Moaning Monotonous Monologues by Cheyenne

     Throughout literary history, a monologue showed a great deal of significance and insight to a particular character. We learned of their torment, secrets, desires, philosophical thoughts, and happiness. In some cases, the monologues were downright boring and droned on for all of eternity. It is easy to make the mistake of creating a perpetual disaster that ultimately does nothing for the story or the character you are trying to highlight.

     A monologue can be defined as a poem or composition vocalized by a single individual. Great monologues all have one thing in common: arcs. I think of monologues as micro-novels; a writer can break their entire arrangement into periods just as one might do when writing a story with a solid plot in mind.

     A monologue needs an exposition: what is the purpose for the character reciting it in the first place? Are they giving a speech or talking about their troubles? The reason for the monologue sets it up for the rising action, or the source of conflict. Even the happiest monologues have conflict in them, or at least a lesson the character learned to become happy. If the character is troubled, who or what caused their pain?

     Followed by the conflict is the climax, or the turning point of the monologue. This is where the character may talk about what they did or what they want to do to get past the conflict holding them back. Was the troubled protagonist betrayed by their best friend, and they had to find forgiveness for this friend to reach their own inner peace? The climax can also be thought of as the “lightbulb” moment: the character knew or knows what is wrong in their life and now they’re talking about how to overcome it. The falling action is finally doing what they wanted to do from the start: getting over the barrier. In this example, the character forgave their friend for betraying them, no matter how badly they were hurt, and mended a bridge they could have otherwise left to burn.

     And, like all stories, you want to leave the reader with a strong ending: the resolution. Leave the character with what they had (or had not) accomplished, as well as what lesson was learned. The character found forgiveness and kept a friend that was important to them. They knew that forgiveness was better than staying bitter and unyielding in a world of hurt. This is the part that keeps the reader thinking even after the monologue has ended because they went on a journey with the protagonist. They learned a lesson at the same time the protagonist did.

   While writing your own monologue, do not try to go overboard with zesty descriptions or cycle in a million thoughts because it may sound “deep and pensive.” Focus on what is important to your character, and by following an arc, you’ll be able to create a solid, structured monologue that will stay in your readers’ minds even after the character stopped talking.


Posted on May 4, 2016, in Editorial Board Essay. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is so informative and well thought out. I learned quite a bit from this!

  2. Very informative! This will help me in future writing. 🙂

  3. This is really good advice! 🙂

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