“Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were– Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.
‘Now my dears,’ said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, ‘you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor. Now run along, and don’t get into mischief. I am going out.’
Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather blackberries: But Peter who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!”
Bunnies are cute, I think most people can agree. But if you’re a writer, the word might trigger something a little different in your brain. Plot bunnies are story ideas that appear from out of nowhere, and refuse to go away until they are written. I’m sure all writers have dozens of stories and ideas swirling around in their heads, which is that magical brain fodder used to craft new and exciting stories. But what if you’re knee deep in a project, with a couple of K’s written down and all of a sudden…out pops a cute little plot bunny—bright eyed and bushy tailed? You’re then caught between two differing ideas, each demanding your attention.
I don’t know how other writers deal with the notorious plot bunny, but that saying about rabbits multiplying has never been more true. I’ve reached a bit of a rough spot in my current project, and I’ve been feeling stuck. But since I’ve run into a wall with one project, ideas for new stories seem to be cropping up everywhere. A few weeks ago, I was flipping through an old notebook, and stumbled across a story idea I’d completely forgotten. After I read the short scene, whoosh, my imagination started running on double time. I had to wrangle in my impulses, not to dive blindly into a new story so spur of the moment. Especially since I’ve already committed to another.
My question is this—how do you manage those shiny new ideas when you’re already working on a big project? As of now, I don’t feel equipped enough to juggle two stories at one time, so I’m trying to keep my focus on my main project. But that doesn’t change the fact these new ideas are growing, and evolving each day. I can try to ignore the characters inside my head all day long, meanwhile I’ll still hear them bickering amongst each other.
Right now, I think I’m suffering from a bit of the, grass is always greener on the other side syndrome; I’m struggling with one story, yet these new ideas sound so much better, and more intriguing. While working on my last novel, I experienced the same thing, during one of my many rounds of edits. I’d grown tired of that story, so I started plotting for my next project. I remember thinking that my next novel was going to be amazing. The ideas were flowing so easily, I couldn’t wait to begin writing. Now that I’m actually writing that novel, the rose-colored skies have begun to gray a little. I’m not going to give up though, or cave into the new ideas—especially since I’ve already written 40k words. I think it’s just a matter of forging ahead and pushing through the tough times.
My current project has so much yet to develop, and I’m actually I’m looking forward to it. But I need to find a way to match the excitement I feel for these new ideas, with the project I’m already working on. I’m going to have to dig deep, and rediscover those little nuggets of inspiration that encouraged me to first begin this novel. When I have a moment or two to spare, I’ll be jotting down those new little treasures that pop up (when I’m least expecting them). So if you’re looking for me, I’ll be out in the garden setting traps for some very naughty bunnies. But don’t worry, I shan’t be making any pies…at least not yet.
What do you do when you’re feeling bored with your story? How do you manage when a brand new story comes knocking on your door and says, “hello, may I come in?”.
Leave a comment to share your thoughts with me!
Thanks for reading,
2 responses to “The Writing Diaries, pt. 4: Flopsy, Mopsy, and the Runaway Bunnies”
It’s so crazy that you posted about this! The day before you posted I was pondering my writing schedule and things of that sort for the future. I’ve been working on two stories for a little over a year now. My schedule is, write one all of one week and the next week switch, and I just keep going like that. But I was trying to figure out if it would be best to work on just one for the next six months and see how far I get in it before continuing with the other project. The reason why I considered this, is that I have so many fun and, I hope, beautiful story ideas still yet to be written. And how I work right now, is I want to have at least one of these stories in the editing stages before I add another to work on.
I was just going round and round in circles trying to figure out what I was going to do. I genuinely like the idea of working on only one project at a time, I think I’ll go really far in the manuscript and there’s still so much world and character arc building that I know I’ll perfect with more time with the project. But on the other hand, working on two has helped me feel very accomplished in both, it feels efficient, and it’s been exciting, I look forward to the switch at the end of every week. Like you, I can’t quite decide yet.
But maybe the method I described that I’ve been using this past year might work for your situation. Alternating between the manuscripts each week. That strategy was derived from the exact situation that you’re talking about. I couldn’t choose, so I chose both, lol!
As of right now, I’m leaning towards a trial of the “working on one story method”, just because I’ve been doing the other method for a while now and I want to try something different.
For me personally, as of right now, all those sentence and world prompts and ideas I have stashed in a secret notebook somewhere, will have to wait and I’ll reevaluate every so often and maybe next year or the year after, I’ll feel ready to add another. With my writing journey, I’m really trying not to plan too far into the future which is why I reevaluate every so often because things change.
If you choose to plough through with your first one, perhaps finding some music that fits the story will inspire you. That works for me, when I’m stuck. Sometimes it’s instrumental or it’s lyrical. And sometimes, maybe it takes a break and stepping back, to see it with fresh eyes again. And then other times, yes, it is simply a matter of sitting down and just…writing, lol!
I hope you get over that rough patch in your first story and good luck to us both, I guess, haha!
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Hey, good to see you again!
It seems that writing is a “learn as you go” kind of process, so we can always play around, and test out different methods to find what suits us best. I really like that aspect of writing.
I usually stick to the one story method, but I’m learning that I might be able to stretch beyond that a little. And switching between projects each week is a great idea, I might try it out.
And of course, music is always essential for writing. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I wish you luck on your projects.