NaNoWriMo Memoir: Bunnies

It takes a special kind of panic to make your fingers shake while typing, one mainly driven by too much caffeine, and too little sleep. But here I am, panicking, as on day three of National Novel Writing Month, I get to start all over – in a way.

While the actual writing of the novel is saved for November, writers will spend weeks or even months preparing for it, outlining stories and gathering research, driving up anticipation and excitement for the challenge.

I decided on my own novel back in June. I spent the summer researching for it and the first half of the semester outlining the entire book scene by scene, my desk at home being taken over by index cards and colored sharpies.

Then I started writing, already caught up in the challenge’s proverbial “literary abandon” at 1 a.m. on Nov. 1.

I typed up the prologue to my story, slept barely enough hours to avoid collapse the next day, and was already pounding away at the next chapter in class on Tuesday morning, when a new idea careened into my racing mind.

If I hadn’t been in the middle of a class at that point, I probably would have jumped up and screamed a heavenward “NOOO!”.

Ideas, also known as plot bunnies, aren’t new to writers.

Like cute, but quickly breeding rabbits, plot bunnies will chew away at your brain and take over your thoughts until you end up writing out the story just to make it go away.

During NaNoWriMo, the best idea is to just ignore them, but sometimes they just keep chewing. For the next two days, what started out as an idea grew and grew, until suddenly I had a whole new book in my head, mocking me, waiting to be written.

As a writer, I am a slave to my muse, so after three days, I gave in and started writing.

The 2,000 words I had managed of the first novel are staying, of course.

They’re even being expanded on the side in the high hopes that that is where my muse will return. But in the meantime, I’m crunching letters to catch up on this new idea.

I’m keeping up with the old one, though, just in case – hopefully, my brain will go back to the story that is already planned, instead of running off to every new plot bunny that hops its way.