We’ve all heard the term plot bunny, but unless you’re a writer you don’t actually understand the true frustrating horror these little guys can bring to your life. On the off chance you don’t know what a plot bunny is, let me give you a quick definition. A plot bunny is an idea for a story that is so insistent that it will not go away until you write it. It also has a tendency to multiply into future book ideas. If this doesn’t sound frustrating to you, you are not a writer.
For a reader, plot bunnies are a great thing. It means your favorite author gets to put out more stories that you can read.
For a writer more blot bunnies equals more writing. Sometimes it means stopping one book and starting a whole new book, because the little demonic ball of fluff just won’t stop bouncing around in your head shouting “Write me! Write me! Write me!” If this sounds familiar, you’re a writer.
Now, each author has their own way of dealing with plot bunnies. For me, those little annoyances … I mean wonderfully evil sources of inspiration go through several stages. These stages allow only the best, and strongest of my plot bunnies to make it the central plot processing center (CPPC) of my chaotic mind. What are those stages?
Stage One: Inspiration
This is the birth stage of the plot bunny. At this stage something catches my eye, I pick up a piece of a conversation, or I just randomly think something. Inspiration can come from anywhere for me, there is no telling what will cause a plot bunny to spawn. BEWARE! Now, my plot bunnies never spawn alone. There are always two to five individual plot bunnies, sometimes more, that are created at the same time.
Stage Two: Weeding out the Weaklings
As mentioned, my plot bunnies spawn in multiples. This means they must be weeded out before they can progress further. Some plot bunnies end up killing themselves. Like one I had, I think it jumped off a cliff… Yeah we’ll go with that ending. It was weak and couldn’t cut it.
For the most part though, this stage includes mass genocide on the bunnies’ part. Think of something similar to what happens with Great White Sharks in their mother’s womb. Multiple eggs are fertilized, though only one emerges. This is the strongest of the other pups, and it ate the others. My plot bunnies kill off the competition, in less than PG ways. Once this stage is done only one new plot bunny remains.
Stage Three: Getting Passed WIP Bunnies
Before moving onto this stage I want to quickly define what a WIP Bunny is to me. These are plot bunnies that have made it to the CPPC and have been turned into books in my mind. I have either started on their stories, written their stories, or have built the worlds for their stories to return to later. They are no longer homeless little orphan bunnies. They have earned their place within the chaos that is my inner mind.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, Stage 3 requires the surviving plot bunny to get passed the WIP Bunnies! And these guys are cruel, absolutely merciless, killing machines that will cut down anything that would delay their story being written.
Sadly, half of all surviving plot bunnies from Stage 2 do not make it passed the WIP Bunnies. For those that do, they are one hop closer to the CPPC!
Stage Four: Mega Bunnies
This stage requires the surviving bunny to make it passed what I’ve dubbed Mega Bunnies. These are the bunnies that have spawned all the WIP Bunnies running around. They’re the keepers of my series and all their glory. Now, if this new plot bunny is an idea for an existing series, it need only find its parent Mega Bunny and deliver the plot. Done. No more to do. It officially joins the ranks of the WIP Bunnies.
If this new plot bunny presents an all new thread for a story idea, including a possible new universe and series, it must get passed the Mega Bunnies. Okay, for a quick visual. The plot bunny at this point is about a foot tall. WIP Bunnies are between three and six feet tall. Mega Bunnies are anywhere from ten to twenty feet tall. Like my Itáyu Lake Bunny, he’s huge!
So, this tiny little plot bunny must hop its way around murderous giant bunnies, hell bent on its death. And if they should catch him? SQUISH! No more plot bunny. To be fair though, by the time a bunny has reached this stage it has an eighty percent chance of survival. Fairly increased odds as compared to previous stages.
STAGE Five: CPPC
The plot bunny has made it! It’s survived his siblings, alluded the WIP Bunnies, and dodged the Mega Bunnies! Now it can insert its plot into the CPPC and be added to the ranks of my Works In Progress.
It is at this stage that the plot bunny undergoes a transformation. If the bunny is merely a single book (has only happened once) it will join the other WIP Bunnies in defending against new ideas. The more common occurrence though is that the new plot bunny spawns a whole new series, turning it into a Mega Bunny, and giving birth to many WIP Bunnies.
Now, those WIP Bunnies have their own trials they must overcome. That includes deciding who gets written first! Usually this is carried out in a similar fashion to Stage 2, without the resulting death. Though one or two bunnies have been known to lose their lives in the ensuing battle for series placement.
And that is how my plot bunnies are created and decided upon. As you can see, it is a dangerous thing to be one of my plot bunnies, which is why I always give the survivors my utmost attention. They’ve earned their cries to be written.
What stages do you have for handling a plot bunny? I’d love to know! Until then, writing this has made me think of soldier bunny shifters! I’m off to cull out more plot bunnies!