The Irresistible Lure of Plot Kittens

Most fanfic writers have a few ideas circling through the back-burners. Some get them on tap. But all fanfic writers would agree that the darn things just keep on breeding.

The Irresistible Lure of Plot Kittens
Image credit © Can Stock Photo / tobkatrina

Like most writers since the dawn of fanfiction [a dodgy concept, actually. Fanfiction could plausibly date back to Arthurian Legend, where one aficionado inserted his Gary Stu as a knight of the round table] I got my start with transformative works.

And like any other nerd since the advent of public internet access [I predate both AOL and Pong – I’m OLD] I’ve heard more than a few terms you should not google ever if you have a delicate constitution. “Lemon” is an oldie but a goodie. Likewise YKINMKATO, pronounced “kink tomato”. But the one with the most staying power is… (drumroll)


Most fanfic writers have a few ideas circling through the back-burners. Some get them on tap. But all fanfic writers would agree that the darn things just keep on breeding. And for an analogy, you can’t get much better than something cute and fluffy that just keeps proliferating. Because the writer dearly wants to pick them up, but… you know… life.

And you get lots of fic writers who would agree that your average plot-bunny [or plotbunny if you prefer to skip the hyphens] is carnivorous. They certainly gnaw at the writer’s brain and keep interrupting the flow of your current epic slow-burn coffee-shop AU.

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice. I know what you’re up to.

The worst of these are the ones that it hurts to not write. The ones that niggle at you and fill your head with scenes or tasty, tasty word combinations and you know you shouldn’t write it but… Powers darn it… You just can’t stay away.

Those are not plot-bunnies. Those are plot-kittens.

You see, cats share a lot of traits with bunnies. They’re small, they seem soft and fuzzy. Most people would agree that they’re adorable. Especially when they’re small and relatively helpless. You just want to pick them up and hug them and nurture them and name them after some profound lyric you tripped over that would fit the storyline just right…


That metaphor got away from me there.

There is one chief difference between a plot-bunny and a plot-kitten:

Bunnies are largely harmless and will, at worst, nibble delicately at your brain lobes. Kittens, on the other hand, are well-known for going after your toes in a cold second.

And, like their real-world feline counterpart, a plot-kitten can start off as a tiny, harmless, fluffy idea. But before you know it, you have written so many words on this thing that you could just about rival Tolkein or fucking Victor Hugo.

Especially if you’re like me and should have been working on a planned novel, this week.

Yup. TL;DR version of this was – “I had a bunch of shiny ideas and worked on them instead of the worldbuilding for the novel I announced last week”.

If you know what The Adventure Zone is, you can check out the excerpts I have added to my Ideas File. That dang Elf flipwizard keeps distracting me from what passes as my duties.

Or, if you actually care about Murder Dollhouse, stop on my my Nut Notes and leave a comment or three. Because comments are any writer’s life blood.

When you get down to it, I am simply incorrigible. I chase shiny ideas all the way down the rabbit hole [kitten den?] and wind up on the other side with four novel-length epics and about five litters worth of super-cute ideas that need a loving home.

Please. For the love of mercy. Encourage me in fruitful directions. Because the world sneers at fanfic.