Is it bad practice to use “ahem” in dialogue?

Asked by: Dan Dindul

It honestly depends on the writing style. Does the character clear their throat a lot? If so, I’d suggest writing out, “ahem.” If not, I would go with, “[character] cleared their throat.” If your character clears their throat a lot, a good example of how to write that would be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

How do you practice good dialogue?

How To Write Better Dialogue: 3 ways to practice and 2 common…

  1. Exercise #1: Transcribe and edit conversations.
  2. Exercise #2: Write down pieces of dialogue you love.
  3. Exercise #3: Study screenwriting.
  4. Mistake #1: Overusing dramatic dialogue tags and underutilizing action beats.

What makes a dialogue dramatic?

Dramatic dialogue relies on emphasis to create the right effect for the reader. Shorter dialogue structure is very effective for creating drama, tension and conflict, rather than long, boring monologues. Dialogue should carry emotion and vulnerability and reflect the kind of scenes you’re writing.

What is effective use of dialogue?

Dialogue can help you establish the backstory, and it can reveal important plot details that the reader may not know about yet. Dialogue is great for ratcheting up the tension between characters. Dialogue can also establish the mood. By playing off characters’ verbal exchanges, you can set an atmosphere for each scene.

What should be avoided in dialogue writing?

10 Dialogue Errors Writers Should Avoid

  • Stilted exchanges – Your dialogue may not sound natural. …
  • Similar voices – Make sure that each character has a distinct voice. …
  • Small talk – This ‘filler’ dialogue does not advance the plot or our understanding of the characters.
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What is a dialogue exercise?

Dialogue exercises are a great way to strengthen your ability to listen to your characters. When you’re working on dialogue exercises, you’re not worrying about plot or where the scene’s headed. You’re not distracted by furniture or waiters or sunsets.

How do I stop cheesy dialogue?

In a quick back-and-forth, you don’t need to tag every sentence. Unless there are more than two characters speaking. Then your dialogue gets trickier.



5 Tips for Cheeseless Dialogue

  1. Contractions. …
  2. Name Calling. …
  3. Improper Punctuation. …
  4. Speaking of Tags. …
  5. Who Said What?


How do you write bad dialogue?


So keep that in mind there should be some higher stakes beneath the spoken words in your dialogue.

How do you write more realistic dialogue?

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Realistic Dialogue

  1. DO read your dialogue out loud. …
  2. DON’T use empty words. …
  3. DO listen to conversations of people with similar backgrounds as your character. …
  4. DON’T make dialogue difficult to read, especially in children’s literature. …
  5. DO use dialogue as a tool for “showing” and not “telling”.

How do you make a dialogue feel and sound natural?

Features of Natural Dialogue

  1. Think of dialogue as action, not narrative. Dialogue should do what great actions scenes do—move the story along and engage the reader. …
  2. Let your dialogue reveal character. …
  3. Don’t reveal everything in your dialogue. …
  4. Let your dialogue have natural starts and stops.


How can I write better?

8 Tips for Improving Your Writing Style

  1. Be direct in your writing. Good writing is clear and concise. …
  2. Choose your words wisely. …
  3. Short sentences are more powerful than long sentences. …
  4. Write short paragraphs. …
  5. Always use the active voice. …
  6. Review and edit your work. …
  7. Use a natural, conversational tone. …
  8. Read famous authors.
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What is an authentic dialogue?

Authentic dialogue is defined as open and honest conversations that abide by the Habermas speech conditions in which fair exchanges of thoughts lead to detecting and correcting errors (or reconciling differences) amongst engaged actors.

What is literary dialog?

As a current literary device, dialogue refers to spoken lines by characters in a story that serve many functions such as adding context to a narrative, establishing voice and tone, or setting forth conflict. Writers utilize dialogue as a means to demonstrate communication between two characters.

What attitude or behavior describes authentic dialogue?

Authentic dialogue enables individuals to acknowledge that they each are part of a greater whole, that they naturally resonate with others within this whole, and that the whole is, indeed, greater than the sum of its various parts.