Brisk Autumn Plot Bunnies

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Need new ideas to feed into your NaNoWriMo project? Want a spark to ignite a short story? Here are some quick plot bunnies to chase down!

The Keeping Tree

You just bought a new house, and there’s a gorgeous tree in the front yard. You’ve enjoyed its shade all year. When autumn comes, however, you notice something strange. Although it looks like the other trees – it’s leaves change color and all – it doesn’t actually drop any. There should be a dense, crunchy carpet as the leaves disappear from its boughs, but there isn’t. It drops nothing. What is going on?

Food Poisoning

Imagine the worst possible Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe the food is awful and you have to pretend it’s good so as not to offend the cook. It could be a strained family situation where everyone snips at each other. Worse, you might be eating with strangers who have strange rules you don’t understand. Like no one is allowed to talk at the table, even though it’s Thanksgiving and you’re supposed to. Why are you there, and how will you get out?

Hidden in the Leaves

As a kid, you’re raking neighbors’ yards to earn some extra cash. You’ve done a lot of homes already, and you’re just finishing the woody side yard of your closest neighbor, when your rake snags on something. At first you think it’s a forgotten Halloween decoration. Then you realize it’s very, very real. What is it, and what do you do?

Set Backs

Traveling for the holidays? You hit delays and have to make an unexpected, overnight stop. The hotel is fine. No problems at check-in. The room is clean. Even check-out goes seamlessly. But when you step outside, something is off. You almost don’t notice. What is it, and how will you get to your destination?

Family Traditions

Your family has a holiday tradition you always thought was weird, and no one else seems to do anything like it. Imagine one year you find out why your family has this tradition, and it’s nothing good. How do you cope? Do you continue the tradition, or do you fight it?

Colorful Foliage

It’s a beautiful time of year, and you agree to send your international pen-pal a pressed leaf from your favorite tree after it changes color. You send off your leaf. You wait in anticipation. The leaf your pen-pal sends is… like nothing you’ve ever seen. No one you know can identify it (and, yes, we’re counting the internet as someone you know). What is it, and how does the mystery propel your story?

Secret Recipe

How well do you know your friends’ and relatives’ secret recipes? One night around a campfire, you enjoy a cup of hot apple cider, cocoa, or mulled wine. It’s delicious, but the next morning, you notice something different. Is it because of the drink? What’s going on?

Have you written anything like one of these prompts? Do you have other, autumnal plot bunnies you’d like to set loose in the community? Share your thoughts and ideas with other writers below!

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