How to Write a Monologue

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In prose, an interior monologue is where the character reveals what's going on in his mind. This was perfected in the stream of consciousness novel, which strove to give a character's thoughts as they appear using associations, imagery, impressions, wordplay and other literary devices. In short bursts, the interior monologue is an effective way to let your reader deep into a character. Here's how to write one.

  • Study examples of interior monologues by great writers such as James Joyce, William Faulkner and Joseph Heller. Copy the parts you like from these passages by hand so you get the rhythm of the language.

  • Identify the character you think would suit a monologue. Because this is a device for introspection, a superficial character who doesn't reflect on her actions or beliefs isn't suitable for an interior monologue.

  • Work on developing your chosen character. You must know his mind well. An interior monologue reveals what the character thinks and feels about a particular situation, person or issue and what motivates his actions.

  • Decide why you want to portray the character's thoughts in an interior monologue. This will help focus the monologue topic. You can expand on a major theme of the your story, highlight an important character trait or discuss other characters through the eyes of your monologue subject.

  • Find the place(s) most suitable for an interior monologue. Keep in mind that they slow down the plot, so they work best as a breather between action scenes.

  • Write the draft of your monologue. Let yourself write freely about the topic the character is reflecting on. It takes a lot of digging to get to the jewels.

  • Set your monologue aside for at least a day, preferably longer. When you go back to it, cut out words that blur the main issue. Make your monologue as short as possible to convey what you want to say.

Tips & Warnings

  • A journal through the eyes of your monologue character will help you understand him better.

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