Facts of Life,  Fun,  Writing World

How To Ignore Your Plot Bunny

They’re cute. They’re shiny. And they always pop up when you have the LEAST amount of time for them, always, always when you’re super busy with another project (or three). Meet the FRICKING PLOT BUNNIES!

See, this is my brain on a story high:

Brain: OMG, this story we’re working on is amazing! Let’s work on another one!
Me: Um, no.
Brain: Look at it! (points to shiny new idea) Look how shiny it is! Think of the adventure. Think of the magic!
Me: I am. It’s called brainstorming. It’s up next. (mumbling: along with whatever else you decide you want to work on at the same time.)
Brain: hugs self I want it! Give it!
Me: Slow your roll, dude! I said it’s up next!
Brain: faints from excitement

See, shiny new ideas are SUPER exciting. Like, MEGA, like WOW! Right? And sometimes we just don’t want to say no to them because they are SO pretty and sparkly (and cuddly and adorable and they’re like sugar!)

But here’s the thing, folks, we have other freaking ideas to finish. If we keep heaping stories onto our plates, we’ll never finish anything! So here is my approach:

SHINY NEW IDEA (SNI): tugs at my pants legs and bats its eyelashes at me Hi.
Me: turns away from keyboard OMG, look at you! pet
SNI: I’ve been baking.
Me: I know, it’s going so great!
SNI: I’m ready now.
Me: Dear Lord…no. No, you’re not. There’s still the one thing. Remember? That thing?
SNI: We both know there’s no ‘thing’. You want to write me now. I can see it in your eyes. And such pretty eyes you have!
Me: momentarily distracted whilst I check myself out Oh? Thank you!
SNI: beams I’m so excited!
Me: Wait, what?
SNI: I won’t be a bother. I’m happy to share your brain with everyone else.
Me: Uh, here’s the thing. There’s only so much space up there.

(aside – Brain: yeah, empty space, heh, heh.)

Me: (ignores Brain) I promise I’ll get to you. I’m very excited about your story, but I’m sooo busy right now.
SNI: wags fluffy tail I’ll be so quiet. You won’t even know I’m there. turns up the cute and shiny factors
Me: Erg! Soo, pretty. takes a deep breath and points to the sky Hey, look a UFO!
SNI: looks up Wha?
Me: slams a glass bowl over its giant fluffy head Stay.
SNI: sleeps

plot_bunny 2
Ah, yes, sleep little monster, sleep long time.

Okay, so maybe the giant bowl will only work for a week or two, but hey! that’s a week or two of peace! And here are some other things that work:

–Throwing the beastie into a crockpot for a nice super slow bake.
–Outlining a chapter and then sneaking it back onto the shelf while it’s in la-la land.
–Brainstorming while you’re busy at work and can’t write anyway.
–Making a playlist for it to pacify it for a spell. (This puts it in a temporary music coma.)
–Putting that monster in a cage!! And locking it. I also find a proverbial sheep field works, provided it comes with a tall fence and a sturdy lock on the gate. (I prefer the non-electric variety, but we do what we have to.)

And remember, your plot bunny loves you. Today anyway. It’s not going anywhere. Well, not as long as there are carrots lying around. Show your plot bunny you love it and keep it happy with frequents pets and the occasional walk. But do remember to keep your plot bunny on a leash, least it try to sneak into your brain while you’re staring off into space. (end PSA)


  • Lillith

    I’ve yet to master this. I’m trying to do this with a YA Gaslamp Fantasy idea so I can finish my YA Paranormal at least 50% before I start on the other one. Sooo not happening, the MC for my YA Gaslamp keeps knocking on my brain and asking if it’s time for her story yet. At this point I’m ready to compromise by doing short stories about her life long as it’ll allow me to get at least 50%-75% of the other story done.

    It’s like, good lord! Just let me get to somewhere between chapters 12 and 17 will you?! I get it, I do, that means you’ll have to wait 9 to 14 more chapters. I get that it’s hard, but I want to get this mostly done first.

    • krystal jane

      ^_^ Yes, it can drive you crazy after a while. I’ve been in outlining mode this month for the most persistent ideas. So far, they have been placated. I don’t usually outline stories all the way through before I start, but I can’t draft 3 stories at the same time, so this was the compromise we came up with, along with me promising to add to and edit the outlines with their notes as they come up. I can do that much at least. And it’ll help me write faster later. Good luck finding the right balance! *hands over plot bunny handcuffs in case you need them*

      • Lillith

        *takes plot bunny cuffs* Thank you kindly, Krystal. I will be sure to make use of them if they’re needed. I’ve got the feeling one of those little 6 by 4 note books is what I will need to contain these things.

        Hopefully with this story I will know my character more by the time I’m ready to seriously start plotting and later writing. Shorts should hopefully tell me if a plot point I envision is good or sucks.

  • eric keys

    Great advice! I tend to use your crock-pot advice. I usually make a few notes (eg, adding some carrots, onions, etc.) and then lock that meat up in evernote (eg, my cock-pot.) I have a special folder for ideas as oppose to manuscripts I’m actively working on.

    Also, praise God for my browser’s spell checker… You would not believe the typo I made on crock-pot. Well, actually, if you’ve read enough of my stories you might think I had done it on purpose… 😉

    • krystal jane

      I wouldn’t make it without my crock-pots. I reluctantly wrangled another stray idea into one with a fresh pile of notes yesterday. Dude! I’m so glad you mentioned Evernote! I downloaded it a few months ago, forgot about it, and then I couldn’t find it on my phone. Lol!

      I also wouldn’t make it without spell checker. ^_^
      A little worried about how you were trying to spell crock-pot now. Lol!

      • eric keys

        Evernote is pretty awesome. I use it all the time. Definitely try to find it again. It’s worth it!

        Ha! I’d tell you but I’d rather let the thought simmer in your mind a bit. 😉

      • krystal jane

        Lol! Definitely simmering!
        And it’s my lucky day! The app needed to be updated, so I looked for the folder that had that updating circle on it. Lol! I can’t believe I couldn’t find it! Back in business. ^_^

  • Ashley Dominique

    Lol. I’m shockingly good at telling all of my plot bunnies no. I prefer to lock them in a cage in Siberia so I forget about them. When I finally get around to it, I then need to fatten them up, which is fun. Maybe I should stop ignoring them for so long. Then again I could never keep fish because I would forget t feed them. Out of sight out of mind, for better or worse.

  • Michelle Tran (@michelletwrites)

    Great post! I am so glad I haven’t had to deal with an ‘infestation’ of plot bunnies! Normally if I get an idea for a new story, I’ll just jot it down in a notebook. The act of handwriting it is somehow cathartic to me. What I have trouble now is leaving my finished manuscript and going wholeheartedly into my WIP because I start to miss the old world I’ve built.

    • krystal jane

      I think missing the old story is one of the reasons I end up juggling so many ideas between projects. I’m just not ready to get invested in another world! Hopefully, you’ll never be buried under plot bunnies. It is SO hard to keep them from breeding once they start. This attack on me came out of nowhere, and I’ve been dealing with it all year!

  • Jennifer Austin - Author

    I actually don’t have this problem. I am so focused and driven (some my say obsessed) that I can only work on one thing at a time. To the point I probably neglected a lot of things I should be working on! Good luck with those pesky bunnies!

  • Michelle A (@SunflowerRei)

    You and your brain have the funniest dialogue, Krystal. Really. I have a mini-infestation of plot bunnehs, but one of them is calming down now that I can work on it! It’s now going from bunny-shaped to story-shaped. I can’t wait to figure out this plot!

    • krystal jane

      Ha,ha. We have good times. ^_^ I love being surrounded by shiny plot points, but I am ready for them sleep now. Lol! Story-shaped ideas are so exciting! I can’t wait to hear about what you’re whipping up for your lastest project.

  • Jodi

    This is the second post I’ve read in which you have COOKED A POOR BUNNY. You’re worse than my empathetic sadist who dreams of tying his beloved to a tree.

    All that aside, thanks for these awesome tips for dealing with those aggressive (albeit attractive) little SNIs! I’ve been dealing with a ton of them lately. I think writing a series makes those little critters even more appealing. You kind of get bored with your story world and ready to venture elsewhere.

    Those bunnies in the cups are the cutest things EVER. If my plot bunnies look like that, then I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep them all and play with them every minute of the day.

    • krystal jane

      I know, right?! There are the cutest things ever. I want to put them in my bag and take them to work with me so I can stare at them all day before I slam the glass bowls over their heads at night. Lol! Muh-ha-ha. ^_^

      You know, there is something about working on something for a while and working on something you love that just has bunnies popping out of everywhere! It might be safe to play with your plot bunnies right now since you’re in editing mode but keep a CLOSE eye on them! I love them so much, but you gotta lock them up sometimes. I think I’m learning a lesson in letting the gate fly open between projects. Lol!

  • Tonja Drecker (@TDrecker)

    Aw! Your plot bunnies are so cute!
    I shove my plot bunnies into an idea file. Most lose their glistening cover quickly, but some keep dabbing me with their little noses and they grow. Little by little. First when they’ve reached a proper idea size, do I let them out.

    Great tips!

    • krystal jane

      Right! ^_^ Tis true that many of them stop being so shiny rather quickly. Persistence most definitely pays off in the plot bunny field. I really like the mental picture that comes along with shoving plot bunnies into a file. Lol!

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