Plot Bunnies

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!




27 thoughts on “Plot Bunnies

  1. Oh, absolutely! Write down all of the bunnies and leave ’em there for a while. I’ve found it’s a lot more fun to collect the bunnies together, and instead of creating a story from one bunny, use like five or six of them for one story.

  2. Yes, I have a very bad habit of getting my plot bunnies out of the cage, naming them, feeding them, playing with them, then wondering why they cry at night when I put them away. I can’t focus on my current project because the bunnies are making too much noise.

    • Where does the schedule say bunnies cry? (Kudos to anyone who gets that reference.)

      That does indeed sound like a bad habit. I’m not entirely sure what to tell you. You might need a plot bunny exterminator…

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. All. the. time. But I don’t really think of them as plot bunnies…more like BOOKS. I want to write them all! I’ve never abandoned a project in favour of another though. (Which I’m glad about. I don’t like half cooked books lying around.) So I usually write them down or mildly plot them with a pinterest board and just let it fester until I’m ready to write. Writing down is the BEST though. It kind of makes them stick and also lets you stop thinking about them all. the. time.

    I see you figured out the gifs! 😉 YAYA.

    • Yeah. Half-cooked books aren’t good. I have far too many of them.
      Yes, writing the bunnies down does make them stick to the paper and not your mind. 🙂

      Yes, I did figure it out! But oddly enough, it was neither method that you suggested. But thanks, anyway!

  4. Oh dear, plot bunnies…I do write them down, but I have to remind myself not to think about them otherwise terrible things start happening like, say, characters taking shape and getting names…

    I don’t have a huge problem with them, but the number and frequency of bunnies have grown significantly over the past year or so, so it may become a larger problem in the future.

    You’re right, though–bunnies aren’t all bad or good. 🙂

    (Good work figuring out the GIFs.)

  5. Ah, plot bunnies, the frenemy of writers everywhere.

    Yes, writing them down is, in my experience, the best thing to do. (Though I admit sometimes I write down the scene burning in my mind just to get it out of my system.) Either the bunnies quiet down after a while, or they crawl away to some dark corner and I forget about them until I’m flipping through a notebook.

    That last paragraph about needing more than an idea for a story totally makes sense to me. I think that’s why I tend to be a plotter. The original spark gets me interested, but I don’t start falling in love with the story until I figure out more about it.

      • That’s exactly the analogy I use. I like having a map. And should I decide to take a scenic route, or discover that my directions were wrong, I have my map and can find an alternate route.

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