Monologue. A simple definition of it might be “a long speech by one actor in a play or movie, or as part of a theatrical or broadcast program.” Ever since Wild Bill Shakespeare (and probably before), it’s been a favorite part of writing, plays, and movies.
Most of the time they show us what’s going on in the mind of a character. Whoever it is goes off in this long, probably several page tirade to explain their motivations and what they’re going to do. A bad guy doing this is a very popular.
My problem becomes is who are they trying to convince? Me (the reader or viewer) or the themselves. Many times they simply come off as phony.
I found myself facing just such a thing in writing my next book. Will Diaz (now Sheriff Diaz) receives a mysterious letter. The writer is someone we’ve heard from before, though we still don’t know who he is. Previously he’d sent a correspondence of numbers and a simple cover letter informing will that this a target list of seventy plus men he planned on killing, and a warning to stay out of his way. The list was nothing but numbers.
I was going to have our unknown writer go into a long explanation for his actions.
I hated it.
The man comes off as insane.
And when we finally run into this guy, he’s anything but that. A little disturbed? Yes. A vigilante? Absolutely. Crazy? He’d pass a psyche eval with ease.
I ended up settling for the Sheriff to receive a simple postcard from Taos, New Mexico. On the back is written, “Hi Will. Have you figured it out yet. Ishmael.” In the corner is a symbol that the writer had promised he’d use as his symbol. The note is at once friendly, and the writer nudges Will with a clue to decipher the previous communications.
He also gives Will a clue to who he is. Will and RJ decided the reason for this is that they’re not knowing his identity won’t matter much longer. It also gives them a view into his mind. He firmly believes that they won’t be able to stop him.
I’ve decided that the best way for my villain (if that’s what he is) to be explained is a clue here and there. I hope it gives me a character who at the end of it all was deeply wronged, sees an injustice, and ends up believing that the only way to justice in some cases is for the just to become an outlaw.
With luck, it will work out well.