Start Late - "The Hook" Grab people's attention. Don't start at the beginning of the story the chararacter wants to tell but towards the end of it, enticing the audience to find out what happens next, as well as wondering what led to this.
Start Fast - "The Grab" Keep it simple. Keep it quick. Your opening words are crucial for the tone of your piece. Don't ramble on and on - get right into the heart of your story.
Tell a Story - "The Heart" Why is this character talking to us? Why now? The best monologues, once they've hooked and grabbed us, tell a story we've never heard before - one with a beginning, middle, and end.
Build a Character - "The Soul" Who is this person? Where are they from? What are their hopes, dreams, and disappointments? If you can answer all these questions, your character will start coming to life.
Build your World - "The Colour" This is more than location - it's the way your character sees the world around them.
Build your Rhythms - "The Music" Great writing is like music. You state a theme, expand upon it, build a crescendo, then slowly come back down to earth. Because of this musical quality of dialogue, it's absolutely essential that you...
Read it Aloud - "The Sound" Reading aloud is an essential part of the writing process. Does the dialogue sound natural? Does it flow? Can you identify musical stops and starts, changes of rhythm and pace? All of this becomes much clearer when hearing your words spoken out loud.
Rewrite. Then rewrite again. - "The Fury" Writing is rewriting. This is the really difficult part of the process - once you've got your first draft bashed out, you should put it to one side, make a cup of tea, then come back to it. Try reading it out loud and see what can be improved. Then do this again. And again. And again!
Make Every Word Count - "The Edit" You've only got 1,000 words, so make them count. Remember, it's possible to convey a lot of emotion with very few words - and silence is very powerful. We're not looking for flashy dialogue or clever one-liners - it's how the monologue works as a whole that counts.
Bring it Home - "The End" In the words of T.S. Eliot: "in my beginning is my end". Remember where your monologue started from? Well, after your monologue has whisked us away on a voyage full of heart, soul, colour and music, that's roughly where we should end up - right back at the beginning. Notice how much we've learned about the character along the way.
Here are some examples of the start of monologues...