Attack of the PlotBunny


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.

Wikiwrimo – PlotBunny

Plotbunnies are evil little creatures. They look all innocent and all of a sudden, where you had one idea, you now have twenty. They also attack without warning.

You’ll be listening to your favourite podcast or song and boom idea. And it won’t go away until it is written.

I remember a tradpub author going off about two things at me – plotbunnies and fanfic. They didn’t understand either of them. Why would anyone write fanfic when it’s really just playing with someone else’s characters, and you could have your own.

I explained, as nicely as I could, that not everyone feels comfortable, starting out, with writing their own characters. A lot of traditional published authors have a “seedy past” when it comes to fan fiction (now, I must note that I don’t see it as seedy. I am firmly in the same camp as Charles Stross about fan fiction of any of my works) . Some still write fan fiction along with their published works.

And plot bunnies. Trying to explain to them about the random damn ideas that pop into your head and just refuse to go away. Well, that was, funnily enough, harder to explain. I’ve always been one of those people who gets these damn ideas. I used to write out the outline on index cards, which I recently digitized.

I guess that some writers don’t get plot bunnies. Me, I’ve got a damn hutch full of the bastards that want to be written and get bitey if they’re left there too long.

And for the love of all things pink and fluffy – don’t try to pet them. They bite. HARD.

Show 2 Comments


  1. I have softened a lot on the idea of fanfic. They’re the meal-kit delivery service or model kit or Lego set of writing. Here are the pieces, now make something cool out of them. You can put them together in the way you know they’re supposed together or you can riff and put your flair into it. It’s a learning tool and a comfort object and a totally viable, reasonable way to write as a hobbyist. I definitely wrote fanfic in my teens and twenties while experimenting with genre and form. I don’t now, but it’s not out of snootiness – I just already don’t have enough time to devote to developing my own ideas let alone someone else’s!

    I don’t get plot bunnies so much as theme bunnies or setting bunnies. For a while, it was post-apocalyptic. For another while it was solitude and loneliness. Currently, it seems to be evolving understanding of family and friendship relationship dynamics. Until I get a satisfying scald on these things I’m going to continue twisting them around and exploring them from different angles.

    Great article, thanks for sharing the origin of the term!

    • Amy

      I agree wholeheartedly! Sometimes, as well, TV/Movies leave things unsaid, and human minds will fill in the spaces between to their liking.

      I definitely get situation and theme bunnies as well, and I hear you on the time. So many ideas, so little time, even if it is wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. 😃

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