Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Challenge - a monologue

Sometimes a writer needs to give his or her protagonist a good long monologue. There is too much to be said  or the passion of the speaker demands the pause that a monologue creates. This is difficult to do well but wonderful when it works. It can carry so much of the story and of the character. For many reasons this is a tool that is good to have in your back pocket. For those of us who got our chops down writing for theatre it is a natural but for people who come to writing through short stories and novels - a bit of a leap.

Your challenge today is to write a monologue of at least three pages. Don't forget to include the interruptions - those pauses while the speaker moves, picks up a glass and takes a sip, forgets himself in reverie or gazes out the window. These interruptions will make the rhythm of the piece, so do spend some time with it. And remember that the voice and the gestures are all intrinsic to who the speaker is. The purpose of this is to learn ways to let your character make long speeches that aren't boring or stilted. Do I need to remind you to read it out loud? I thought not.

Let me know how it goes.

Thank you to John Gardiner's iconic book The Art of Fiction for this exercise.


Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - What an interesting and creative idea! I think what makes this most powerful is that one does read it aloud. That gives such an insight into character, and "zip" to a story. Thanks!

Liza said...

I have to revise a page and turn it into a monologue. That will be my attempt at your challenge.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh fun. I've never tried one. I love a good villain monologue but it is definitely a tricky thing to do without being campy.