Monday, September 11, 2006

Run, Rabbit, Run

Plot bunnies - as Gabriele describes them - are vicious little ambushing beasts that sink their teeth into one's ankles and won't let go.

For me, they are usually evasive creatures that leg it across the path to disappear down a burrow into a veritable warren.

I'm not sure of the nature of this one.
It disappeared completely for awhile, but now it's sniffing around my toes.
I may have to drop-kick it into the next clump of bushes.

She was on her way to a murder.
That was all she knew.
And they needed her.
Specifically, this long cold drink of water loping along beside her said he did.
He needed her because she'd made a mistake.
She should have kept her mouth shut.
He'd yanked her out of her seat at the forensic conference and rushed her through the Toronto streets to this apartment house.
The staccato click of her boot heels on the hallway tiles matched the thud of her heart. Definitely, she should have kept her mouth shut. She wasn't ready for this.
"Are you gonna be sick?" he asked.

That's about all there is right now. Maybe I can turn this bunny about a female with deja-vu into a short story if it keeps following me about. At present I can't perceive an arc for a full novel.

Picayune Department: Got an e-mail yesterday telling me I had a piece of flash accepted by LitBits for early November.

September, Again: In front of a cubicle somewhere at DND in Ottawa, there sits a picture of the Two Towers and under it the caption: "Two reasons why we are in Afghanistan."
I have nothing to add to last year's post (Sept 4).
Remember the courage shown that day.

Another Update: M.E.Ellis is donating the royalties from her novel Quits to a charity for abused children. Details on her blog.


Flood said...

Congrats on LitBits!

She was on her way to a murder is a great way to start a story. It's fun to think about where your piece will go. Could really be a great short, since there are so many questions presented already.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Flood.
Finally getting the hang of this submission thing.
You actually have to send them out.

Sela Carsen said...

I hate plot bunnies.

Congrats on your acceptance and YES, send more out!!

kmfrontain said...

Woot! Congrats on the flash piece. And that's a really nice excerpt.

I'm sitting on my butt thinking about what I felt on 9/11, and the overall sense of dismay and horror hasn't settled.

S. W. Vaughn said...

Finally getting the hang of this submission thing. You actually have to send them out.


Congratulations, Bernita! And nice plot bunny. :-)

I'm afraid I can't add anything to your 9/11 post.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sela!

I almost added a clause with "as" as a connector, Karen, as in "as he held open the fire door" just for fun...
Thank you. I re-learned hate that day.

Eh, Sonia, thank you.
Said it last year and don't like to repeat.

M.E Ellis said...

WOOT on LitBits! Yay you!

I like your plot bunny piece!

Thank you for the shout out!


Scott said...

I liked your little story blurb. As for the reasons, there are a great many more than two.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Michelle.
Funny thing, this morning's news tells of a triple murder in a Toronto hotel...
You have one of the biggest hearts around, Dear Girl.

Thank you, Scott.
Yes, I know there are.
So did this person.

Erik Ivan James said...

"The stacatto click of her boot heels on the hallway tiles matched the thud of her heart."

Great line!

Don't boot this bunny yet. It has potential to make a wonderful stew.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Erik!
Needs more carrots though...

MissWrite said...

WooHoo, you go girl. You are on a roll! Congrats.

Big warm hug to ME Ellis too.

As for plot bunnies, sometimes they take off, sometimes they burrow in and don't go anywhere, you never know until you hop on for the ride.

MissWrite said...

LOL@finally getting the hang of the submission actually have to send them out.

Duh. LOL

Bernita said...

Remember I'm a bit dim, Tami. And chicken-hearted.
Thank you.
This one has begun twitching its whiskers.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Woohoo...yea for LitBits! They're getiing shome great flash from you, my friend!

Plot bunnies used to chase me too! But since I reread and reviewed Maass' book, I think I've got the hang of it! Funny how sometimes it takes so long to sink in.

I've utilized the second to last lesson, about Outlining a surprise, surprize...I'm really moving right along on #4!

Bernita said...

These things take a long time to sink in with me too, Bonnie.
# 4!
You amaze me.
Soo, when the agent askes, " you have something in addition to this? I'd like to see it too," you'll be ready.
Thank you, and thank you for posting those Maass excerpts.

Dennie McDonald said...

I knew that rabbit fur coat I wanted back in the eighties would come back and bite me on the butt!

Bernita said...

Had a full length one, Dennie, it looked like chinchilla...

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm going to work on #4 for this years NaNoWriMo!

Hey, Dennie...we had great fun doing it last year! Are you up for it again?

50,000 words in 30 days...yehaw!

Dennie McDonald said...

you betcha Bonnie - I have been thinking up ideas to work on!

Rick said...

She was on her way to a murder

I agree with Flood - what a great opening! Even Miss Snark's hard heart might soften.

M.E Ellis said...

Hey, good luck with that, Bonnie!

I. Must. Try. Harder.


Bernita said...

Thank you, long as it isn't immediately screwed up by backstory and "show, not tell".....

EA Monroe said...

Congrats, Bernita. You mean we have to submit stuff?! I don't know about handling that much anxiety! I have to let my plot bunnies stew. I wonder if there's a way to set up a "trap" and let them hop in, "as" I'm sitting outside in the glider? heehee (KMFrontain said to use a bazooka on the "as if-s!")

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Cumon' M.E! could join us! LOL...if Bernita wasn't so busy submitting and being accepted, she could do it too.

That's why I'm working up the outline, so I don't have to spend a lot of time thinking where I want to go...I'll just be writing....1,700 words a day!

You won't do it, until you just do it!

Gabriele C. said...

So, you caught a plotbunny, too. The critters are around this time of the year, aren't they? Must be the distant sirene call of Nano.

Just put yours out on the meadow, feed it a few carrots, and it will grow and multiply nicely.

Rick said...

Are you gonna to be sick?

Another nice one - right away we know the murder scene isn't pretty.

But meanwhile, having divorced my agent, it's query time for me again. By gracious indulgence of our hostess, may I give the heart of my query letter - the mini-synopsis - a little Crapometer outing?

Once upon a time, princesses had to work for a living. Catherine, granddaughter of the King of Lyonesse, is spirited overseas in childhood to keep her from of the hands of an ambitious duke. Growing up amid the glittering court of Renaissance Aquitaine, to the world she is the marriage prize of Christendom – an instrument to be used or fought over by others. Proud of her heritage, however, Catherine will not passively await her fate.

Assisted by two loyal ladies in waiting and her aged governess, she spins her own web of intrigue, seeking allies to help her gain her throne. Riots, duels, murders, perils of the road, and an astronomer with a most peculiar mirror all test Catherine's mettle – and teach her the skills she will one day need to rule. She must also deal with ambitious suitors, including the Dauphin, with whom she has fallen in love, and a young Lyonessan gentleman-adventurer with an eye for the grandest of prizes.

At last her grandfather dies, and Catherine becomes Queen of Lyonesse – but is still held prisoner by the King of Aquitaine. Taking her fate in her hands she escapes, only to face a terrible betrayal. Ready to face the worst, Catherine resolves to command her own fleet to fire on her. Instead, aided by friends in both kingdoms – but most of all by her own indomitable spirit – she sails home in triumph to take her throne.

Bernita said...

Thank you!
We've really stretched the metaphor on this one, EA!

I was just walking along, Gabriele, minding my own business, when...but they are pernicious, are they not?

Bernita said...

Certainly, Rick!
Two things strike me at first reading.
(1)"To the world she is the marriage prize of Christendom - to be used or fought over...."
I have to wonder if that is really your hook.
and (2), you have a pattern of introductory clauses and phrases, some of which perhaps should be eliminated.
I don't care for your first sentence. Princesses have to work today too.Nor is the line that she cannot passively await her fate really necessary. The fact she's not a milk-and-water miss is illustrated by your mention of her own capacity for intrigue.
"Taking her fate in her hands," may also be unnecessary, for the same reason. Perhaps all you need is "She escapes, only to face a terrible betrayal. Aided by friends...throne."
Consider if you need only to begin with Catherine, etc. is taken away for her safety ( is there a need to explain who and why? Yes? No?) and brought up in the glittering court of Renaissance Aquitaine. She learns to spin her own web of intrigue.
Sorry these comments are not in order and very scattered.
These are just points to consider.
Overall, I think it's a good mini-synopsis.

Rick said...

Thanks! Great points to think about!

Ballpoint Wren said...

I like your plot bunny, Bernita! I'm pretty sure I've only got dust bunnies around here, though.

Bernita said...

Bonnie,thank you.
I have lots of those kinds too!

Rick said...

Bernita - on second read of your comments, boy is synopsifying a tricky business!

You're right about "work for a living." What I was really thinking was "work to survive," but instead it suggests a Prince and the Pauperish story of learning how the other 95 percent live - which this story isn't.

The ambitious duke is a McGuffin, so he's out of the synopsis, and a couple of other sentences trimmed.

But your comment "I wonder ...'marriage prize' ... is really your hook" is subtly and maddeningly ambiguous! First time I read it, I thought you were casting doubt on its usefulness. On second read, I think you're saying that it IS my hook - and whichever one you meant, I believe that it is.

Because the whole story is about Catherine not conforming to the world's assumptions, determined instead to be Queen, not pawn.

Bernita said...

Rick, I did mean that it was your "hook", your heart - in my opinion - so your second read was accurate.
Sorry my comments were so disconnected.I was scrolling back and forth. Should have asked you to e-mail the synopsis as well.

Rick said...

They weren't really disconnected; I was just over-obsessing!

And it's a slap-to-forehead thing, because Catherine refers to her own status as "marriage prize" frequently - and not with smug satisfaction.