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How to Train your Plot Bunnies

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My biggest struggle at the moment is bunnies.

Not the cute fuzzy ones my best friends used to own, but the nasty, distracting kind. Plot Bunnies are story ideas that pop up out of nowhere. Only that sadly they aren’t for the story you SHOULD be working on. The story I should be working on. And man, are they tempting.

They can lead you down rabbit holes that go all the way to China when all you actually wanted was to find a name for your imaginary small town, or your characters favorite sandwich. They have nothing to do with what you are trying to concentrate on but they are shiny and new while your story starts to lose steam by the minute. It’s looking a bit ragged at this point. The only thing that keeps me from chasing all the bunnies is … well, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but I know however nice a bunny looks now, it will get just as shabby and ragged when I try to catch it as the story I try to work on at the moment.

BUT and this is important so hear me out: this is my third, maybe fourth attempt at a novel and by now I have a simple but effective and useful way of dealing with the little buggers. I set up an idea collection in my bullet journal. You don’t need a bullet journal to write down all the bunnies, though. It is just how I keep ideas where I can always access them. I write them down to get them out of the way. In a way I deep freeze them for later use. Once I have done that I can get back to where I was. The uncomfortable part of my novel. Which is a good thing even if I don’t see it that way until I am past that point. Or done with my book. Whatever comes first.

But back to the bunnies. There were times where I was too vague when writing down what I came up with. Later on when I tried to revisit the bunnies … they had long died. So in order to keep the idea alive you have to be precise, but on point. That is another thing you might have to practise if it feels hard. Don’t use more than three sentences. You will see that it gets easier with each try. It also helped me getting my point across in social interactions by the way. Just keep it in mind and most of all learn to value your bunnies for what they are. Future gold mines. Never follow them completely until you are done with one project, but once you are, you grab the fattest and most tempting one right by its tail and squeeze rainbows and sparkles out of it. Or in case you like it moody impending doom and eternal darkness.

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