Yesterday turned out to be a productive day. Not only did I publish a new episode to my podcast, but I also drafted a new workshop for the next retreat at which I will be mentoring.
The podcast episode is a story – “Ursula” – which is a first person monologue of sorts. As a male writer I think it important to try an adopt a female voice from time-to-time. Not only does this seem to me to be a true test of one’s skill, but it also is a way to demonstrate – or not! – that you understand people. Hopefully Ursula’s story does both of those things. You can find it here.
Coincidentally, the workshop I drafted was about Dialogue and Monologue. When checking references, I was struck how many defined ‘monologue’ incorrectly – at least to my mind. More than one said it was a speech from a play when only one actor was on the stage (e.g. Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be…”). But that’s a soliloquy. Some said it was a long section of speech by one person engaged in a dialogue – but that’s still a dialogue! And some used a poem as an example of a monologue. Really?
For me, a monologue is a single piece of prose with one ‘actor’ who speaks ‘to’ or ‘at’ us, rather than with us or someone else. It is their take on the world, unfiltered. A good written monologue should be capable of being filmed, the actor speaking directly to the camera. What better example of the monologue than Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads”? Tone is critical; the writer has to do the heavy lifting – we can’t leave anything to our characters’ interactions because there aren’t any.
Tuesdays are my busy outward-facing days. So I start today with a 2-hour session in the local library where I’m Writer in Residence. I’ll be working on my own projects but am available to discuss writing matters with patrons of the library, give advice etc. After a quick sandwich I’m then off to one of the writing groups of which I’m a member, Write-on Ripon. Today I’m running a short prose exercise. I provide the framework, people write according to the framework given (all in about 20 minutes), and then people read out what they’ve written and we discuss.
More than that, today’s a ‘Super Tuesday’ in that this evening I also host my monthly Stanza Poetry Group – always great fun! I’ll be buzzing by the end of the day!
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