Spay and neuter your plot bunnies!
Good luck with that. Now that I'm reaching the end of Disciple, I've been suffering an explosion of plot bunnies. In case you didn't know, "plot bunnies" are story ideas that pop out spontaneously -- usually branching off an existing story. Good stories tend to inspire a lot of plot bunnies. Plot bunnies interbreed freely and can lead to some wild stuff, especially on the porny side of things.
Since Disciple's my own story, these aren't fanfic ideas so much as potential future stories -- but not all of them are going to work, necessarily. Some are quite vague. Some would set precedents that I don't necessarily want in this universe. Some are openly non-canon and I'm not going to go there at all. Some are more or less porn, and... well, okay, I've written some of those already but nobody needs to know about that.
Plot bunnies are a good thing, in the long run. The headline is a joke -- don't try to control their population. Let 'em breed. I write them down once they're at least a sentence long. I check on them every so often. They mutate when you're not looking. Cannibalize each other. I've been working on Disciple for a long time, and facing its completion... and knowing I'll soon be tending my plot bunnies... it's bittersweet. A bit disconcerting. But I thought I had it under control.
And then I was assaulted by a completely unrelated tribe of plot bunnies. After starting to write this post, I watched this episode of NOVA (there's a link to the video there) and had to beat the plot bunnies off with a stick. The strongest absorbed the others, got his teeth into me, and I had to add him to the Brainstorm Zone -- which is a whole Scrivener file I created for ideas.
It brought to mind a recurring writer-interview question, since I've had to write a lot of those recently: where do you get your ideas? Good Lord, where don't you get ideas? And I've never quite understood why people are so protective of ideas. They're a dime a dozen. It's execution of the idea that takes work, talent, and ought to be protected. And charged for access to.
So watch the episode. Your plot bunnies will be different from my plot bunnies. Your final story, if you write one, will be different from mine, if I write it. No worries.
How do you manage your plot bunnies?