Class Title: Discover Your Story through Character Monologues
Instructor: Debbie Miller
Class Term: May 20-June 17, 2019
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Often the driving force behind stories, characters anchor stories by revealing rich inner lives. In this class, we will immerse ourselves in "character" by reading and writing character monologues, using techniques that make for successful stories. Students will create fictional character monologues as well ones based on their own lives.
We will read a few examples of character monologues and identify how a character's situation and personality attributes reveal their inner world. Through creating character bios and background information, students will bring them to life with vivid and memorable traits. Students will get to know their characters as they write monologues, in a process of discovery. The instructor will provide examples of monologues, lectures, and readings about how to create memorable characters.
- answer the question, "What makes an effective character monologue?";
- write monologues of fictional characters they have created; and,
- write monologues based on their own lives and personal histories.
Instruction/Communication Method: The instructor will forward all instructional materials, communications, and comments via email. Students will submit written work via email. Students do not have to purchase any materials.
I will offer this four-week class in four weekly units.
- Unit One (Week One): The instructor will send students a detailed summary of the class, along with materials. Materials include a discussion of what is a monologue, two examples of character monologues, handouts on how to create characters, and an assignment. The assignment is to write an outline of the characteristics of a fictional character (a bio and background information) and then to write a monologue by that character. Students will send the completed work -- bio, background information, and monologue -- to the instructor. The instructor will read everything and provide feedback.
- Unit Two (Week Two): The instructor will send materials and readings about how to create memorable characters. The instructor will also send specific instructions to each individual student, that include physical and emotional attributes of a character they are assigned to write about. Each student will then create a bio and background information based on the instructions given to them and then write a monologue and send it to the instructor. The instructor will read the material and provide feedback to each student.
- Unit Three (Week Three): The instructor will send students a monologue that she has written based on her own life, in addition to a bio and background information. Students will read the material and then write a bio, background information, and a monologue with themselves as the character. The instructor will provide each student a list of possible topics to write about in their monologues. Students will also write a short piece reflecting upon about what they have discovered about their lives in the process of writing the monologue. They will send the writing to the instructor, who will read it and provide feedback. Students will be encouraged to read their monologues out loud, if they choose to, to make the monologue feel more "real."
- Unit Four (Week Four): Students will write a second monologue with themselves as the character, based on a topic of their choice. In this monologue, the character (student) talks about a decision they are trying to make. The student will send the monologue to the instructor and the instructor will provide feedback.
Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required
Students will need intermediate writing and computer skills in order to complete this course. They will need to know how to use Word and send emails with Word documents in the body of emails.
Time Commitment: Students should set aside three to four hours per week. Students will write answers to questions based on the reading material, write character bios, and character monologues.
Tuition/Fees for this course
SCN members: $128. Non-SCN members: $160.
Debbie L Miller is a Brooklyn, NY writer. She writes plays, monologues, short stories, memoir pieces, humor, and flash fiction. She has been a freelance writer since 1993 and has published more than 150 pieces in magazines. Her fiction writing has been published in print and online. Miller often uses freewriting and writing based on prompts to generate new work.