Friday, June 10, 2011
BUNNIES, BUNNIES EVERYWHERE . . .
When I set out to write this blog, I stood at my back patio doors looking outside at my yard. Within moments I noticed movement under the bushes along the fence line. In our neighborhood, even though I live in a large city, we still tend to get several different "critters". Some I don't mind seeing in the yard, some I mind quite a bit. This morning, though, was one of the happier sightings. Coming out of the bushes was a cute little brown and white bunny. There have been several wild rabbits spotted on our street, so the sight of this one wasn't a big surprise. Seeing a second bunny come hopping out behind the first, though, that was a bit more unusual. So standing there with my first cup of coffee in hand, I eased the curtain aside and watched.
The bunnies played in the grass, running and hopping. It looked almost like a dance, a fun game, with one racing toward the other and right as he/she would reach the other rabbit, it would hop straight up in the air and land only to race in the other direction. They did this over and over. Then I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. From under the same bushes as before, another lone figure slowly emerged from the underbrush. Easing forward, slowly, body crouched low to the ground, one step at a time, it paused to look around before focusing on the two young bunnies at play. Slowly it inched forward, step by step drawing closer. The two at play never notice the possibility of danger creeping slowly up behind them. They were having so much fun running along to and fro, hopping up only to run again. They ran through a small hole in the fence, only to race back in seconds later.
With a burst of speed, the third body sprang forward tackling one of the playful rabbits, barreling into it full force. A third bunny had gotten into the yard and wanted to join in the fun. They raced across the patio, oblivious to any sense of danger around. I watched these three bunnies play for a few minutes thinking about how what they were doing was similar to how we write.
We start a story with the two main characters, the hero and villain. As writers we could take then on a straight path from point A to their goal, the villain is foiled, and everybody lives happily ever after. End of story. But where's the fun in that, not just for the writer but for the reader? Instead, like the bunnies, we have them do their dance, running toward each other only to veer away (or hop away as the case may be). We send our characters down rabbit trails, following false clues, making them backtrack and start their dance over again. If we're really creative, we throw in that third person to provide that element of danger, that layering of suspense. Is this the villain? Are they a friend? A lover? We can take it in any direction we want.
Do you have your characters following bunny trails throughout your story? Do your characters do their own special dance, a few steps forward, a hop back? Sometimes, if we take the time to stop and watch the bunnies, following those bunny trails in our stories can be a good thing.