Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Got a Carrot, Anyone? - Charley R's Guide to Exploiting Plot Bunnies

An extract from "The Many and Varied Creatures of the Authorsphere".

"The Common Plot Bunny - the most common member of the wider species of Booke Bunny - is a common infestation among the fertile plains of Early Drafts, with colonies occasionally sprouting in the lower planes of Early Rewrites. Appearing in a range of sizes and shapes, and proliferating across all genres, the Common Plot Bunny is infamous for its ablity to cause upset in areas of cultivated Plot, Character Development, and in worst-case scenarios it has been known to upset entire Novels. While many a valiant author has tried to take best precautions against them, the Bunny's ability to breed very rapidly in an exceedingly short space of time renders them incredibly hard to combat, while their sheer diversity prevents development of any single surefire method of prevention."

I'm sorry I couldn't produce any more of this extract for you - I had to crawl into the lair of a Lesser Spotted Sporkbeast to retrieve it, and just my luck it happened to be at home at the time. I'm still recovering from the effects of the bite - though I like to think the purple hue will fade from my ears before too long.

NaNoWriMo has really brought my attention to how difficult it is to formulate a novel without a strict plan. I'm not normally one for this liberal approach, but the novel I am working on rather demanded some room for manouvre; loose formatting, few major plot points, and plenty of leeway for changes of direction in the story.

I should have guessed the Plot Bunnies would exploit it as well as they did. They've made a lovely mess I can tell you.

However, in the vain hope I can help you, dear readers, to defend your inky fortresses against invasions of the little monsters, I shall give you a short list of Bunny-Proofing methods that have worked best for me, in the past.

That is, if I can type them before they eat into my motor neurones.


1 - Open the Floodgates!
Having a stringent plan for a novel is by no means everyone's cup of cotton-tailed tea, but a good brainstorm never hurt anyone. Just pull out any old piece of paper, write your novel's name in the middle, and splatter any random ideas that come into your mind over it. You can be as organised or random as you like, and the best part of it is that, when a Bunny come nosing out of its warren, you can shunt the fluffy little rascal into the mind map. You'll know where it is, then, at least, and any breeding will take place on the page, where you can hopefully keep an eye on it.

2 - Wibbly-Wobbly, Plotty-Wotty. . .
Who says there's only one direction a plot can go? When a particularly interesting Bunny strikes, but you're not sure if it can follow itself all the way to a conclusion, why not just open up another document and run with it for a while? You'll either run the little monster to death, and put it firmly out of your mind, or it might even prove to be the better idea of the two, and you can carry on with it as the "main" plot line! Admittedly this will really only work for large-scale bunnies, but it can be helpful at times.

3 - Out of the Hat, Into The Fire!
The word "bunny" may not transfer easily into the word "twist", but as they both start with the word "plot", there's no harm in chopping off a few bits in the process. Turning a plot bunny into an interesting twist, or perhaps a red herring if it's too outlandish to fit in properly with the rest of the narrative, is a great way to keep most of the little rascals under control. It'll also add more complexity and depth to your plot, in the right measurements.

4 - War Bunnies, Attack!
You may well have made yourself at home in your current bastion of a story, but who knows when inspiration will strike and you'll grab your sword, shield, and pointy stick to gallivant off to conquer a new one! Having a reserve of eager, bouncing Bunnies may help you get a handle on the unruly Infant Plot and Underdeveloped Characters who will doubtless put up a valiant defence of their virgin territory. They get a home, and you get a new kingdom to rule or ruin as you please. Everyone wins. Almost.


Egad, they're coming thick and fast now! Still, I'm glad I managed to get these points to you, my readers, but feel free to leave me any tips in return! The little monsters have defeated most everything I have now - they even ate the cannon ammunition - and I could do with any helpful suggestions.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make sure they haven't gotten into the gunpowder-

. . . Oh.

Never mind.

~ Charley R


  1. Perhaps we could find you a Pernese Dragon - though they prefer alrger pray - maybe a couple fairs of Firelizards then?

    *giggles* (so fun to be able to type that knowing you'll now understand and just yesterday I realize I had one more book I could have sent you! - Dragon Lovers Guide to Pern - which goes into some of the fun world building stuff!)

    1. I'd just settle for a dragon. You can get more than one bunny in a mouthful, and I certainly have enough to go around.


  2. This is an incredible post! WOW! I loved it! That was super helpful and gave me some great ideas! Hurrah! Thanks, Charley!!! :D

    1. Thank you!
      Please. Pass me. The pointy stick. On your way out.
      Bunnies . . . overwhelming . . . HELP!

  3. Wibbly Wobbly Plotty Wotty. Sounds like mine. A plot bunny! I like bunnies...unless they can smell fear. *Jumps on Flynn's back.*

    1. I think they can. As well as blood, sweat, tears, and dirty socks.

      Fleeeeee! SAVE YOURSELF!

  4. You know, I'd never heard of the term *plot bunnies* until recently. They do sound like terrible little devils. Well, now I know, I can be more prepared. Really well written post!

    1. Thank you! I hope you are well armed enough to defend yourself - they're tenacious, and heck knows the cuteness is sometimes blinding!

  5. Darn those creatures! Bad ones come hopping along and leap right into the middle of a plot that DOES NOT NEED THEM, but good ones only allow you a fleeting glance before becoming decidedly taciturn!

    Hehehe. Taciturn. Tis a brilliant word.

  6. Taciturn is, indeed, a spectacular specimen of a word.

    And your observation on our leoporine enemies is also most accurate. I applaud it!

  7. I have been pushing plot bunnies into holes recently. Mainly because all of their ideas gave me FEELS where no feels should have been.

  8. I'm into plot bunny husbandry. I love the little guys. If you don't have any plot bunnies, you aren't writing.

    I don't know what kind you get, because I don't feel at all like you. I mean, yes, a plot bunny would be bad if it began like "If I had only started the novel this way..." but if it's something like "What if characters one and two went left instead of right?"