your humble host

Each week we’re taking five, maybe ten, of YOUR writerly questions and setting about answering them for you. 


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.


Post your questions in the comment section below. I’ll answer the first five, maybe the first ten – 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.

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 50+ titles published in more than 120 countries and over a dozen languages.

15 thoughts on “Ask Dan ANYTHING

  1. “Wanna know what dialogue tags are, and why you don’t want them in your story?”
    Now there’s question which hooked me straight away.
    My answers being:
    1. Yes please. What are they?
    2. If they are roaming in my current book project I would like to know if they needed to be herded out.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Ginger asked this on August 4, 2017. Here was my reply:

          Dialogue tags are when somebody says a line of speech and then we attribute it to them.

          “Where is Joe?” Susie asked.

          “Joe is in Spain,” Bill said.

          All the times when we say he said, she said, he wondered, she asked – those are dialogue tags.

          Why are they evil?

          They aren’t. But when we see quotation marks, we know somebody is speaking. If we see any kind of action attributed to a person that is attached to that dialogue, then we know that’s the person speaking.

          Susie scratched her nose. “Where is Joe?”


          Because we have the dialogue attached to Susie’s action, we know she is the one who said it.

          Each new speaker’s dialogue gets a new paragraph, too.

          Sometimes if there’s just two people talking, you don’t necessarily need to identify them each and every time. You certainly don’t want a back-and-forth like I just showed you.

          You also don’t want them sitting around doing nothing. People move and react when they speak and when they hear someone speaking to them.

          If your mom screamed your name in anger from the kitchen window when you were in the back yard, you may have jumped. She may have cupped her hands around her mouth to shout the words. All the little things that people do like scratch their head or furrow their eyebrows or nod or rub the back of their neck, those are actions – call beats – that allow the author to explain what’s going on in the story and help set the scene or the mood while not wasting words.

          So instead of saying words like he said or she asked, you can put in actions like the ones I just described that basically show the reader the character is questioning something or puzzled by something or disturbed by something.

          By the way, question marks at the end of a quote are dead giveaways that somebody asked, after all.

          And the biggest reason not to use dialogue tags because most readers skip them.

          Readers are smart.

          They get it.

          And by showing more and telling less, which is basically what a dialogue tag is, we allow the reader to become more immersed in the story, which makes it harder to put down and more of what everybody calls a page turner.

          You want that.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks so much for going to that trouble Dan.
            Now I get it!
            I must have read this and forgotten the title ‘dialogue tag’, because the advice now registers in my memory and has been utilised in my re-writes.
            Not perfect by any means, but …y’know-
            getting there.
            After all these years taking seriously the approaching to writing and how a reader might see the work!…Yea!!
            Thanks again.

            Liked by 1 person

                1. It’s not Google anymore, it’s YouTube Live, but it’s what took over from Google On Air and Google Hangouts. if you try to use Google On Air it’ll send you to YouTube Live – but it’s the same thing. It’s all free, too, which is nice.

                  When I did the show with Jenny and Allison, we started with Google On Air and switched to YouTube Live because we had to; they switched us – but I was still able to edit the videos and then post them.

                  Liked by 1 person

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