Hey, anybody can play this game!  Here's my #10:

10.Stories are made of scenes.  A good scene needs a monkey.  Which is to say, two characters talking while standing (or sitting) in a room, or walking down the beach, or riding in a car, aren’t usually enough to make an interesting scene.  No matter how funny or interesting or important the dialogue is, the scene will still be boring if that’s all that’s going on.  But if your characters are driving down the freeway and trying to talk about something important and there’s a monkey leaping around the car’s interior, flipping the headlights on and off, honking the horn and pooping in the ash-tray—then you’ve got a scene.  Of course, not every scene can have a literal monkey in it, so you have to find the particular “monkey” that’s right for your particular scene—something for your readers to look at while the characters talk. 

The full list is up on my blog, here: http://jonloomis.blogspot.com/2012/02/eleven-things-i-know-about-fi...

Feel free to comment, argue (within the normal bounds of civility, of course), add stuff, make your own lists, etc.

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Jon, you got a compliment from a reader under "Humorous novels." And yes, she's right.  I laughed, too.

Ha!  Love it.  Thanks, I.J.!

I knew my novel needed a monkey!

Every novel needs a monkey, Benjamin.

And if the monkey is a hard drinking vervet, you really have something. ;) 



Thank you for this well thought out and valuable list.  Number 1 is the hardest to do.  Number 3 refutes the worst advice ever given to an author.  The others are just as true.

Would it be okay with you if I copied them and handed them out at my writer's group, about 15 people?

Of course, Brian.  Glad you found them useful.


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