When far too many plot bunnies abound, hopping around inside your head like mental asylum inmates at Easter, you’re often faced with a difficult choice. Just as too many cooks can spoil the broth, too many plot bunnies can spoil a story. Foreign Ambassador for a Norwegian Novel Setting Plot Bunny would have a beef with Foreign Ambassador for a Japan Novel Setting Plot Bunny, and both would hate Foreign Ambassador for a Norwegian AND Japan setting Plot Bunny out of principle. Too many Cool Villain Prototype Plot Bunnies will bog the story down. Team Protagonist x Love Interest #1 Happy Ending Plot Bunny obviously contradicts Team Protagonist x Love Interest #2 Happy Ending Plot Bunny.
And that is why you will need to take your hunting rifle and your best Elmer Fudd imitation, because with plot bunnies, wabbit season… I mean rabbit season, is always open.
If anything, you should probably kill them for their names alone.
1. Mark out your targets. Hunters determine how many rabbits they need to kill to satisfy a quota. Are they hunting for enough pelts to satisfy a few people’s clothing preferences, or a conglomerate that sells fur coats? How many family members / friends / freeloaders do they have to feed? Same goes for plot bunnies. Accept only as many plot bunnies as your story can allow for. How many villains or secondary characters / locations does your novel REALLY need? No, seriously; one dozen criminal masterminds don’t really have much of a place in a romance novel. And does it really need all that many Angst bunnies? Putting House on Fire Lose all your Worldly Possessions Bunny, Your Family Dies bunny, Friends Abandon You bunny, Villain Gets your Girl bunny, You’re not Even Handsome, Protagonist bunny all in the same book might just be a little too much.
2. Set traps. If you’d like to get rid of those pesky rabbits that come to gnaw on your garden, then plant traps by your fence. If you’re aiming for some of those fat and nutritious rabbits, set traps in rural areas where their favorite foods grow in bulk. Set similar traps in your novels.
A case study: Your plot involves a damsel in distress dangling over a large bubbling cauldron of acid. With a dragon standing guard. An armored dragon. And a seven-headed demon. Two seven-headed demons. And a floating head with its own entrails trailing after it.
Now set your trap. Which villain of the dozen Villain Prototype Bunnies you’ve got would most likely be attracted to this kind of scenario? What kind of Hero from your list of Heroic Prototype Bunnies would most likely rise to this challenge? And while you’re at it, which would be the most likely monster standing guard over an imprisoned princess for your book – an armored dragon, two seven-headed demons, or a floating head with entrails? Pick one. I know it’s hard. It’s like being forced to pick one gelato ice cream flavor out of a selection of your favorites. But picking only one makes you value the one you did pick all the more.
3. Kill, kill, kill. Now that you’ve successfully baited and trapped your plot bunny/ies of choice, what do you do with the surplus? Answer’s pretty simple.
If your plot deals solely with Buddhism and geishas, Foreign Ambassador for a Norwegian Novel Setting Plot Bunny would complicate matters. Stop making your main character Norwegian just so you can add him into the mix, and kill off all mention of fjords and salmon. (Shoot Foreign Ambassador for a Norwegian and Japan setting Bunny in the head to make sure it doesn’t re-animate.)
Team Love Interest Happy Ending Bunnies? Pick one, shoot the other. Or give each of them five minutes to explain why the love interest they’re supporting should be selected for your novel, then shoot the ones who’s less sappy / cheesy about it.
Trap 1-2 Cool Villain Prototype Bunnies (a bit more if you’re gunning for a series), then shoot the rest. If it’s any consolation, they would have killed you if you hadn’t killed them first.
4. Don’t be a glutton. As mentioned before, you need to trim your book and allow it to be as concise and as tight as possible, and that includes cutting away all the copious amounts of fat. Yes I know – a little bit of fat goes well with meat, but too much will lead to heart attacks and an early death.
But this plot bunny has the bestest and funniest subplot ever! If it doesn’t go well with the rest of the book, cut it. Steak served just that perfect serving of medium rare may by delicious, but not if it’s breakfast and you’ve got cereal and milk on the table. If it doesn’t work with the book or overcomplicates the plot then it will never work, no matter how brilliant you think it is. Store it away for a time you’ll be serving mashed potatoes and a bottle of South African Pinotage for dinner.
5. Repeat steps 1-4. Since this is a metaphorical rabbit that can exist in every conceivable space in your mind right up to the furthest reaches you would allow for, be secure in the thought that no amount of killing will ever put an end to your flow of rabbits. Plot bunnies breed and multiply just as vigorously as any other similar specie of long-eared furry mammal you can think of (like hares and … jerboa … and certain kinds of chipmunks, and … I dunno, frogs?) so no matter how many you kill today, know this: they will be back tomorrow. Probably even sooner. There’s probably one behind your chair right now.
So put on your little striped hunter’s hat and be vewy vewy quiet: you’re hunting plot bunnies.
April 2012 Blog Chain Participants:
orion_mk3 – http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com
KatieJ – http://www.crystalwindchimes.wordpress.com/
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/
kiwiviktor81 – http://storygenerator.net
Nissie – http://www.paperheroes.net
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/
Bogna – http://bemaslanka.wordpress.com/
dclary – http://www.davidwclary.com/
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com
julzperri – http://www.fishandfrivolity.blogspot.com/
Penelope – http://poet-slash-writer.blogspot.com/
AFord – http://af12.webs.com/
Araenvo – http://plottypus.blogspot.com/
areteus – http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/
magicmint – http://www.loneswing.com/
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com
Joliedupre – http://www.preciousmonsters.com/