How To Write a Monologue – a Guide
Explanation of basic rules how to write a monologue
When you write a monologue script, try keeping it simple and easy. There are various monologues, and each has its specifications regarding presentation and style. Therefore, when writing, those are simple steps to be considered. For example, dramatic monologues are somehow tricky to write as details of characters should be clearly stated. You may write a monologue to add details to the play or to increase the quality of the play overall.
These are the various steps to follow while you write your play:
- Figure out the monologue perspective.
To find that distinct of your character’s voice, the monologue should be written with an angle or the idea of only one voice being superior to the audience or another actor in your play. That is how you give purpose to a monologue; just by focusing on the point of one voice.
Monologues have two important purposes; you either write it to give your weak character in your play that position of expression or to be seen and heard at last or giving that main voice to have their say in a play. The reason for a monologue presentation could be; a story, secret, an answer to a question or an emotional release by a character.
- Determine the purpose of the monologue.
As said earlier, the purpose of a monologue includes; a story, secret, an answer to a question or an emotional release by a character. Determining the monologue’s purpose gives a clear revelation to the audience that can’t be determined via dialogue or through character interaction.
The monologue however done solo should add tension or that emotion to the audience to create liveness or a new insight into an existing issue. This is a major part as it creates that touch of affection from the speaker or character to his or her audience.
For example; if a character does not speak in the first part of the play, it is important for him or her to give an explanation why the play did not involve him in the first part. That serves an important part in the monologue.
- It is also important for you to discover who will be addressed in your monologue.
Framing a monologue involves you figuring out your speaker’s audience or who your character will be specifically addressing in the play. If the speaker will be addressing himself, the better for you as the writer. But mostly the speaker addresses himself or herself in the play. Both of these important details enable you to easily structure your monologue. When a monologue is purposed to address a specific character, this is often considered when the speaker wants to express his or her feelings or thoughts about an experience to the audience.
- The beginning, middle and end of monologue should be considered.
For a monologue to be really good; it’s beginning, middle and end should be distinct. Just like every other story, a monologue should also include aspects like shifting of beginnings to end of stories that should be clear. Every beginning and end of your monologue should be purposed. Here are several ways you can achieve a beautiful monologue;
You can clearly outline your monologue including each stage; the beginning, middle, and the end. Clearly outlining means noting what happens in every stage of your monologue.
Alternatively, you can also write the first and last lines as your beginning and end of your monologue; then you pick from there by building upon your content between to frame ideas and thoughts for the monologue.
- Try going through other monologues.
Just like writing any other piece, writing a monologue requires experience, and were not to find it but to go through already written articles. This gives you a better and wider scope of aspects in monologue writing such as structure and many other things that should be considered.
What is a monologue?
A monologue is described as a solo speech presentation often delivered to express feelings or thoughts out loud or in a play to address another character or audience which in this case is always silent. Monologues are mostly prolonged speeches given by performers such as comedians or actors at theatre stages.
How to start a monologue?
- Get a good hook from your audience.
Getting the audience or listener’s attention is the major aspect to take note while you write a monologue. Try making it as interesting as possible. You don’t want to bore your listeners at the very beginning. Create a flow that is catchy by implementing aspects such as; the right tone of your character in the play, behaviour and language.
The way you kick off at the opening line will set the tone for the rest of your monologue and thus give that connection between your character and his or her audience or listeners.
For instance, you can directly reveal what your monologue is all about. For example, introducing the character as a vengeful person or sympathetic person can set the mood right from the very beginning. In the end, the character’s voice and language are all that matters.
- Character’s language and voice
Writing a good monologue piece involves knowing your main character and building his voice and language to be very distinct and unique. It is all about making him or her the bigger person in your play above anyone else. This character being main, carries the theme, the tone and he or she should be the one which involves the audience. So, it is important to understand your character.
That strong voice in your piece goes ahead in adding interest, colour and perspective in the play and that is why you should make it as catchy as possible.
- Have that past and present reflection on your character.
The present and past events always have an inevitable connection that is always important if it is shown or discussed in the play. You should always achieve that balance on reflection in your monologue. The past events should have that illumination on a detail to the present actions. It is always about using your character’s memory to address a present or an ongoing issue.
- Description and details.
As said earlier, your audience or listeners serve the most important part in your monologue. Writing your monologue means how I should try impressing them. After all, it is for them to judge how poor or best writer you are. And all they rely on is the connection you create between them and the character by twist and turns of events in your character description and details during the play. Drown your audience in the events of your play as much as possible, so long as the events make a lot of sense, your listeners get hooked up and that is the aspect you should try to achieve.
- Include the moment of revelation.
That moment of discovery in your monologue is very important. A moment of revelation could be for the audience or the character and this gives purpose to your monologue. The revelation should also give the bonus to the play, so it gives some contribution to the monologue as a whole.
- Have a clear ending.
Having a clear ending means bringing your thoughts and details to a conclusion. The character in the play should accept an issue or obstacle or make a clear decision about an argument. The audience wants to get the decisive action or conclusive comment from the speaker at the end of the monologue. It always brings that satisfaction.
Monologue writing format – how to use it
Structures of monologues are like those of stories within a story that a character tries to present. They generally have punchlines; that is the beginning, the middle story and of course the conclusion. All those parts in your monologue just like any other screenplay should be catchy and hook your listeners.
You have to build a story they are trying to give to the listeners or set up the action or goal that characters try to achieve. Pepper your monologue with twist and turns, revelations and every line should have the impact the character’s accomplishments or what he or she tries to achieve.
As detailed earlier, every line in your piece must have a purpose. This generally involves the character’s tone or language expression in the play.
If a character yells, screams, cries, stammers or laughs; they must be doing all that for a reason.
Tips of writing a good monologue
- Keep it as short as possible.
First, you should learn about your audience. Get to know the attention span so that during your writing and presentation you can stay within their comfort zone. That is how you will achieve much success on your connection with the listeners.
- Be authentic.
Most of the writers will try collecting their ideas from already written monologues. The tendency to especially steal ideas from those of stars or those of monologues applauded before. The idea is great, but the fact that your audience might probably have heard the same story before, it then creates a different boring picture overall. Plus copying another person’s personality and tone in a play will never be done well. Find a character you like and do your own thing.
- Write an entertaining monologue.
Told you before, in the theatre plays, it is all about impressing the audience. No one in this industry wants to see your character work his ass off trying so hard to impress the listeners. Your monologue should be no mediocre, boring or copied. Choose a monologue that you have got serious passion and we will have the same love as we watch you.
- Find a monologue that fits your every description.
Remember, a monologue generally is a total painting of your behaviour, language, tone and even emotions. A monologue is a time to show who you are. It should not add layers, false description, character traits or something way off to impress people. Doing a monologue play should involve the audience in such a way they don’t even realize you were acting. Avoiding props is the best way; only have those if it is unavoidable.
- Elements of surprise.
This involves aspects such as suspense. Keeping us at the edge of our seats, taking all our concentrations, hooking us with the change of your tones and dramatic moves every time we think of the obvious makes the play more interesting. The audience should never be ahead of you, try not to give them that chance as this will bring boredom.
- Mind your language.
Always choose the one that does not contain foul language or rude sexual innuendos. Careful, clever exceptions can be made if essential in a monologue for a character who in spite of the language is funny or quirky. In short, this might be difficult to pull off. So choose good writing over something flashy trying to impress the listeners.
- Choose to be a winner in a monologue.
The important part is always the last impression in your play. What does the audience view you as after? Every person loves feisty and aggressive characters. Showing you are a courageous character gives you a bonus.
- Get one with a storyline.
Monologues being a solo act does not mean you should make them have a one tone flow, no twists and turns, no suspense, no drama and other aspects. In fact, the more drama, twists you bring the more we become involved in your play. Forget a boring and tedious characters, make your piece as interesting and as catchy as possible.
A simple monologue example
Here a simple example of a monologue:
Folks, for the past three months you have been reading about the worst difficulties I got. Today I consider myself the luckiest lady on earth. Through all the worst days of my life, I have received nothing but total kindness and encouragement from you guys. Just to say, I might have faced worse, but I got a lot to give thanks for.