I was going through old papers not too long ago and stumbled across a notebook that has to be over ten years old. Amongst the random scribbles that made very little sense was a note about the term “rafter dancing”. Seems it was a title an ex had thought up for something or other, a story or a screenplay. And because I know him well, I had a pretty good idea what he was referring to.
Which, of course, led to a new story idea.
Ever heard the term “plot bunny” before? I had, but I had no clue what it meant, until I put out a tweet about the new idea and got a response: “Follow that bunny!”
Plot bunnies are story ideas that won’t leave you alone until you’ve written the story. Now, I’m no stranger to this (as my writing buddies can attest). Despite my attempts at an organizational system to keep track of all my documents on new story ideas, I often have to dig through my Google Docs to find the one I’m thinking of. Which means…there’s a lot of them. At last count, I think I had six new ideas, which does not include projects where I’ve written at least the first three chapters or the overview for the series (don’t make me count those. Please.).
I’m sane. I promise. Or mostly sane, anyway.
And often times those notes will just get away from me and I can’t stop working on the new idea (which is the whole point of a plot bunny).
I fell victim to plot bunny attack recently, even. I came up with the idea for my futuristic novella Touch, started it, had a new idea come to me in a dream, abandoned Touch to start the new project (Misspent Honey), got halfway through, then got hit with another idea (What Didn’t Happen That Night) and went with that until I reached the end.
You might think this is a great problem to have. It’s not. Not really. The problem with having a rabbit breeder living where my imagination resides is trying to take one idea and flesh it out enough to complete the story. Oh, and then deciding which one to work on. And resisting the temptation to do so when I really ought to finish one of my other projects. Or edit. Or go to the gym. Or read. Or even make dinner. Yes, I’ve skipped dinner on a few occasions because that would mean getting my ass off the couch and I’d have to stop typing.
Not good for your health, these bunnies are.
I’m trying to resist. I typed up a working synopsis for my ideas for Rafter Dancing and sketch in scenes when they come to me. I just have to hope that by the time I can actually sit down and do the story justice I’ll remember the rush of feelings that came along with that new bunny, because that’s what drives the story.
And if I don’t, well, it’s not like I’m hurting for new material. *ducks flying rotten tomatoes*
I can’t be the only one who has bunny issues. Do you go with it? Do you wrangle it back into its cage where it belongs? Do you have a better organizational system than I do (and that you don’t mind me stealing)?