’t have to.

      The reason the anthologies by multiple authors are good is because you have multiple people marketing them, and each author hopes that one of the other author’s fans will sample something by someone else and have a new author they’ll enjoy.

      If you create a book of short stories that have no common theme, there is still a common theme. You. Your attempt at horror or your attempt at suspense or mystery or romance – if somebody likes your storytelling style, they might enjoy seeing you try it out in different venues. People here on the blog have definitely seen me try that from time to time.

      So again, no wrong answers and many ways to go forward, all of them good!

      If you decide to go that route, let us know so we can grab a copy when it’s available!

      Liked by 2 people

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