A few weeks ago, I started posting what I call “daily plot bunnies” on my Twitter. (Almost) every day, I tweet about little things that have caught my attention and given me a spark of inspiration on that particular day: some words I heard or read, a thought, a picture, a song, anything. I tag them with #DailyPlotBunny.
These are not things I’m working on right now, nor are they direct story prompts. Plot bunnies are more like story seeds, except I do visualize them as bouncy, wiggly little creatures, very much alive, that grow and move around and have minds of their own. Sometimes they meet other bunnies they like and they breed, creating a herd. (A fluffle. It’s totally called a fluffle, at least in parts of Canada. How cute is that? I want to move to Canada.) If you’re not careful, said fluffle may then take over your brain, monopolizing your attention and feeding you bits of plot and flashes of characters until all you can think of is the story they brought you. Or at least, that’s how it works for me. It’s a delight, really.
So, catching the bunnies!
Typically, when I post a daily plot bunny on Twitter, I can already see several potential stories trying to unspool from it. And that’s just me, and just in that short moment. I can’t even begin to imagine all the things other people could come up with. It’s raw potential, nothing defined. A seed.
Like, for example: “A four-year-old happily telling everyone on a playground their full name and address” could become a meet-cutie love story about single parents meeting on a playground thanks to their respective children, but it could just as well turn into a kidnapping drama, or a fantasy story where real names are magic.
“Sleep well, love. I’ll be right outside your window, guarding your dreams” can be something sweet and tender, or a nightmare. It could find its way to a romance or a tale of supernatural, or – why not – a horror short story.
And a picture or a song can be interpreted and reinterpreted in dozens of ways, each one an inspiration. I can’t count all the times I’ve excitedly shared some lyrics or a photo with a friend, buzzing with ideas and newly-hatched plot bunnies, only to hear that it gave them completely different ones. (And then there is always much brainstorming and bouncing ideas around. Rolling around in them. So much fun.)
So, this is how inspiration works for me – it’s everywhere, it has a life of its own, and it multiplies when it’s shared with other creative people. What is it like for you?
I love seeing your Plot Bunnies via Twitter — they *always* stir an idea or two in my brain.
I have the most fun with taking an idea, and plotting out a story in one direction and then from the opposite direction — like your ‘sweet and tender’ or “nightmare” one.
I’m glad to hear that! I always wonder whether the bunnies I post aren’t too subjective; whether they speak to anyone but me. And I do that too, with all of my ideas! There’s definitely some truth to the saying that the first plot line is often the easiest and most obvious – it’s when the twists start that the ideas get more mature and original. And it’s so much fun!