I've talked before about plot devices (found here) but I wanted to do another piece today more specifically on plot bunnies. I know we've all heard that phrase before, but just in case you haven't, it simply refers to the idea that ideas will pop up and reproduce like bunnies, ergo, plot bunnies. In all my years of writing, I have had ideas that go from one extreme to the next, ones that linger and languish as if starved to death, and ones that grow and grow until it's all I can think about!
I am now at the point in my writing that I'm close to the end of my two current projects, in fact I should be finishing them by the end of April, and as usual at this stage of things, I'm scrambling around trying to find out if I have any ideas for the next book in one series, and a brand new book to write alongside it. I have, for a very long time, always made a note of my plot bunnies as they pop up, some will get turned into a story, others are too thin to do that and will usually end up as a scene or chapter wherever I can.
Now I always worry about this, like what if after 30+ books, I can't think of anything?? What happens if I don't have any ideas after these two are done? And to top it off, I'm in the midst of releasing another book, not releasing a second (which I talked about in this video, and will do a piece about later) as I usually do, and my stress levels are through the roof. So how can I find the time to start brainstorming, and does it really matter if I don't immediately start writing two new books? I mean, are the writing police going to come after me? I don't think so, but it's still stressing me out.
And yet, as soon as I stop thinking about it, I realise I already do have two, or more, ideas written down. I have a tentative title for the third book in the series, and I kinda know what the main plot is going to be, but it's the rest of it that worries me. And I'm telling myself, even as I write this piece that it's okay if I don't know right now, I don't need to know right now, and if I take a break, it's okay to do that. I work hard, I write a whole ton, if I don't start on May 1st, the world is not going to end.
I think that a lot of the time, the root of the anxiety is that I don't know when the plot bunnies stopped multiplying, I don't know when I stopped having ideas every few months and getting excited about them. To be brutally honest, I don't know if they ever really did for me, and it starts off this whole burst of imposter syndrome where I can't help but feel like if I was a 'real' writer, I would have ideas coming out of my ears. And it's not true. It's simply not true.
Whether you're a writer like me who sometimes finds the plot bunny land a little barren, or you're someone who finds ideas are multiplying and you have way too many to keep up with, you're still valid. You're still a writer, no matter what anyone else might say or think on the matter. I don't know whether it's because I focus so much on the ideas I'm working on at the time, or if I truly just need to actually think to be able to come up with some kind of idea, either way, what works for me is okay, and it's still valid.
Now I know that me saying that with almost 19 books published, and another 16 or so in various stages of finished and revision, is a big difference to someone who's struggling to find the idea that will take them to the end of their first novel. There are so many different ways in telling a story, and even if, like me, you have to really dedicate time to think things through, that's okay, you will get there. Keep going, the world needs your story no matter how long it took you to come up with it.
Just something to think about.
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below.
Monday 19 April 2021
Plot Bunnies - The Creative Process