How to Create a Monologue (Easy and Simple)
What Is a Monologue?
A monologue is a long speech made by a single actor in a play or film. Monologues have been around since Ancient Greece, and they are still commonly used in as literary devices in dramatic media today. They are tools used to provide additional information and details about a character or the plot.
Theater jargon can be confusing—the difference between a soliloquy and a monologue is that the former is when a character, who's usually alone, speaks their own thoughts aloud to themselves. A monologue is any speech delivered by a character, whether to other characters or the audience.
In this article, I will show you how to write a script from scratch in four simple steps.
Famous Monologue Examples
"To be, or not to be, that is the question..."
Oedipus the King
"Why should a mortal man, the sport of chance, With no assured foreknowledge, be afraid?"
"Yea, for these laws were not ordained of Zeus, And she who sits enthroned with gods below..."
"I left no ring with her: what means this lady?"
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him..."
As You Like It
"All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players..."
"Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York..."
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Flute (as Thisbe)
"Asleep, my love? What, dead, my dove? O Pyramus, arise!"
Steps to Creating a Dramatic Monologue
- Think up a character.
- Create a character profile.
- Begin your script.
- Edit your monologue.
Things to Remember
- In a monologue, you are the only actor/actress.
- It should be clear and easy to understand.
- You should take the audience on some type of journey.
- Aim for something new.
- Your character should be someone who intrigues you to take on.
- In regards to timing, don't rush yourself, but don't pause for a long time.
Monologue vs. Soliloquy
You may have heard both of these terms used before, but what's the difference? In a monologue, one character is addressing the audience or other characters, whereas in a soliloquy, the character is speaking alone.
Step 1: Think Up a Character
Think up the type of character you want. You don't necessarily need to know much about them at this stage. You could do this by standing in front of a mirror holding a position of your made-up character or even talking gibberish and testing out different facial expressions, voice, and movement. Another good starting point is to base your character on someone you know or some TV star you see as an inspiration.
Think about where you want the monologue to go and how it's meant to fit in with the rest of your play. What role do the monologue and the one delivering the speech play in the context of the written work as a whole? Start thinking about these things as you begin to develop your character.
Step 2: Create a Character Profile
Now that you have some idea of a character in mind, it's time to create a character profile. A character profile should include the following:
- Name: The name and all nicknames of your character should be placed here.
- Biography: A brief overview of your character should be written out here. These prompts should be used as a jumping off point. The key is to delve into your character's past, present and future.
- Age: Child, teen, mid-'20s, middle-aged.
- Facial Expressions: Angry, sad, happy, chagrined.
- Hair: Neat/messy, up/down, long/short.
- Clothing Style: Casual, posh, formal, grungy.
- Speaking Style: Shy, loud, accent, slang.
- General Demeanor: How they come across to other people.
- Career: What they are, work as, or get paid for doing.
- Hobbies: What they enjoy doing.
- Likes: What they like.
- Dislikes: What they hate.
Tip: When creating a character for a monologue, it's important to make sure your audience will be able to connect with that character. Since monologues are long speeches, you need to know you'll be able to capture and maintain your audience's attention throughout the speech.
Step 3: Begin Your Script
Begin writing your script. Remember to keep it short and sweet—a monologue should be no longer than one or two pages long and should take about two minutes to deliver (give or take), including all pauses.
Now that you've created a detailed character profile, you should find your path from there simple and easy. Decide whether you want the monologue to be comedic or dramatic, and think about the arc of the monologue. The character should make some discovery or go on some internal journey.
How to Structure a Monologue
You should begin paying attention to the past, present, and future parts of your character profile. This should show your character's life already planned out. Here are some ideas and suggestions to explore when crafting your monologue:
- Start by taking a part of your character's past and creating a flashback scene from it.
- Transitions are very important. Be creative: Pause for a second and let something happen or do something such as putting a hood on or off.
- Next, you should be able to know what your monologue is about. Once you do, you should open up Microsoft Word or any other writing program and start drafting your monologue script.
Again, you should keep in mind or have a copy of your character profile near you at all times.
- Start by introducing your character, in character, to the audience. You could use an aside: An aside is when your character speaks their mind to the audience.
- Next, briefly allow the audience to know what situation you are in or what message you are trying to get across in your performance. Take the audience with you on your own journey depending on what you have created so far.
- Further down in your script, you should have already played out all the key facts you needed to get your chosen message across or what you wanted the audience to see, whether it be a mental journey or a physical one.
- Lastly, you should end your monologue script smoothly, not just by pausing and finishing with the audience having unanswered questions.
Step 4: Edit Your Monologue
Editing is the most important part of writing a monologue—make sure to edit your script a few times after you have finished it. You need to make sure that every single sentence and word is necessary and serves a purpose.
Draft it and keep on going until you are happy with it. Only once you're happy with what you have and it checks all those "to remember" points in the list at the top should you consider it a final draft.
Now that you have a script, you still have to bring it to life as an actor and director.
Frequently Asked Questions About Writing a Monologue
How can I memorize a monologue?
Break the text up into sections so that you can memorize the text in bite-sized chunks. This will also help you to revise and edit as needed. Hand-writing has been proven to bolster your ability to retain information, so give that a try as well!
How can I write a monologue for a ___________ character?
Make sure to do research on the type of character for whom you're writing the monologue. If you don't know how to write from the perspective of a character who's older, younger, gay, straight, male, female, or different from you in some other way, beginning the monologue-writing process with extensive research is key. You need to get inside your character's head to feel what they feel and think what they think—reading books, watching movies, or talking to people who understand the type of character you're going for is a great place to start.
How long should a monologue be?
A monologue needs to be short and sweet. Remember, you need to capture and maintain your audience's attention. Keep it to two minutes (three minutes maximum), including all pauses.
How do I make a monologue interesting?
Keep it short, and make sure your character has an arc or storyline that is examined within the text of the monologue. Focus on the editing phase of writing the monologue—remember that every word needs to drive the plot forward.
How do I use a monologue worksheet?
A monologue worksheet is a physical template you can use to direct your monologue-writing. With it, you can create a visual outline for your character profile. Fill out information about your character—their age, fears, likes and dislikes, etc. Then answer some questions about the monologue itself, such as where it takes place, what issues will be resolved, what outcome the character desires, and what obstacles may be preventing that outcome. With a monologue worksheet, you have all the information about the character and the monologue in front of you while you're writing. You can use Microsoft Word to create the monologue worksheet template, then print and hand-write on it, or simply use it as a working document on your computer.