What Is a Monologue and How to Write It

Posted on December 22nd, 2022 General Writing

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Writing a monologue can be very fun and exciting but yet can also be very challenging. This is a common assignment among students who study theatrology and dramatics as well as script writing, creative writing, etc. In order to create a great monologue, it’s important to let it compose itself but still, keep it organized and structured. Here are a few tips that will help you do that.

The Specifics of a Monologue 

A monologue is a part of a play, script, or literary piece where a character is talking without another one answering. It is usually a long part of a text with emotional, philosophical, or reflectional implications. There are two main types of monologues:

  • Interior monologue. Where a character is speaking to themselves.
  • Exterior monologue. Where a character is speaking to other characters, a reader, or an audience. 

Monologues are a great tool to express the author’s thoughts but make it sound like a part of a character arch as well as provide some background or context without telling it from the perspective of a narrator.

If you are writing a monologue as a part of your college assignment, there might be a particular task or a goal that you have to achieve with your piece. For example, to tell the story of a character or express deep emotions, experiences, or worries. When writing a monologue as a part of your script, play, or book, you can also implement various subtexts to make a monologue stand out. For example, William Shakespeare used a lot of monologues in his work and the majority of them are very deep and philosophical which helps us understand the characters better. Even if there are a lot of plot lines, characters, and action, there still always was a place for a monologue for Shakespeare; it was the detail that made his pieces so deep and vibrant.

That is why it’s important to learn how to write beautiful and meaningful monologues. Here are a few tips that will help you do that.

Step 1. Know the Purpose of Your Monologue

Writing a monologue without a purpose doesn’t make any sense. When you want your monologue to be meaningful and emotional, you need to match it with its purpose.

So, there might be different reasons for writing a monologue and implementing it into your piece. For example, you might want to tell the background story of a character and let your reader or viewer go through a journey in a flashback. Or you might want to make your character have an emotional release, tell a secret, share thoughts, etc.

The purpose of the monologue might not be clear to the reader or viewer from the very start. But it should have some meaning and reason. Remember, that monologues should not be used just for a sake of their format but rather to highlight some idea or emotion. Otherwise, you might want to use a dialogue or narrator voice.

Step 2. Introduce a Strong Point

As it was said earlier, you should present some idea through your monologue or some strong emotional message. When you have a point that you need to be mentioned in a monologue or when you want to address some issue and focus on that, make sure you write it down first separately to think a bit about the phrasing.

Your point should be presented in a clear way. Your character has some thoughts to share, so let them. If you want, you can highlight the idea by adding some allegories or life experience examples to make sure that you make your idea clear. If there is no such idea for a monologue, then it’s better to avoid using it at this point in your piece. Maybe leave it for later. Otherwise, it would look rather weak and pointless.

Step 3. Structure Your Monologue

As with any other written piece, a monologue should have its beginning, middle part, and ending with some development and flow. Each part might have different emotional content but should definitely match the purpose of the monologue.

When writing your monologue, be sure to focus on its structure. The beginning should contain a hook sentence and a strong opening line to make the interest of your audience grow. The middle part is the part that brings all the emotions or the character’s thoughts. The ending should leave some questions unanswered so that your reader has something left to think about.

Pro tip: Make sure you read a few monologues from different plays or literary pieces to learn how different and vibrant they can be and get inspired for your piece. 

Step 4. Read Your Monologue Aloud

Hearing your monologue when it’s being read is much more powerful and useful than just reading it to yourself. Some wording might need to be changed or rephrased to achieve a better result. Sometimes you might want to add or vice versa remove some emotional charge to highlight the mental state of your character.

So, always be sure to listen to your monologue before finalizing it.

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