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Plot bunny

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"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." --John Steinbeck

A plot bunny is a story idea that refuses to go away until it is written. The term's origin is unknown but is known to predate NaNoWriMo. Because plot bunnies tend to multiply quickly, the term is thought to be related to the oft-quoted John Steinbeck quote about ideas and rabbits.

The NaNoWriMo forums offer several resources for the care and handling of plot bunnies. Unwanted bunnies can be put up for adoption in the Adoption Society forum--prior to this forum's creation in 2010, they were offered in the Plot Doctoring forum. Plot bunnies that the writer wants to write later can be left in the Plot Bunny Day Care Center in the NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul forum, where they can breed with the plot bunnies of other Wrimos and be cared for in the finest fashion.

The care and history of plot bunnies is described in detail in Ilea For's "Plot Bunny Fields Forever: A Study in Plot Bunny Care and Husbandry", transcribed by Leo Fair.

Despite the similarity in name, the plot bunny is not synonymous with the plot ninja.


There are various breeds, thousands of them, and many aren't even tied to writing. Inventors and scientists have their own breeds of plot bunnies that lead them to discoveries where A leads to B which jumps to G or even Z.

Some well known plot bunnies that have been positively identified by Wrimos are:

The Lopearred Sitting Around Talking Shorthair

Physical Characteristics: Lop ears, short brown/grey flecked fur

How to identify his presence: When your characters inevitably come to a point where the plot simply won't advance, so they sit on a couch/the ground/ a golf cart/ a pirate ship and start talking about nothing in particular. Some couple thousand words later, a plot bunny pops up, grins, and heads off! It can always be discovered in this kind of plot stall, and it's known for waiting until the last possible moment (the moment when you are about to throw your laptop across the table) to come and create a diversion.

The Mystery Plot Bunny

Physical Characteristics:Black, short hair with small, pointed ears.

How to identify his presence: This bunny is attracted to plots which aren't usually intended to have any mystery. The bad guys are known, the goal is visible, but suddenly the Mystery Plot Bunny appears and there's a piece of information lacking, a lost object, or an unknown baddie that needs to be discovered and stopped.

This bunny is known to complicate plots far more than they need to be. Usually can be made happy with a missing item, but sometimes demands the more involved mysteries.

Killer bunny

Physical Characteristics: Small, white, red eyes

How to identify his presence: Not unlike the much-feared Monty Python variety, this little white bunny looks harmless as you're writing along, and then up close, abruptly kills off a character you weren't expecting to kill - at least, you didn't intend for it to go right THEN! In its wake, it leave behind a host of new plot opportunities... as well as some definite Closed Paths.

Super-power bunny

Physical Characteristics: Varies, usually white with a super hero emblem pattern on the back/chest

How to identify his presence:When you have a semi-normal plot, and before you know it for some odd reason one or more characters can suddenly fly or read minds or is very strong or can control water, or some other thing making your normal character into some kind of alien, superpowered human or fantasy creature.

"Who the Heck are You?" plot bunny

Physical Characteristics: An unpresuming brown lop-eared rabbit

How to identify his presence: This one wanders in and once he has attached himself firmly to the story, introduces a new character who immediately begins re-writing said story. Or else he sneaks in and makes friends with a minor character, who immediately begins plotting to takeover the storyline.

The magic bunny

Physical Characteristics:A pure white rabbit with large ears

How to detect his presence: Turns up even in non-fantasy stories and insists on putting in some sort of magic system.

The Luuuuuuuuv Bunny

Physical Characteristics: Little, pink, big eyes, floppy ears

How to detect his presence: No matter what you write, no matter how, no matter who, no matter what, characters will always fall in love. Even when you're not asking them to.

Depression Bunny

Physical Characteristics: a small but intimidating black rabbit with glowing eyes that change color. Their default color is red.

How to detect his presence: He makes the main protagonist's life a misery: klutziness, pain, even a death of a loved one. Almost ninja-like, Depression bunny leaps on your back and demands that he be listened to.

WTF Bunnies

Physical Characteristics: range from pocket-sized to about as big as one of the larger breeds of housecats, with floppy ears, and often come when an author least expects them. However, because of the fact that they come in outlandish colors and patterns, they can be spotted from a mile away, with some even glowing in the dark.

How to detect his presence: WTF Bunnies get their name from what a given author will utter when given an idea by one of these colorful specimens: "What in the name of fudge brownies is this? I can't put ninja grizzly bears in my sci-fi novel!" If treated well, WTF Bunnies are a mighty force, pulling an author out of the swamp that is Writer's Block. If ignored long enough, they will give an author ever-increasingly outlandish plot elements until either the author caves in...or the bunny goes away to find another author lost in the murky pit that is Writer's Block.

Spazzy bunnies

Physical Characteristics: various colors but always the nose is a bright red color

How to detect his presence: makes you write slapstick humor (they seem to really like slapstick) some like more complicated jokes that are really specific to a certain character. Unfortunately whenever you want these bunnies around they make you chase them down... they're really hard to find when you need them.

Moving Bunny

Physical Characteristics: always has a bit of a sneaky/sadistic grin on his furry face

How to detect his presence: This Bunny insists on making your characters be constantly on the move, very powerful, to the point of conjuring random monsters and obstacles just so your characters can't have a decent place to crash.

The Two Things at Once Bunny

Physical Characteristics: All of them are particularly long bunnies, in a variety of colors, as there are subtypes such as:

"The Headache" has particularly strong, sharp teeth. It leaps at an author and sinks those teeth into the author's skull. After some wriggling around to assure maximum agony, the bunny begins supplying terrific ideas to the author who is in too much pain to do anything with them.

"The In the Shower bunny" is small, with very sleek grey fur. It waits for you in the shower, makes sure you are well into shampooing or shaving or whatever takes you the longest, and then begins to spout wonderful ideas that, again, you can do nothing about.

"The Nothing to Write With Bunny" that almost always shows up when you are walking down a busy street or on an overcrowded bus without even a newspaper to write upon (or a pen with which to write upon your arm).

"Almost Asleep Plot Bunny" Due to its' nature of appearing at night, we cannot supply a description of it, but it always shows up after the glasses are off and the pen is capped and the notebook closed.

"Indiscriminate Bunny"

Physical Characteristics:lush fur, all-seeing eyes, and twitching nose. Perpetually pregnant, the IB breeds plots at an astonishing rate, so owners must be prepared to accomodate a flood of new arrivals on a daily basis. For optimum health, this bunny must be allowed to roam free and must be supplied with a steady source of caffeine.

How to detect her presence: This promiscuous fluffball turns absolutely anything and everything into a story idea. A news story? A song lyric? A seminar on inventory management? That weird way your dog is looking at you? Yep, they can all become novel ideas in the paws of this productive lagomorph.

Warning: this plot bunny never sleeps.

The Cheese bunny

Physical Characteristics: The Cheese bunny is orange, obviously not really made from dairy, cheddar cheese.

How to detect his presence: This cheese rabbit doesn't eat carrots or any other vegetable. It only eats cheese. And it eats it in such a way that all the cheese turns slimy and drips all over the wonderful characters, settings, details and plots that you have finally found. Everything it touches turns - well - cheesy. That very serious character with all that deep conflict and angst? The cheese bunny leaves her gushing out lines she would never say, flirting in a most embarrassing manner, and twirling around in pink dresses. That well researched setting with all the logistic details worked out? Suddenly it's filled with melodramatic dungeons and secret rooms and rainbows over rivers for no reason what so ever. It will turn a good character relationship building scene into a dripping pile of orange. In the cheese bunny's sticky paws even mute characters start making bad puns!

The cheese bunny is definitely related to the WTF bunny, but it tends to infect preexisting ideas and turn them soppy and random.

Foreign Ambassador Plot Bunnies

Physical Characteristics: varies greatly depending on country

How to detect his presence: Just when you've politely kicked out the Scottish Bunny, the New England Bunny, the Icelandic Bunny and the London Bunny and safely set your novel in Southern California, the extra-fluffy Swedish Bunny flies into your face and demands tomtes and trolls be involved. And lingonberries. And before you know it your novel is set in Lund.

Complicated Relationship Geometry Bunny

Physical Characteristics: Short-ish, upright ears, maroon-colored fur

How to detect his presence: Unsatisfied with a nice romantic plot or subplot, the Complicated Relationship Geometry Bunny will muck it all up by bringing in a vengeful ex-lover, a handsome or beautiful stranger, or a best friend who, prior to this bunny's appearance, had no romantic interest in your MC whatsoever, in order to bring some conflict to the table (and up that wordcount!). When they sense that they're not needed, they tend to hop away, and are easily lured in with graphing paper, tea, and scones. May or may not be related to the Luuuuuuuuv Bunny.

Inappropriate Romance Bunny

Physical Characteristics: Electric-pink fur, medium-length, moderately floppy ears

How to detect his presence: No matter how much you try to prevent it, your Main Character will suddenly fall in love with their boss, married neighbor, the incarnation of a God of Evil, or whatever else as long as it's mildly--or wildly--inappropriate. Since this bunny's electric pink and smells of chocolate and shortbread, this one is fairly easy to see coming. With proper care and feeding, however, the Inappropriate Romance Bunny helps to inspire those star-crossed love stories of love conquering all, or ending in a fantastically tragic demise. Cousin to the Complicated Relationship Geometry Bunny, and as such, the two can be seen in tandem at times, may or may not be related to the Luuuuuuuuv Bunny.