Most of this page is going to be about writing monologues. Telling your story can be empowering! But sometimes it’s not enough. And sometimes, dredging up old memories can bring out more than you can handle on your own. And that’s OK. If you’re in a bad place, and need to talk to someone who can help, click here for a few resources.
What can monologues be about?
You are encouraged to write about yourself as a woman, your relationships, body image, spirituality, work, religion, personal or sexual exploration, experiences of love, experience of abuse, and of course, your influential heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, platonic and familial relationships and experiences. Think about your experiences of sex education, first or remarkable experiences of menstruation, menopause, first or remarkable experiences of sexuality, rape or abuse, experiences of birth control, experiences of pregnancy, pregnancy loss, abortion, childbirth, motherhood, experiences of empowerment and endangerment that focus on the female body, etc. NO TOPIC IS OFF-LIMITS OR IRRELEVANT!
Your submission may be as short as a few sentences (a “mini-monologue”) or up to three typed, double spaced pages in length. Longer works are accepted, but cannot be performed due to time limitations. Your submission may be edited for length to allow for many different pieces to be included in the production. You may submit more than one piece. Please change the names of any people you describe in your submission.
Don’t be nervous about sharing revealing stores because your submissions will remain completely anonymous. You do not need to include your name with your submission — we don’t even have a box to type it in.
It will assist us in the review process as well as in the performance if you’ll fill in your age, race/ethnicity/origin, city, and occupation – we use this information to assist the performers and to plan out how pieces might fit together. We’ve also provided a number of terms that we’ve found have been associated with stories in the past – if you check any terms that apply to your story, it will assist us in organizing the stories into an overall narrative. They’re not required, though — the only thing that has to be filled in is a title (because the software we use requires some text in that field – it doesn’t matter what you put there, if you don’t want to title it) and your story.
Some writing strategies to consider:
To start, think of a powerful experience in your life that may be humorous, exciting, beautiful, painful, inspiring, terrifying, empowering, embarrassing, sad, etc. Share this specific story to capture the complexity of being female by including concrete details (remember that you can draw on all the senses!) and reflections on how the experience made you feel at the time, and perhaps, now.
- Decide what effect you want to have on your audience (what emotions, details, images do you want to leave them with?)
- Make an experience come alive with details! Show, don’t tell, your story. Think about your Monologue as a scene from a movie. What do you want us to see, hear, or smell (if your movie was shot with “smellovision”!)
- There are many ways to tell a story: Write a letter/email/facebook entry, or imagine a Twitter thread; get across the emotion of an event by giving us impressions, sounds, words; include other voices (no real names!)
- Short sentences communicate best.
- Cut to the chase! You don’t have much room, so leave in the strongest, most evocative material.
- When I was girl, I loved to…
- The first time I knew I loved/hated him/her was…
- I looked down and thought…
- You’ll never believe/understand__________, but I’ll try to explain…
- Just the idea of ______ makes me crazy/squirm/joyful/thrilled/hurt…
- For me, it always been ______ that makes me _______…
- I felt like a giant/tiny ______ in the middle of all the _____…
- Start with dialogue. “PUT THAT DOWN!” my mother screamed.
- Start with setting. “The mountains turned purple in the mornings.”
- Start with conflict. “We decided to beat up the girls in the seventh grade, even though we were only 8 years old.”
- Start with character. “My sister, often jovial, bubbly, sweet, had been in her room for five days straight.”
How do I submit my monologue?
Submissions are accepted at any time. The cutoff date for a given year will be posted on the homepage, and is typically around November 1st.
- Submit them online via www.michianamonologues.org.
- Mail them to the Executive Director, Michiana Monologues, P.O.Box 1293, South Bend, IN 46624
How will selections be made?
Selections will be made by a committee. Selections will be based on an interest in representing a diversity of voices, and a range of experience described in compelling language. Pieces may be edited by the committee. We cannot include every submission in a two-hour show, regrettably. If yours does not make it into the production, it does not mean it wasn’t a fantastic story. It may appear in the expanded book version of Michiana Monologues, and you can submit it again next year.
Are you interested in performing in the production?
If you are interested in performing, but not writing a monologue, look for our call for performers to audition, typically in December. Auditions will be posted on the website as well as our social media accounts. You may submit a monologue AND perform one, but you will not be allowed to perform your own monologue, as preserving the anonymity of the writers is crucial to this process and production.
Please feel free to share this call for monologues. We would like to see stories shared from girls and women of every age group and demographic.
Each of us has stories inside; please consider sharing yours!
***Please note that by donating your story, you are giving it to this fund-raising production, and understand that it may be edited for length, and could be reproduced on paper or as a DVD. The performance will be recorded, and both audio and video could be available to the general public. Any money raised from your submission will go toward fund-raising for local organizations working to stop violence against women.
Questions or ideas for our production? Would you like to participate in the Michiana Monologues as a support person, creative force, or go-to person? We can always use the help, and you’d find yourself among a diverse and fun group of people who are committed to using writing and art to create a safe, happy, creative community for everyone. Contact Executive Director, Shelly Overgaard at firstname.lastname@example.org.