The Balanced Muse: Plot Bunny or Plot Funny

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The Balanced Muse:

Plot Bunny or Plot Funny


Mary Caelsto

The Muse Charmer

Copyright © 2013, Mary Caelsto, All Rights Reserved





Plot bunnies reproduce more quickly than the real ones it seems. And they never seem to arrive at a convenient moment. In the shower, as you’re drifting off to sleep, while you’re in the middle of a major life event, are all times when plot ideas will come to the unsuspecting writer. And as with new relationships, there is also an excitement around a new book idea. It looks like a good thing and it’s different from what you might be writing, so why not?


What if it’s a plot funny? Those ideas that crop up, seem good on the surface, but once you get into them realize they don’t lead anywhere.


How can you tell the difference?


It can be difficult, especially if the idea is really exciting or something which grabs your attention. You might want to pursue the idea and see if it’s willing to work before you go forward.


Give it the M.U.S.E. test.


M = Motivation


How motivated are you to write the story? Is it something you can dive into and get written quickly to better balance your other deadlines or projects? Think about how you can write the project and maintain the excitement. Because motivation isn’t just in starting the story, but also finishing. If you always have a problem with the sagging middle, for example, then how will you overcome that? Make sure you’re ready to write the story until the end.


This may mean making the decision to plot out the story so you know how it will go, or maybe you decide to write by the seat of your pants. For me, that can slow down a story when a character won’t “talk” to me, so I have to make sure that I can still write the book, even when I don’t want to.


U = Usability


The story has to work with any other projects you’re currently working on or have already published. Is it useable with your current publishing plan? For example, an author who writes romance may find the murder mystery idea exciting, but readers might be difficult to convince. And doing the marketing and promotion for a new name might be too much effort for the story that might be a one-off.


The story also has to be in the same genre and even sub-genre in which you write. Now, I’m not saying that authors can’t write anything else, but to build a name, a readership, and a career as an author, it helps to stay in the same neighborhood. This means that each new book that gets published will help boost the visibility of any back list titles.


S = Sale-ability


Even if you self-publish the book, it has to be sold to readers. For many authors, however, sale-ability means getting a publisher to offer a contract. If the book is in the same general genre groupings as what you write, then there’s a good chance your current publisher will make an offer. Getting a new publisher may be easier if you show through your website and marketing that you write in one genre, thus are easier to promote and sell.


The idea itself also needs to have some selling ability. There are some things that simply don’t “sell” as well, though those topics change with trends and times. Depending on the genre in which you write, some topics might not even be workable. Think about the plot bunny to make sure it has some legs when it comes to sales.


E = Execution


Can you do justice to the idea? Now, I’m not saying not to write stories that scare you. Some of the best work an author does might be the story that scared him or her. What I am saying is that if an idea is something that you don’t feel comfortable writing or you’re not sure you could write, then maybe you need to give it extra thought.


Execution also means having the story at the proper length and in the proper format. Make sure that the story will be as long as it should be to do the job it needs to do.


Once an idea has passed the MUSE test, and it still seems like something you want to work on, then by all means, write the story. If you go through the MUSE test and the story is losing its luster, there’s a good chance it will fizzle out before you’re done writing it. After all, the work you’re doing now is nothing compared to the actual writing.


Plot bunny or plot funny? It’s your call. But with a bit of work and making sure your story passes the MUSE test, you’ll be able to tell with confidence. And that’s going to leave you the time you need to write the stories which will build your career, so you won’t be left with a plot funny instead of a plot bunny.


Bio: Mary has charmed the muse her entire life. As a published author of both fiction and non-fiction, she knows the balanced muse can handle the business, creative, and marketing sides of publishing. She launched The Muse Charmer ( to help enable authors charm their own muses to release their inner awesome. She routinely offers free classes and reports, so check out her website for her latest offering.