Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Handle Plot Bunnies

A plot bunny is an idea that won’t go away. It bounces around in your head incessantly, like a bunny.

I have been plagued by plot bunnies in my time. When I first start a new book, it’s hard for me to sleep because I have to get up and scribble in a notebook whenever I have a new idea. It’ll be all I think about (and all I talk about) for the first few weeks.

I’ve discovered something imperative about my plot bunnies, something essential to my writing and something I want to ingrain in you so much that I’m going to write it in bold letters:

Plot bunnies need to be indulged.

Reason #1: The most productive writing time is in the first few weeks. You’re so excited that you can write longer and faster. The ideas flow easily, and because you’re so in love with them, they can do no wrong. Later once the idea settles in your head, progress slows.

Reason #2: If you tell your ideas to scram, they might not come back. When I went to college, I decided to put my writing on hold and focus on school, friends, guys, etc. I’m glad I did. However, when I tried to start writing again, it was grueling. It was like finding water in a desert. Creativity is a muscle: use it, or lose it. Now that I finally picked up my momentum, I refuse to lose it again.

We often think of ideas like a river; if you dam the river, eventually the dam will burst. It isn’t like that at all. It’s more like hosting a party and showing up late. Your guests will wait for a while, but they will get tired and they will go home.

Reason #3: You might lose your idea. It’s hard to imagine that something can consume all your attention one moment and you can’t remember it the next, but it happens. Even if you do remember the idea, it might lose its potency and you won’t be able to remember what made the idea so great.

Reason #4: It’s silly to ignore plot bunnies anyway, because they aren’t just annoying; sometimes, they hurt! I’m writing this article because I recently had an idea at work while I was busy doing something else. I couldn’t get back to writing for an hour. By the time I was free to work on it, I felt physically ill.

Have you never felt a plot bunny before? You will. My next article will be about how to encourage your ideas until they take over and become bunnies.
Teralyn Pilgrim


  1. That picture is adorable!! :D And plot bunnies rock, except when they distract you from other stories by gnawing on your brain :P

    Actually popped over for the What's Your Process blogfest (WAY too late) but this blog convinced me to stick around! *follows*

  2. It's my favorite part of the process! Like a honeymoon. tra-la-la!

  3. Plot bunnies are amazing and horrible at the same time. One plot bunny got me through a July WriMo in eight days (my record.) The other plot bunnies irk me during my Chemistry classes, when I really should be calculating pH levels instead of fighting pirates with my characters. Curse those demons!



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