Saturday, March 3, 2012

Plot Bunny versus Developed Story Plot

I probably should have written about this sooner, it's something I've been wanting share for awhile. The difference between a plot bunny and an actual developed story plot.

I've long since learned that the initial seed of an idea, or a plot bunny as many will call it, is in fact, almost useless. It can be good for inspiration, but that's as far as it goes.

My last thriller is based on a very simple plot bunny. It had no plot, no chosen genre, and in essence, there was only one scene I had in mind which helped to drive me to finish a whole novel based on the plot bunny. I ran so far with that initial idea, that I can barely recognize it anymore. But I do remember and made it a point to never forget.

Human beings have an imagination by nature. One of the things that distinguishes us as humans is the ability to take that imagination and craft it into something real. A book, a song, a computer game, or even a retail business. This is what makes us human.

But guess what? Just having an imagination, doesn't mean anything. Great! You have an idea! Yeah, you and everybody else on the face of the planet.

What can make an idea special is when you take the time and hard work to develop the idea into a reality.

I'm the kind of person who gets a lot of ideas at once. I tend to get one big idea, it explodes into a million ideas, then I'm left scrambling around trying to organize all the mini-ideas, and hope it all actually makes sense by the end to someone else beside me. This is the main reason I've worked hard on constant practice to keep all my multitude of thoughts organized, as best as I can.

It's fantastic to be a human with a good imagination, but there are downfalls. Having a good imagination can seem powerful, when it isn't everything.

A plot bunny is just an idea, a seed, nothing more. A developed story plot is the whole garden, with many different plants and an entire ecosystem. It takes a lot of work to maintain a garden, every writer should accept that fact right at the beginning.

I can see why many aspiring writers tend to get beguiled by their plot bunnies, and I freely admit I'm guilty of doing that, too. It's easy. Too easy. Plot bunnies are so much fun. Just come up with ideas, no work involved. Good times.

Yet the point where some writers, myself included, fail, is when there's an expectation for the plot bunny to do everything.

I once encountered an aspiring writer who had an amazing imagination, to the point even I was blown away by how imaginative they were. Sadly, I couldn't get them to understand, to save my life, that having an imagination is about 1% of the work. They really believed just by having an idea, that will be enough to write a whole book. Nope, never works that way. There are no shortcuts in life. A shame, really. All that imagination went to waste.

Plot bunnies are a very necessary 1%, of course. After all, it's impossible to write a whole book based on no ideas. Yet, whenever I hear someone claim, “I have the best idea,” that tells me they're not doing any actual work. If I hear, “I'm working on a novel,” I can take that a bit more seriously. If I hear, “I'm writing a book based on the best idea and it's so easy,” then I know they're full of sh*t. The latter makes me sad more than anything else.

Cherish your plot bunnies, they are worth something, but never expect them to be a substitute for skill, hard work and a developed story plot.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
If you're not a spammer,
I'd love to hear from you.