Did you follow a plot bunny? And now you are completely off track?
Plot bunnies can be fun, they can be exciting, they can lead us to amazing discoveries, but sometimes they can also leave us lost, confused, and frustrated. Let me share with you 6 Questions that you can ask yourself when this happens so you can get back on track.
My favorite way to do this is via a Tarot spread, but you can also just ask yourself the questions as well. To see me go through this spread with my own NaNoWriMo novel, watch the YouTube video below.
You might be asking yourself, what is a Plot Bunny? It’s an idea that refuses to leave you alone until you’ve actually followed it. And even though it does predate NaNoWriMo, they can happen a lot during those November writing sessions.
Before you tackle the six questions, ask yourself first how far off your outline you got and if there’s anything from your detour you want to keep. Do you think you need to start completely over with where you got off track, or can you merge some of your ideas and have a better story?
Once you have that all figured out, you are ready to pull some Tarot cards or grab your journal, and find out what your Plot Bunny and Main Character are trying to tell you.
Plot Bunnies Tarot Spread
- What’s your bunny trying to tell you?
- What is your Main Character trying to tell you?
- How would the bunny solve this?
- How would the Main Character solve this?
- What’s one creative solution you can try?
- How can you move forward and get back on track?
Tips & Tricks
If you decide you need to start over and basically trash what you’ve written DO NOT DELETE those words, at least not yet. During NaNoWriMo, those words you wrote count toward your final 50,000 word count goal. I suggest moving them to the end of your document or writing at the head of each chapter that’s going to eventually get tossed: PLOT BUNNY, DON’T USE or something like that. Then when you come back to edit, you can put those in a separate document just in case.
It’s okay to have some strong emotions around this process, getting off track and seeing that you’re going to need to rewrite 5,000 or more words can be devastating, but trust me, that wasn’t wasted effort. Like I said above, the words still count toward your goal this month, and two it gave you some things to explore, to try out, to discover and that’s never bad – you learned what doesn’t work, sometimes writing them out needs to happen before you can see the right way to go. But be kind to yourself, remember that writing is a process, and sometimes it’s messy and painful.
Plot Bunnies can be really fun and take you to some cool places you might not have thought to explore, but if you do get off track, just ask yourself these six questions and get back to writing the story you want to write.