Let me tell you about a wonderful little boy. He's a member of the Chess Club and Computer Club at his school, participates in Engineering and Swim classes, researches the mysteries of outer space, loves to ride his bike, do gross food dares during school Lunch, read like a fiend, go on hikes, and has a blast writing and illustrating his own comic book series called "Tommy Tom Tom, Mike and Joe." He's likes Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, Pokemon, "Brain Games" and currently is planning his 9th Birthday Party with a Beyblade Burst theme ("Let it rip!"). This creative, interesting guy looks out for his little brother, helps his dad put together furniture, and happily carries in grocery bags for his mom. This boy is very near and dear to my heart (okay, he actually occupies a huge chunk of my heart!), and takes so much pride in my playwriting talents and successes. So, of course, I was more than a little happy when, several months ago, he stated he wanted to write a monologue like his mom did (yes, this boy is my son!). I told him, if he did that, I'd put it up on my website and he could even receive the profits for its sales. Um...money motivated? (I can't judge here--my brothers and I created a 3+ year running newspaper which we sold for 10c an issue to subscribers, and tonight, I recalled to my husband how I think my friends and I even sold my mom's sewing scraps of fake FUR to classmates when we were in 4th grade! Yeah...) -
My third-grader was eager to write (an idea instantly popped in his head), but before he did, I hastily gave him a few tips:
1) Try to find an interesting first line that will draw the audience in.
2) Decide who your character is talking to and consider an interesting setting.
3) Have your character want something/be trying to get something.
4) Think of a few ways for your character to convince the other person of his/her position/give a few reasons for his/her case.
5) If you can, it's nice to have a little twist at the very end of the monologue, so that we're being built up for something, and then experience a little surprise (maybe comedic, if it's a comedy) at the very end.
When I say I hastily gave him these tips, I do not exaggerate. It's nice to type it out here, but I was literally rushing through these points off the top of my head, trying to think what would be useful to an 8-year-old writing his first monologue...all the while, with his saying, "okay," smile excitedly, nod, "okay." "Can I go now?" Then, like a dog being released from a cage, he was off!
He returned to me about 5 minutes later to ask one question: "Do I have to give 3 reasons for what he wants?" No, you don't... (although rules of 3 are common and I appreciated his mind went there) -
A few minutes later, he was back, ready to read his monologue out loud. While he hates to hand-write, he has inherited some speed writing skills, I think! As he read the monologue, I was happy to feel his natural sense of rhythm and structure for the monologue. Whether he took to heart my tips or just had the natural flow, he has made a genuine little monologue which can stand on its own very young feet.
It's not a long monologue, about 1 minute, and it is not a monologue written by a professional adult writer--but it's all him. He said I could make changes on it, "to make it better," but I told him I would not change anything. I wanted it to be entirely his voice, and anyone reading it would want that too. I typed it for him, handed it back to him and he made a few small edits. I spoke with him about ways to come up with a title, and he decided on one that would hopefully catch people's attention and also tell us what the monologue is about.
So, here you have it. "Teddy Shouldn't Go to Space," a comedic children's monologue, by 8-year-old, Dylan B. Excerpt below:
TEDDY SHOULDN'T GO TO SPACE
Written by guest playwright, 8-year-old, Dylan B.
Age range: 5-13
Running Time: Approximately 1 minute
Description: Jackson is an 8 ½ year old boy. He is standing at the doorstep to his house. He speaks to a NASA member. His dog’s name is Teddy.
You really shouldn’t send my dog to the moon. Remember you said that the rocket was fast, to convince me? Well, in space the faster you go, the farther you go to the future. So I won’t see Teddy for months! Also you’re not even paying me. And I know most kids would be excited about this, so…you don’t need to worry about paying—but still. You could run out of air. Get attacked by cosmic radiation, run out of gas, or freeze! You should go get volunteers. So once you leave, you can keep that in mind. And I see... Click below to purchase the entire monologue: