Don’t Feed the Bunnies (or maybe you should, just don’t expect to sell them)
Posted by monicamynk
Plot bunnies are ideas, usually those nagging, annoying ones that you can’t get out of your head until you get them down on paper. They aren’t always good, but they do get the creative juices flowing, so I generally reserve them for those days when I can’t think of anything else to write.
At the beginning of the story! I might write 12,000 words of nonsense, indulging the characters and idea to go wherever they want. It’s the perfect brainstorm, and more than that, a great resource for ideas when you write yourself into a corner.
That babbling rough draft might be full of comma splices and dangling participles, but you can analyze the characters a bit and get a picture of what you want them to be like in the story.
Also, I think indulging the plot bunnies helps to define WHEN the story should start. It helps me get a feel for the sequence of events that I want to happen and explore the “what if” from a specific direction. If I don’t like that direction, I can outline in a different way.
So yes, feed the bunnies as much as you want to. Just don’t expect a Plot Bunny indulgence to lead to a polished draft of a story.
I participate in critiquing on several writing forums, and I think that’s the biggest issue I see. People keep posting their indulgent writing and get their feelings hurt when someone tells them it’s not New York Times Bestseller material. You can’t expect to write a single draft of a story in a few days and come up with something brilliant and ready to publish. Don’t do that to your readers, and don’t do that to yourself.
Most of the published authors I’ve met have spent at least a decade writing, rewriting, editing, re-editing, and polishing their debut novels. So, as I tell my children, like the old Kung Fu master said, “Have patience, young grasshopper. These things take time!”