When you first come up with an idea for a novel, what comes first?  The Plot?  The Characters?  Or the Situation?  I often find that the situation comes first, characters next, and plot last.  For example:

  • Wouldn’t it be interesting if we lived in a world where there were two dominant species on the planet?
  • Hmmm, I wonder what sort of person would be interesting to read about in a world like that?  Maybe someone of mixed heritage.  Or someone who started being a species-ist and ends up in love with one of the Others.
  • How would that even happen?  I guess they would have to be doing something that put them into contact with the other species, maybe they’ve been re-assigned at work and their new partner is the other species, or…

And so it continues.  Usually the first few plots that spring to mind are a bit lame.  Sometimes it takes days of percolating in the back of my mind to get something useable.  I don’t recall ever having come up with a plot first and then found the world and characters that fit it.

How does it work for you?