I’m at ConnectiCon this weekend and I’m reminded me of one of the first panels I was ever on. It was at Balticon and the subject was, “What comes first setting or character.” I sat amazed as several of the panelists made their case for one or the other, thinking that I must be an idiot because to me the entire question seemed ludicrous. The reason is that as I considered my various projects the answer was, yes, no, neither, both. What bout plot? What about concept? It seems there is no rhyme or reason that makes me want to write a particular plot.
In Hollow World, the setting is integral to the story…but is it what came first? No…it was a concept. That “what if question” that seems to be the basis of most of my ideas. I currently have a great set of characters code name Nick and Nora. I’m constantly making notes about them as characters, but I have no story to attach them to yet.
For some authors I’m sure they have a place that always starts. Maybe it is the character, or the the world they want to place them in…and that’s fine…good even. But why have a panel on something that is such an individual choice? It’s not like you can take what the panel says and apply it to your own writing.
I think part of the trick of writing is finding what works for YOU. And sometimes that means stop considering how others create their books and experiment with what “makes it happen” for yourself.