The book that pulled me in today was a children's book on writing with the standard chapter about how ideas are everywhere. It went on, however, to suggest that when you want to write a story you think of a setting first. The character versus plot debate is never-ending, but starting with setting? I had itchy Twitter fingers over that one. I'd never started a story with a setting - had I? Had I?
Well... Maddy and Gabe's story in The Boy Next Door started with the seed of a girl who would have to risk her passion for the ice for love. Sure, a girl is a character (although girl as setting could get interesting - and possibly R rated - fast) but the ice...is a setting. My fantasy project for VCFA is a story about an elf alone...in a world where elves are supposed to be only legends. And while "world as character" could be another wacky story seed...yeah.
It's true that I didn't think just of the setting, but the setting was important to my story seeds. Character versus plot versus setting - another candidate for the debate. Of course, no matter how you like to start, great stories need to grow until they're strong in all of these areas. Swoon Reads editor Holly West wrote a great post about this on the Swoon Reads blog: Ask an Editor: Story Seeds. Check it out, and add some more fuel to your writing energy today.