BUILDING A CHARACTER

Writing Assignment #1: Monologue

A monologue occurs in a play when a character speaks his thoughts out loud. It is different from a soliloquy that breaks through the realistic form of the play. In a soliloquy the character directly addresses the audience. In a monologue the character is speaking his or her thoughts out loud to himself or to other characters on stage.

Think of an episode from your journal that is particularly vivid in your imagination. List the characters who appear in that episode. Choose which one is the key character and then answer the following questions about him or her.

Questions to answer about your central character:

Who is this person?

How old is he or she?

What does he or she do?

How does he or she live?

What special character traits does he or she have?

Where is this person?

When is the scene taking place?

How does he or she feel about being there?

To whom is your character talking and why?

What does he or she want?

What are the obstacles he or she must overcome to achieve that objective?


Monologues come from a characterís deeply felt need to say something, to reveal something about themselves. Characters at a turning point need to tell people what brought them there.

The character may be explaining himself, confessing, deceiving, winning someone over, figuring out something, building up courage, or coming up with a plan. What does your character really need to tell? Your monologue can take the form of a memory, a dream, a confession, a revelation, a plan, a philosophy or a story.

Think about what you learned about your character that you hadnít known before you wrote your monologue. Think about how this new knowledge may teach you to sharpen the action of your one act play.