The chicken or the egg?
No, I'm totally kidding. That's not writing related at all. =)
Which comes first...the plot of your story or your characters? I think that's something probably all of us have wondered about our favorite authors, and it's something we have to figure out in our own writing as well. It's different for everyone, and I think for some people (me included) it's different for every story.
Which is it for you? Do you come up with an amazing, detailed character and then craft a story around her (or him? or them?)? Or do you think up a basic concept for a story first?
Not sure which one you do? Think about You've Got Mail. And if you haven't seen that movie, I demand that you go watch it. Like, right now. =) Most likely you've seen it, so just work with me here.
If the characters came first in that movie (or well, technically the movie Shop Around the Corner, which this one's based on), then one day someone was sitting around and thought up Kathleen Kelly's character. "What if I wrote a story about a sweet woman who doesn't like conflict and loves books?" From there, whoever created the story would have had to think of a plot (because following around a woman who is sweet and likes books but who has no goal or purpose doesn't make for such a great movie...) and would have to build the plot based on the character they created.
If plot came first in this case, then someone sat around one day and said "Hey! What if I wrote a story about business rivals who accidentally fell in love online because they didn't know each other's true identities?" Then from there, they developed the characters and the other details of the plot.
How does it usually happen for you?
Most of the time, I'm character driven. A character will invade my head and as I think about them and get to know them, their story comes out and I piece together a plot that reflects their story. But every once in a while I'll get a vague concept for a story plot "hey--what if THIS happened?" and then I have to let that idea roll around in my head until my brain makes up characters that fit with it. (Yeah, I know how weird all of that sounds...) This is the first step for me in writing a new story.
So what about you? Character? Plot? Both?