Friday 6 May 2016

Making things up: the care and feeding of Plot Bunnies

by Teri Terry
a.k.a. the Bunny Whisperer

Part 4 in Making Things Up: a blog series about the creative process.
The other day I was chatting with one of my fellow bloggers - Addy - and made a comment about Plot Bunnies, when she said....

What is a Plot Bunny?

Just in case any other writers out there aren't in with the Plot Bunnies, here we go!
And if this is all sounding rather daft to the sensible, here is the literary kudos. Although Plot Bunnies have been around since the beginning of time, Steinbeck phrased it rather nicely:
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a few and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. John Steinbeck

Plot Bunnies inhabit your daydreams, your unconscious, your subconscious, everywhere you're not using logic or conscious thought, and they want attention. One bunny leads to another, and another, and another - and you never know where they might take you. 

They can be distracting, but ignore them at your peril. They are the lifeblood of being a writer.

It can be very tempting when you're deep in the writing cave to ignore your Plot Bunnies. You're a Serious Writer; you have a deadline, whether self-imposed or in a contract. You are focused, committed, and you will write 1000 words or whatever you've set yourself and you will finish chapter X. Serious Writers don't have time for the bunnies.

Plot Bunnies are your friends, and they must be cared for and nurtured. If they are, they refuse to go away until you write them. They are those ideas that wiggle and jump inside your head for attention; they must be written. They NEED to be written. They will make your writing better. They may make you waste time now and then, true, but if you routinely quash them down, they may not be there when you need them.

So, how do you encourage visits by these shy and elusive creatures? This depends on the writer and Plot Bunnies involved.

My Plot Bunnies need the following:

Tea. Lots of tea, in mugs with interesting or inspirational messages (Don't Panic, above, is one of my favourites).

Notebooks. usually brightly coloured, with or without frogs and hamsters. 

Banrock - of course. As chief muse he is a Plot Bunny wrangler. 

The *right* pens 

Appropriate T shirts: particularly favoured if actual bunnies are involved, as above. 


Environmentally unfriendly long showers, where I'm so away with the Plot Bunnies that I can't remember whether I've washed my hair or not and have to start over again. 

Sometimes, even chocolate and wine!!
Banrock, Chief Muse and Plot Bunny Wrangler,
 has been there since the beginning:
here he is with Slated proofs - back in 2011!
No matter how important and serious your writing is to you - and believe me, mine is to me - without enough of the crazy, it just doesn't work.  

Thanks to Cathy for the photo of her bunny, Alice


  1. I was so distracted by all those cute bunny pictures and had to re-read for the actual meaning of plot bunnies. Thank you, your blog explains these curious creatures perfectly.

    1. You're very welcome!
      I'm planning to make friends with many this weekend at the Scooby writing retreat

  2. Hurrah for plot bunnies! Mine tend to lope around late at night after turning out the light.

  3. I really like that t-shirt .. though I'd never heard of plot bunnies until I read this. I sure need a few!


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