writing

Plot-Bunny People

It’s interesting to see at what stages different people lose steam during NaNoWriMo. Sooner or later, that initial burst of enthusiasm and coinciding energy runs out and you’re left to finish the project on the dregs of inspiration and a (hopefully) heaping stash of will power and deep-seated motivation. Looking at my Writing Buddies list, I feel like there are lot of different types of people who sign up for NaNoWriMo.

I’m pretty sure anyone with a word count under 6,000 right now either had the thought “NaNoWriMo sounded like a good idea when I heard about it in October, but I forgot about it until three days in, and now it’s really not worth starting,” or “I had a GREAT idea for a story and I made word count the first day and thought I could write forever and then I realized I didn’t understand Zeppelin blimps and Victorian professions as well as I thought I did.”

Plot-Bunny People are so cute. I use this term as sort of an affectionate catch-all for people who want (or think they want) to be writers, because they have an “idea.” They have a really cool character, or a neat love story, or some awesome twist on an age old tale…and they kind of assume that the idea is so cool, the concept so infallible, that the story will write itself. I think we all start out as Plot-Bunny People. Forget “writing” the first step toward being an author is having an idea. You can’t write without an idea.

I always underestimate how hard it is to world-build. I was a little bit of a Plot-Bunny Person for the first few days of NaNoWriMo, and I’m already cringing at how much I will have to go back and revise just to get my world a little more consistent with everything that happens later.

In my book, Eden Sleeps, the world is plagued by an epidemic disease called vigillis, which causes chronic sleeplessness. Simple enough, right? Every time I turn around I find another way that would impact the social fabric. For instance…

People who do not shift could feasibly work 4-8 hours more than the average human being, but would be less dependable and mentally fit for work, causing a noticeable shift in the nature of the workforce. This takes 20-30 years off the human life-span, so the social dynamic and definition of “elderly” has shifted dramatically. Everything is done in military time to avoid confusion, since you could just as reasonably expect someone to be awake at 3am as 3pm. There are no structured meal times, and games requiring quick reflexes are considerably less popular. The entire world moves slower, and it’s a real challenge to take that into account on every little issue. Also, cigarettes are back in style since the vigillis kills people long before the lung cancer could ever catch up to you.

I hope that wherever you are in your NaNoWriMo story (if you’re competing this year) that things are plugging along and you’re (give or take) happily a third the way through your story. Even if you’re behind, there’s still twenty days to catch up. Plot-Bunny People, fear not!

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