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How to write an internal monologue

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A. Ventresca

on 2 December 2014

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Transcript of How to write an internal monologue

A Monologue:
is a
that someone
gives to other people
or an audience that reflects their feelings and thoughts.

A Soliloquy:
is a
that someone gives to
himself or herself
that reflects their own feelings and thoughts.

An Internal Voice/Monologue:

is the

or stream of consciousness reflecting a person's
internal thoughts and feelings
(the same way you tried to process what you saw in front of you).

*Everything running through your head at any given moment is your "
internal monologue

How to write a dramatic monologue
Today's Lesson...
Learning Expectations & Outcomes:
You will be guided through an activity that will draw upon your critical thinking ability to perceive and engage with your own thought process;
You will learn about the main literary features of a monologue, internal monologue, and a soliloquy;
You will apply a variety of different writing approaches to the creation of your own internal monologue.
What is an internal monologue?
An internal monologue
(also known as inner voice, internal speech, or a verbal stream of consciousness)
is the fancy literary term for a character's thoughts.

In real life, we all have a continuous stream of thought running through our heads at any given moment. What you are thinking right now... that is your "internal monologue."
monologues are always written in the first person
in a monologue the character often comes across a dilemma and must find a resolution to their problem, eg facing a fear
Here are some famous monologues from films. What features can you identify in them?
Starter Task...
What descriptive and creative language features can you find in the extract. Pick as many out as possible.

eg. metaphors, personification, sentence variety, effective verbs etc

So, when expressing a character's thoughts and feelings in literature, what is the difference between...

Internal Monologues
Movie: Good
Will Hunting
Lord of the Rings
-Gollum's Soliloquy

Manhattan Love Story (
Tv Show)


Step 1: Get into the character's state of mind!

Who is your character?
Consider the conditions of the character’s environment and convey his/her physical and emotional reaction to it.
What sounds and voices does this person hear?
What do they experience?
Where is the focus of concentration and what details/images or situations are they describing?

literary devices like simile or metaphor
to express these observations.
Writers use INTERNAL MONOLOGUE to get inside a character's head to reveal their THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS...

STEP 2: Build character awareness!

Identify moments of conflict and discuss it.

How does your character feel about their situation and the people they encounter?

How do they perceive and describe other characters? What do they like/dislike about them?

In what way do they see their society and social standing? E.g. Do they suffer from discrimination and inequality? Are they poor/middle class/ wealthy in a class based society? How do they think others perceive them?

Example of building social awareness in an internal monologue:

The hours slowly drag on in the cave, feeling like days have gone by. Andy is sleeping beside be right now. He's tiny, but scrappy and tougher than he looks, so his body is healing well. I would never say this to him, but the kid is a bit of a little snot, so it's a nice break from the constant chirping. I mean, he's five, so it comes with the territory. Even the way his nose flares while he sleeps, letting out a little "pffft" sound is getting on my nerves. Yet, we're stuck in here together and have to figure out how to tackle those boulders blocking the pathway tomorrow.

Who would have thought, two poor kids from the wrong side of Cabbagetown working together. No one knows we're trapped in here, and it's not like they would really send out an Amber Alert and come looking if they did. We're the nameless kids that become just another stat. Our families have been at war on the streets with each other for over five years now over turf or skin colour, or maybe just revenge. Yet, I honestly can't look down at this five-year-old boy and call him my enemy. We have to make it out together. Obviously, this kid who gets hurt picking his nose needs me. I just didn't think I would end up needing him too. I have been able to survive on my own up until now... but this time, I don't want to. So, I'll sit here and smirk while putting up with his annoying nostril whistle because it's better than dealing with the complete silence that comes with being alone.
Step 3: Closing thoughts and future predictions

Wrap it up with closing thoughts and predictions of how events could unfold.

Remember, you are not completing the story, you are just capturing your character's frame of mind in THAT ONE MOMENT you are writing about.

What does the character think about the future? What predictions are they making regarding events yet to come?
What do you think the character in the cave story will say about his future with little Andy in the Cave? What are his predictions?
Example of characterization in an internal monologue:

I'm just a fourteen-year-old city dude stuck in the armpit of a mountain with a little boy. What do I know about surviving in here? I have no idea what I'm doing and now I have to figure it all out? I didn't sign up to play babysitter in a deathtrap. It's my second day stuck in here and I've already managed to freak out a scared kid and make matters worse. Is this a joke? Is the Big Man up top expecting me to play some sort of hero here? I didn't ask for this and I'm pretty sure I'm failing on an epic level.

The conditions of the cave are making me irritable, not that I was exactly a charming guy before. It's always so cold and damp... kind of like old uncle Jon - an unpleasant, morose man with poor circulation and clammy palms.
PICK ONE of the following sentence starters and continue writing the character's thoughts and feelings. Write as much as you can until the timer stops.
As soon as I saw [______], I never thought I would feel this way again. I felt....

This situation reminded me of my last childhood memory when I was...

I can't believe this is happening! I'm so angry! How could...

I felt like a little kid again, so helpless and vulnerable. Here I was, completely surrounded by...

I was completely alone until someone knocked on the door. My heart skipped a beat and I...
your paper up and

against the wall!

Go pick up another person's
crumpled ball and c
ontinue writing THEIR internal monologue

Write as much as you can! You have until the music stops!
Finally, create your own

Create your own character
and internal monologue (it can even be you)
and provide the context of the situation and setting your character is dealing with.

Remember the
In a single day, you have
countless thoughts...
but how do we process
those thoughts?
What were you thinking about before you came into this room?

What are you thinking about now?
Thinking about thinking...
Andrew Irving and Documenting Internal Voices

In New York, anthropologist
Andrew Irving
captures the inner dialogues people carry on with themselves as they walk the streets of the city. He combines visual, linguistic, and psychological anthropology together, using cameras and tape recorders to record people speaking out loud the same interior monologues we carry on [in our heads].

[Irving] approached strangers at different points in the city [and asked] them to wear a microphone headset attached to a digital recorder and [record] their thoughts as he followed closely behind with a camera. He would not be able to hear what they were saying, Irving explained, and they would be free to walk wherever they liked and continue their business as usual.

[A]s the person walked through the city narrating their thoughts it soon becomes apparent that there are as many ways of thinking as there are of speaking.

One subject: Meredith's thoughts stretch from the trivial to the tragic over a few short steps as she begins by looking for a Staples stationary store to buy CD covers, then shortly after is dwelling on a friend’s cancer diagnosis she learned about the previous night. Meanwhile, she looks over the road and notices a café she likes to watch people in.

Irving’s videos are permanent records of fleeting thoughts [and] dynamic mental processes in real time. They give us nearly direct access to a kind of internal communication we usually do not share with one another.

Source: http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2013/05/10/our-inner-voices/
: a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something (a mental impression of facts, experiences, social circumstances or surroundings).

Please sit quietly and write down what story YOU think the objects or images are telling you.

you have a collection of artifacts that tell a story. You will use your
inferencing skills
(making logical conclusions from information provided)
to tell a story based on what you see on the table.

E.g. The image of a ship, a telescope, and a fairy-tale book could present the narrative of a parent telling a child a bedtime adventure story, or the imagination a little child.
Starter Activity: WHAT'S ON YOUR TABLE?

Compare what you came up with versus what your other group members came up with.

Were your ideas similar or different? How so?

Be prepared to discuss with the rest of the class.
Throughout your day, you are constantly assessing, interpreting, and thinking about how you perceive images/texts/voices/information/looks/attitudes/environments, and so on.

When you write a story or read a novel, your mind is doing the exact same thing!

The next slide has more info on a cultural anthropologist who has applied this to a real life study.
On the walls around the room, you may have noticed a bunch of photos.

Walk up to any 2 images and write down...

Your initial thoughts/interpretation of what you think the image is telling you.

Describe how the image makes you feel!

Ask someone standing next to you what they thought and compare interpretations.
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