Here is what I have learned by reading advice from writing teachers.
1. Never use italics
2. Italics are good
3. Find different words for ‘said,’ e.g.,growl, whimper, hiss
4. Said’ is much better than using artificial words, like growl and hiss.
5. Big blocks of text are better that small ones
6. Small blocks of texts are better than big ones
So I am going to listen to what Lori Devoti, my wonderful teacher/editor, says, except when I disagree with her.