|Photo thanks to hang_in_there|
As stated in No Plot, No Problem (by Chris Baty) it's the characters that make the story, not the plot. I don't 100% agree with this, but it's a great starting point. Personally, in all genres I write I like to have a strong lead character. As a reader books that use, what I refer to as, "pants syndrome" (thank you to The Oatmeal) (i.e. Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, I used these two as an example because 1)Twilight is the example to Oatmeal uses and 2) Both are different genres, but widely read.) bother me. Sure this writing tool can and will instantly grab most readers. It's an easy, and lazy, way to get a reader to identify with the main character. I strive to use the tool of 'suspending disbelief' mixed with strong characters to achieve the same effect. No cardboard characters here. (I believe Mia is going to do a blog later on about character back story soon.)
So I have characters, now what?
Now it's time to work on the plot. That scene that plays over and over in my head is currently a short glimpse of a man explaining to a crowd what submission is. He has a name, the woman he's using for demonstration does not. I concentrated on that scene to figure out what this was supposed to mean. As I thought more and more on it, the scene became clearer. Once I finish getting the scene idea complete, I'll start outlining.
Yes, I am an outliner. I don't get very detailed, I just jot down what I want each scene to do and then leave it up to the characters. Once the plot is loosely down, then I will start writing. I carry around a notebook for random ideas, I have a pin board to use for timelines, series and character points that are important.
That's how my ideas come to life. Anything can trigger that little voice. Some times it's as simple as zoning and drinking coffee. Once I had an idea strike me at the movie theater while running to the restroom. (As to not miss too much of the show.) I'll run with and idea when I have one, I adapt if the characters demand that it be changed, but an idea is always my first step.