A monologue is a piece of writing in which one person speaks to a real or imagined audience in a conversation that is one-sided and biased. It can be challenging or mere idle chatter. It can be full of flirtation or menace. There can be joy, desolation and death.

Some points to note:

  • It’s imperative the speaker establishes himself/herself right away: age, sex, background.
  • Arresting openings are vital in order to hook the reader and to set the tone. For example, ‘what shall I wear?’ or ‘what’ll I wear?’ or ‘what am I to wear?’ imply different scenarios. We wonder who is speaking and if there is a sense of urgency in the question and whether that speaker is bound for a party, a wedding, a funeral, an appearance in court etc.
  • Do not overload your piece with too many names. Just focus on those that are significant.
  • In everyday language there are slang words and broken sentences. Some people are measured, others incoherent or gushing. Match the rhythm of the speech to your character.
  • A change of mood is acceptable once it is consistent with your character. It can often be used as a device where dark secrets are unwittingly revealed.
  • You may ignore all of the above and write a scintillating stream-of-consciousness monologue where we’re swept blindly along without ever learning who the speaker is.

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