Remember that commitment at the beginning of the year you made to yourself to write that book? Well, I hope you're still clinging vigorously to that resolution. It's been nearly 6 weeks since New Year's Day and it's right around now that most resolutions fall by the wayside.
If you're adhering to some kind of writing plan--working away on your word count, spending time every day (or at least every other day...once a week...or whenever you find yourself with a spare moment)--good on you. That path is a sometimes treacherous one...and one that is often inhabited by the dreaded plot bunny.
Plot bunnies are the plague of the busy writer. They can strike at any time and consume your thoughts, your energy, and your precious, precious time.
It's all too easy to submit to these voracious beasts, especially if you're in a rut with your current WIP. The lure of a new story, the potential for fresh characters and a new start...they're all too easy to pursue, right up until the next plot bunny latches on with its gruesome fangs.
But you can manage these beasts. Not only can they be caught and domesticated; they can become productive sources of ideas and creativity in the future.
Follow these steps for successful plot bunny husbandry:
1. Capture the plot bunny.
When inspiration strikes, write whatever the main idea is down. Plot bunnies can strike anywhere and anytime, so keep a notebook and pen on you wherever you go (if you aren't carrying one already).
2. Feed the plot bunny.
Give yourself some time to tame the little beast by assuaging its desires: give it a little room and flesh it out. But don't spoil the thing by devoting every waking moment of your time trying to make it into some bloated beast of a project. Some of these plot bunnies are shallow and short-lived, so there's no sense in trying to wring it of everything it's got.
3. Leave the plot bunny.
Seems counter-intuitive to abandon the poor creature after you've done so much for it, doesn't it? But there's a simple and harsh reason for this: only the strongest plot bunny will survive, and, let's face it, with plot bunnies overrunning you as it is, letting the stock cull itself will ultimately mean a better crop of stories.
4. Breed the plot bunnies.
Even the strongest plots need a little love, and even if they've gotten this far, they ultimately may not survive on their own. Why not marry your ideas together to produce the super plot bunny? What you get may surprise and delight you.
5. Kill, gut, skin, dry and store your plot bunnies.
All plot bunnies, dead or thriving, should be kept in notebooks or binders or whatever system it is you keep for roving ideas. With proper preservation and storage, they will last indefinitely. You never know when you might need them!