This I Believe: 5 Tips for Crafting and Editing Your Monologue

Editing_Red_Pen1-300x225→ I believe that attitude can help overcome adversity every time.

→ I believe that cell phones can be powerful tools of learning in the classroom.

→ I believe that I have the best job in the entire world.

Hello North Salinas High School Students! The rest of you: welcome to our “This I Believe” monologue project whereby students will write a 3 – 5 minute monologue about something that illustrates their credo for life. The monologue must be backed up with a true, personal story. Because it’s a high school theatre class, students will perform their work with a small group. Think cool performance art piece with lights, movement and sound.

Got your monologue sorted? No, really, are you ready to start polishing and finishing this bad boy so you can start to memorize it? Being playwright is only half the fun with this project!

If you follow these five tips, you will be well on your way to getting that A on this project.

  1. Read your drafts aloud so you can time yourself. You need to have a 3 – 5 minute performance. Yes, a one-minute monologue works in the business, but you are going to create a performance piece with 4 other students. One minute will make your audience feel cheated–they deserve the real you.
  2. Be brutal while cutting. Honest, we don’t need every tiny detail. You aren’t writing the Great American Novel–you are sharing your belief and backing it up with an interesting story. Tell us only the events that back up your credo. We know you are worried you won’t have a full 3 minutes, but silly extra details will only annoy your audience. And we know how to tell if our audience isn’t connecting: listen for the squeaky seats in our Little Theatre!
  3. Tell your story from beginning to end. There’s comfort in sequence, so help your audience out by weaving in the words of sequence to transition between events.
  4. Start strong. Your intro must catch our attention or your audience will spend all their time trying to check their Facebook status…Remember, in our project, you can’t start your monologue with your belief [like they do in on NPR]. Your monologue needs a super strong hook to get into your subject.
  5. What did you learn? So you have this great credo and an awesome story. What’s the lesson? Use language of reflection at the end to help wrap up your monologue. Incorporate sentence starters like:
    • I learned________
    • From this/these event[s] I began to________
    • From this I gained________
    • The lesson I learned________
    • I gained insight from________
    • ________ is a defining part of who I am because________
    • Finding meaning from this experience has ________
    • This made a difference because/when________

We will be posting more ideas for how to be your own playwright for our “This I Believe” Credo Project. Stay tuned!

What topic are you considering for your monologue? Weigh in below!

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Categories: Teachables

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12 replies

  1. These tips were really helpful in writing my monologue, I couldn’t have done it without this. Anyone stuck with writing their monologue should read this.

  2. These instructions are necessary to read, to write an awesome monologue, especially number 3 because awkward moments are never fun. I find number 4 important as well because if you catch the audience’s attention with some kind interesting quote or fact they will be more interested in your story and they won’t doze off so easily especially in 1st period because everyone is sleepy in that time of day.

  3. @KristinaVu6 i totally agree with you! I read mine over and i had to make a few changes and cut things out.

  4. I think its really cool how anyone can check this stuff out like future drama students so they can come on this website and learn what theater is all about at North High!

  5. I agree that this article was very helpful since after taking my time to read it, I pretty much cut out 75% of my final draft! There is always room for improvement and that is another thing that Theatre has taught me this year.

  6. This was a very helpful article! I will definitely consider this information while editing and memorizing my monologue.

  7. This article was really helpful because I was confuse on what to do for the monologues.

  8. Hey rillingale, this is very helpful for our monologue project. It gives a lot of good tips

  9. This article was really helpful now I have better idea of what story to write about for my monologue. Thanks!

    • I agree with jocelyn! it was helpful wasn’t it? My monologue was like 3 pages long then i realized i can’t remember all that. So i cut it down by alot!

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