Down the Rabbit Hole and into the Maze: | Laurell K Hamilton

The White Rabbit from 'The Nursery Alice' by John Tenniel, Held and digitised by the British Library, and uploaded to Flickr Commons. A higher resolution version may be available for purchase from BL Images Online,, reference 065443 I fell down a rabbit hole this week, not a literal one, but a literary one. No, I didn’t reread ALICE IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carrol, but that’s where the original idea of following a strange rabbit down it’s hole and falling into something, or someplace, totally unexpected came from. I first heard the term ‘rabbit hole’ used for writing by Emma Bull on a panel at Archon, a science fiction convention here in St. Louis. I was in the audience back then because I had yet to sell a single story of my own. I had read and loved Emma’s book, “War for the Oaks,” and listened to any bits of writer wisdom from her with great attention.

She and her husband Will Shetterly both explained that for a writer to fall down the rabbit hole meant an idea, or subplot, that led you off your plotted path. They seemed to think rabbit holes were always a distraction and the writer should climb out and get back on their plot path as soon as possible.

Years later with my own writing group, The Alternate Historians, we continued to use the term in much the same way. If you are a writer that plots and outlines heavily then rabbit holes are truly a bad thing, but if you are an organic writer like me, sometimes the rabbit is right. I believe George R. R. Martin calls them gardeners as opposed to architects.

What does it mean to be an organic writer? For me, it means….

Article continues:   Down the Rabbit Hole and into the Maze: | Laurell K Hamilton.


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