They love leading the unsuspecting traveler off on a merry chase to parts unknown. They’re not that bad in the full exploration allotted by a novel, but in a short story they’re deadly.
You start writing, establishing the main character and the story premise. But soon you feel the vacuum.
So you give the physical setting and wander a little to try and give a nice feel of this new world. People appear on stage and cultural idiosyncrasies inevitably dot the scene. That’s when the bunnies start burrowing in. What was once such a simple story is trudged down in the functional interactions of character and culture. Architecture, modes of transportation, climate, vegetation and economic conditions sprout out of the rich soil like masses of volunteer tomatoes in a newly watered greenhouse on its second season.
A woman in a pink spray-on dress struts by and before you know it, you’re rambling on about mass governmental welfare programs clothing the masses in paint and scars of class warfare and…
Wait – now where was this story supposed to go? It had nothing to do with the last five or six hundred words… In a story that you swore to keep short, that’s a lot of fluff.
And so you hack your way back to the plotline (leaving a neon note to “fix transition later”).
Two paragraphs later when your MC jumps on public transportation you find yourself giving a mini history lesson on why it’s called the GreenRail even though there is no rail and why airplanes have been banned but yet TSA is alive and thriving.
Oh heck with it! Just jump to where something plottish actually happens. I’ll fill in how he got there some other time.
I actually ran off and jotted down the start to a totally unrelated short story set in the same world just to have some place to lock up one persistent tangent fluffball. A lucky transplant indeed since many will fall as tragically innocent victims of slash and burn revisions.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Sometimes it’s either the story’s energy and punch or the deep scenery – one of them has got to go. They may be cute, but never underestimate the bunny!
Don’t believe me, just look at what happened to the quest for the Holy Grail (at least according to Monty Python, which may or may not be fully accurate) or Hoodwinked. “Never trust a bunny!”
So, how do you battle the bunnies?