How to Handle Plot Bunnies While Editing

bunnies I'm currently working on the second draft of my novel Blood and Water, which means lots of editing. The more I work on this book, the more excited I get about it. I can't wait until it's finished and I can share it with all of you!

At the same time, I can't get thoughts of my next book out of my head. A character fell into my mind a few weeks ago (her name is Ramachandra), and I haven't been able to shake her since.

I already determined that I would finish this first round of edits before diving into something new, but these plot bunnies are driving me crazy. I'm trying to stave off Shiny New Idea Syndrome, but it is coming for me. It will try to sink its claws in me, and I have to resist it until this draft is done.

Luckily, I've discovered a few techniques to help manage these errant plot bunnies. It's a far from perfect system, but it's made a lot of difference. If you're struggling like me, here's what I recommend:

  • Make a Pinterest board. If your mind is filling up with images for the book you want to write, scour the Internet for pictures and add them to a novel Pinterest board. Even though I haven't written a single word of Reflections, I've already dumped a lot of images here.
  • Keep track of your ideas. Instead of dismissing every plot bunny that pops into your head, write it down in a notebook or an app like Evernote. When it comes time to write the new book, you'll be glad you saved this stuff!
  • Remind yourself what you love about the book you're working on. If you're struggling to stay on task with your current project, focus on what you enjoy about it. Do you love your characters? What about your world? The setting? No matter what, you should be able to find something worth staying for. Make a list if you need to so that you can always remind yourself why your book is great.
  • Set the new WIP idea as a reward. This tip is working so well for me! Try telling yourself something like, "As soon as I finish this draft, I can start on the new project." The hardest part? Sticking to it. Still, knowing you have a clear start point on the horizon makes it easier to wait.
  • Do NOT start a new project in Scrivener or open a new Word document! As tempting as it may be to "just set things up," do not fall into temptation! As soon as your new project or document has been created, your fingers will be itching to start writing. Run away now!
  • Ask for help. If all else fails, do what I've been doing: go on Twitter, complain about not wanting to edit, and (humbly) invite people to chastise you. Some people enjoy this more than they should, and will jump at the chance to wag their finger (even playfully) at you for not working! (My Twitter friends are the best.)

  Like I said, these techniques are far from foolproof, but they're helping me stay sane while I crank out this second draft. By the time I finally finish these edits, I'll be raring to go to work on the first draft of Reflections. Until then, I hope I can stay disciplined!

What do you do with inconvenient plot bunnies? How do you defeat Shiny New Idea Syndrome?

Tweet tweet:

Holy plot bunnies, Batman! In this post @brianawrites discusses how to tackle Shiny New Idea Syndrome. (Click to tweet)

Itching to start a new book before your WIP is finished? Check out @brianawrites' tips for handling this dilemma. (Click to tweet)