Plot Bunnies

Deconstructing the Artist / Thursday, June 1st, 2017

I am in this great and terrifying space where it’s time to work on a new project. If you’re not in the writing world, you may not have heard the term “plot bunny.” Plot bunnies are those little snippets of inspiration that can hit you anywhere, at anytime. It can be as small as a character name or as big as an entire plot line. Not all of them are winners but some are. The winners are the ones that stick around, that burrow in and multiply into characters, settings, conflicts, romances, and dialogue fragments. And the time plot bunnies are most likely to strike? Right after you’ve decided what you’re going to work on next.

I had my mind and creative energy all set to work on a particular story that’s been brewing for some time. Then two days ago I was hit with a plot bunny. Last night another one hit me. The two merged and became twice as persistent. As I sat down to begin the plotted story, I found myself instead making an inspiration playlist for the mutated plot bunnies. Where do I go from here? Do I follow my plan and write the book whose sheen has dulled a little? Or do I follow this shiny new idea and see where it leads? The shiny idea that is multiplying so quickly it almost a full fledged outline.

Meanwhile there are all the other ideas I’ve been holding onto for years. All of these partial stories hanging out on my computer, waiting for my return. Some of them have a few chapters, some are over a third of the way written. Now that I know the time and investment writing a book entails I am lost on where to go next. What will be the next thing I pour my creative energy into? What story can I stand to work on for the next few months or years?

I don’t expect an answer. There aren’t absolutes and facts in the writing process. It’s all about taking risks, jumping and hoping there’s a parachute. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn’t. But like the masochists we are, we jump anyway.

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