Friday, December 16, 2011

Winter Writer #2: Bunny Farming

In the first part of this series, I talked about regaining my creative strength and refilling the well. It's only natural that   would lead to new ideas and sparks of creativity!

But I have already decided that this month will involve no heavy lifting. So how to channel these creative energies without leaping headfirst into a new intensive project?

Let's farm some bunnies.

According to Wikiwrimo (the NaNoWriMo Wiki):
A plot bunny is a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. 
(Check out the rest of the article for a more in-depth view of plot bunnies.)

It's often described as the little niggling idea that comes to you in the midst of a WIP. Say you're writing sci-fi, but you realize mid-sentence that you've got a great idea for a steampunk trilogy, or that your current main character would really be more suited to a romance work. These new ideas can interrupt the flow and distract from your current enterprise.

And like any persistent rodent, you may not realize it's moved in until it's too late and it's had babies. Many many babies. Before you know it, your main work is neglected and you've gotten sidetracked following this white rabbit wherever it takes you.

The trick is to become a rabbit rustler, a Leporidae tamer, a bunny shepard. Corral those little brutes into a pen, toss in a few carrots, and tell them to wait patiently until you're ready. And when the time is right, throw yourself into their midst and rummage around until you find one that will make for a perfect new plot. Having some plot bunnies in reserve ensures that you have new project ideas waiting to be explored.

Now that I'm on break, I am actively cultivating these plot ideas, storing them up and harvesting them for when I return to the writing fray. I'm shoring up ideas for characters, settings, themes, and even twists and subplots.

If you're looking to grow some new plot ideas, here are a few resources to try:

Creative Writing Prompts - a site with over 300 prompts for the taking
Writer's Digest Writing Prompts - an archive of prompts from WD
Writing Prompts on Tumblr - designed by teachers to get teens thinking and writing
Seventh Sanctum - tons of generators. Need a name for an arch-villain, a special fighting move, or a fantasy world? Look no further!

The 3 a.m. Epiphany - unique writing exercises
The Writer's Toolbox - a fun box set of prompts, story starters, and a character wheel
The Writer's Book of Matches - chockfull of story ideas

Story Cubes - new plot ideas with just a roll of the dice! These are so fun, you won't want to stop.

These are just a handful of the resources I've used. There are tons of others out there. You can also try:
- setting your music player on shuffle and writing to whatever song pops up first
- scrolling through an image database like Flickr and finding an image that inspires you

Do any of you actively farm bunnies? How do you deal with an errant bunny that won't leave you be?

Winter Writer Part #1: Self-study


  1. Oooh plot bunnies. I was in bed last night, listening to music, and this idea came over me. I like to picture it hopping around, having lots and lots and lots of babies.

    Thanks for the links! I'm going to check those out :D

  2. @Miss Cole: Music is a great motivator. Plus it's a great way to procrastinate, since each new WIP requires its own soundtrack!

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