Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew!
No, wait, that’s potatoes…
Plot bunnies are adorable ideas that usually show up when you’re already working on a story. They try to lure you away from your WIP to write their story. They won’t leave you alone. And when you go to actually write them, they more often than not abandon you without leaving even an inkling. But sometimes, plot bunnies are honest and loyal.
There are usually two ways that people react to a plot bunny visit.
The first reaction is almost a rational one. “I love this idea and I want it but I already have a project and this bunny won’t leave me alone!”
The second one goes hopping off happily after the bunny, dropping everything else.
Neither of these are actually good reactions. Because, as I’ve said, plot bunnies can be good and friendly. But you can’t just drop everything to chase it to find out. And it’ll just torture you to have it bugging you day in and day out as you try to ignore it long enough to get your real WIP done.
So, what should you do? How do you properly catch a plot bunny so it won’t bother you but so you don’t lose what is possibly a good bunny?
My personal capture method is writing the bunny down. I have a whole notebook devoted to plot bunnies and I also have a folder on Microsoft One Note. In these, I write down the plot bunnies, concept bunnies, itty-bitty thought bunnies that I have for stories. Gotta catch ’em all.
Then I leave the bunnies alone.
Seriously, I leave the bunnies alone. When I need an idea, I go back to the notebook or folder. But it won’t do me any good if I keep checking on them and feeding them magic carrots. They’ll just want to keep eating and growing and then eventually devour you (metaphorically). When I write them down for later, they leave me alone. Sometimes entirely. But the ones that have abandoned me aren’t good for my stories, anyway.
Also, I have recently learned that I need more to my stories than just an idea. Sure, that’s inspiration and a spark, but Shifting Sands is turning out really well for all the planning and outlining and false starts I’ve done. So going after any idea right away isn’t a good idea. I need to let it simmer and figure out if I actually have a whole enough story. (It seems I’ve been converted to outlining during the last few weeks.)
Are you being plagued by bunnies? Have you figured out another method short of a Poké Ball for containing them? Let me know in the comments!