A Good Scene Needs a Monkey

“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. ”

– From “Eleven Things I Know About Fiction Writing,” a blog post by Jon Loomis,  author of the Frank Coffin mystery series and more.


A wave to El Guapo. See, I really do have a method to my monkey madness. The more fitting truth is I am just mad about monkeys. Though the first sounds more more professional. (And yes, I am linking to Guap’s toy page on purpose. Monkeys make great toys!)

and so do chickens:

From Savage Chickens by Doug
From Savage Chickens by Doug Savage (to see more monkeys and chickens)