How Good Writing is Like a Barrel of Monkeys

When it comes to sentence and paragraph transitions, I want you to think of the game Barrel of Monkeys. 

Barrel of Monkeys is a toy developed in the mid-1960s that is now sold by Milton Bradley / Hasbro. The game consists of a plastic barrel containing 10 plastic monkeys with arms going in opposite directions. You play the game by dumping the monkeys out on the table. You then pick up one and hook its arm through a second plastic monkey’s arm. Then use that monkey’s arm (still connected to the first monkey) to pick up another plastic monkey. You turn is over once a monkey is dropped. 

In a nutshell: Each sentence monkey must connect to the next sentence monkey without dropping any!

I learned about the need for transitions from my first writing mentor and it made my writing 100% better right away because I was no longer depending on the reader to fill in any blanks.

How this works is that you start a paragraph with a topic sentence. And then the next sentence you write must follow on clearly to the previous sentence. And the third sentence must relate to, clarify, or advance the third sentence, and so on.

Similarly, each paragraph needs to “hook” back in some way to the previous paragraph. 

The objective is to get the reader in the boat and then ensure they can float effortlessly down the river that is your paragraph or chapter without getting hung up on the rocks.

Why is this important? 

Because no one has the desire or ability to reread your stuff three times to try to figure out what you mean! 

Master the Barrel of Monkeys technique and your readers will be much more likely to “hang around.” *grin*

 #writingtips #writingabook #bookwriting #bookpublishing #transitions