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How to Murder Your Plot Bunnies

Atlin Merrick

We all know that 'where do writers get their ideas' isn't a real question. All of us who write know the real one is this:

How do we make them stop?

Most of us have plot bunnies under our bed, fic ear worms burrowing into our brains, and…and ode whales demanding 50K epics. So the real question for most of us is how do we stop the idea inundation long enough to focus on just one?

Because the curse of abundance is real. Given too much choice, choice becomes hard for humans to make. It's why we'll stand in front of an open fridge for a year and why we have so many ideas written down but still don't know what to write.

So how do I handle all the plot bunnies breeding there in the dark of my brain?

Murder.

How I murder my plot bunnies will be different from how you do it but the thing is…it’s gotta be done or we’ll be neck deep and incapable of writing a darn thing. Following is how I bump off my bunnies—in this week’s Spark writing newsletter other writers offer theirs. So here’s what I suggest:

Write the tiniest story imaginable for every one of your bunnies.

Easy peasy. I've done this with my series Minutiae, where I tell a tiny story in about two hundred words. A favourite fandom writer, Winklepicker, has done the same with Notebook, where she's on a mission to give every single plot bunny she has a few hundred words of life, publishing a gem-like vignette, then moving the hell on.

The beauty of tiny stories like Minutiae or Notebook is that they remove the weight of possibility from the writer's chest, letting us breathe. The stories are alive, tiny but whole, and so we can move on. And we can still go back later and grow a little story to something bigger if we like.

There are a million journeys to the same place, and this is just one. Following are a few other ways to manage all the ideas you have and not get paralised into writing none of them.

This is why Spark exists. So we can tell each other "This is how I got there, maybe it'll help you too."

Atlin Merrick Spark in a timely manner when she's not getting a June flu, two ear infections, a sinus infection, and laryngitis. She writes, too.



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