Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Plot Bunnies

Sometimes, my life is infested with plot bunnies.

Which is not a bad thing. I like plot bunnies. They make my days more interesting. Exciting, even, because the thing about plot bunnies – and possibly why they’re called plot bunnies – is because they multiply at dazzling speeds. Where this morning you only had one, suddenly you’ve got this:

And therein lies the problem.

Too many bunnies is not a good thing. It’s overwhelming. It’s chaotic. And while all things are created from primordial chaos – who remembers the opening credits of Monkey Magic? – what you need to turn a plot bunny into a book is order.

First, you need to separate a plot bunny from the herd. (Bonus points if anyone knows the collective noun for bunnies. I’m going to vote for a cuddle. A cuddle of bunnies.)

Then you need to cage it so that it can’t escape.

And then you need to give it everything it needs to transform from a plot bunny into an actual book.

The germ of an idea isn’t enough.

Where’s your world building?

Where’s your character development?

Where’s your theme? Where’s your action?

Make your bunny earn his keep. It doesn’t matter how cute he is. Cute doesn’t cut it any more. Test him. Is he clever? Is he agile? Is he strong enough to carry an entire storyline?

If he’s not, then let him go. He wasn’t ready.

But it doesn’t matter. There are eleventy-billion other plot bunnies out there, just waiting for you to catch them. And one of them will work for you. With odds like that, how can it not?


  1. Never heard it said better.

    But what do you do if your bunny grows so big it looks like this?


    1. You deploy the holy hand grenade, MC. It's the only solution.

  2. Yep - that's pretty much it. Though, I'll usually have some plot bunnies that are plots, some characters, and some worldbuilding, and when one really jumps out above the rest then I'll look at the rest and see if there's any that would make a good "breeding partner" for it. :)

    1. Of course! I forgot about breeding partners. Yeah, if there's a match, you definitely put them together with some candlelight and romantic music and see what happens!

  3. a warren of bunnies. but i like cuddle better (I have bunnies and they cuddle up something awesome.) Also, my kids beg me almost daily to take them to Japan to the Rabbit Island. Anyway! I love my plot bunnies, because I put them in pots (cover your ears, my children!) and let them simmer away. I don't let their frolicking distract me, I just keep them on the boil, adding ingredients and letting them stew. Sometimes, those plot bunnies become something tasty. Sometimes the bunnies become part of an already advanced story. Sometimes, let's face it, the bunnies are Not Tasty. that's okay. The best thing about plot bunnies is that new ones always seem to be hopping around.

    1. I love bunnies! Sidenote: it's illegal to have them as pets in my state, thanks the mess that feral rabbits have made over the years. They are so cute though!

      I keep plenty of plot bunnies though, and throw whatever I can into the pot as well.



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