The little creature scurries up to your yard, its big eyes round and curious as it surveys the waiting pages of your story. In its paws, it clutches a little pink ball covered in scrawling black letters: the one you’ve been searching for so long.
You glance at the bunny, not daring to make eye contact, your eyes settled firmly on its little package. Carefully, you step forward, taking care to seem non threatening as you pull out a carrot.
“Hey little guy, want a carrot?”
The bunny’s nose twitches as it stares at the carrot. Its ears prick up as it eyes you cautiously, taking one small hop forward.
“That’s it.” You smile, holding the carrot out enticingly. “Come on, cute little bunny, come to the writer. Look, I have lots of yummy carrots for you! All you have to do is hand over that plot idea–“
And in a flash, the bunny is gone. You throw down the carrot in frustration, trudging back to your story. You hope the bunny will return, but you also know it’s not likely. Once a plot bunny senses it is in danger of being caught, it’s likely it will never return to that same spot again.
Plot bunnies. Love em, hate em, every writer deals with them. But today, I’m going to give you some tips on how to handle these elusive little varmints. Whether you’re a pure newbie to plot bunnies or a seasoned veteran, there should be something new for you to learn.
(But first, a quick apology for not posting for like…a month. Oops. December has been a busy month, probably been my busiest month yet this year! We’ve had people over, usual holiday busyness, had parties and done lots of baking…etc, etc, and I just haven’t had time to blog. But now, hopefully I will be back to a regular blogging schedule soon.
We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.)
What is a plot bunny, you ask? Well, simply put, they’re annoying little varmints who hop around teasing you with great plot ideas, doing their best to lure you away from your story to play with them. If you’re lucky, you can catch and corral them to use in your stories, but unfortunately, these bunnies are very fast and sneaky, sometimes making you waste several hours of precious writing time chasing after them.
Is it worth it, you ask? Well…yeah. That’s why we keep chasing them, isn’t it? But there is more than one way ta skin a cat–er, nab a bunny–and some ways work much better than others. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the different types of plot bunnies, as well as where to find them and how best to nab them.
Ready? Let’s go rabbit-huntin’, cowboys!!
1. First off, you’ve got your regular little plot bunny. He’s got a tempting little idea in his thieving paws (yes, you do know nothing is original, right? Plot bunnies steal others’ story ideas and then present them as their own, the sneaky little critters!) and will do his best to tempt you with it. Maybe it’s exactly the thing you need right now, too, which only makes it that much more temptin’.
Now, depending on the age and experience of the bunny, he may be easy to catch…but he may also not be. These bunnies like to hide around the edges of a story, maybe even nibble the pages while you’re not looking, so be careful! The key to catching them is to simply not chase them, as they will bolt faster than you can say ‘Rabbits!’. But these plot bunnies in particular are extremely playful and curious, so being ignored is possibly the worst thing that could happen to them. Eventually, they will get so bored that they will most times jump straight into reach, or even sometimes right into your lap. Then, quick as a flash, nab em and corral them! Those bunnies should’ve known better than to mess with you. 😉
2. Then, there’s the second type of plot bunny, also known as a cousin to the plot bunny. It’s the story plot bunny, and he’s got an entire book’s potential wrapped up in his meaty paws. They are much bigger than your average bunny, and much easier to catch, but don’t be fooled; this bunny comes with an entirely different set of problems.
See, the one thing plot bunnies love most, other than attention, is food–also known as words. And the big story plot bunnies are the hungriest of them all, constantly demanding you turn your attention towards them and feed them. Unfortunately, that only makes these bunnies grow more, and the bigger they are, the hungrier they are. These bunnies don’t bolt when you chase them, unlike plot bunnies, because they want to be caught. My advice is, if a story bunny jumps into your yard, just do your very best to put it out of mind until you’ve finished your current story. Ignore its cries and complaints–it’s a fictional thing and will not starve no matter how much it tells you it will. 😉
3. Finally, there are the third, and most elusive bunnies of all, the ones writers love and yet despise the most. They are the dream plot bunnies, so named perhaps because the plots they offer are like those of your dreams, or because they can vanish so quickly that you assume it was only a dream. Their favorite time is night, sneaking dangerously close to you while you’re falling asleep and curling up next to you, assuring you they will still be there by morning, that you don’t have to pen them up or anything. You may even hold them, think you’ve got them safely in your arms, but then you let your guard down for a moment, and bam! The bunny will be gone before you can say ‘Rabbits!’, and then they’ll just be somebunny that you used to know. (I know, that was terrible, but I had to. 😉
If one of these bunnies sneak up next to you, speed is your only tool. Nab the little bugger as quick as possible and ignore its soothing talk as you lock it firmly in a pen. Then, and only then, will it actually be there in the morning. Also, you may require special security for these bunnies, for they have been known to escape pens other bunnies can’t. These bunnies are the hardest to catch, but usually hold the best ideas of all, so if you see your chance, nab them!
There are rare instances when plot bunnies may return if you whistle loudly enough and put out carrots, but most of them are too clever to fall for that ruse, and if they do, they are probably the small and weak plot bunnies that require much more effort to sustain. I’ve also heard a rumor that some writers like to call out “Silly bunny, plots are for writers!”** when trying to catch a plot bunny. I’ve never tried it–but who knows, maybe they’re onto something.
If you do try that approach, let me know how it goes. For now, my best bet is just to make the bunnies think I’m disinterested; it always seems to pique their curiosity. A watched pot never boils, but an unwatched pot always boils…or…an ignored bunny will always come back to you eventually.
Plot bunnies are extremely playful creatures above all else, so use that to your advantage. It’ll take all your strength, skill, and cunning, but I know you can do it!
Now get out there and wrangle them plot varmints, little dogies! 😉 Yeehaw!
-The Plot Bunny Wrangler
**This method has not been proven and will in no way guarantee the capture of a plot bunny, nor is it endorsed by the Plot Bunny Wrangler (c). Use at your own discretion.**