This is a variation on the old chicken and the egg story because of course we need both plot and character in order to tell a compelling story. But I wonder for other people, which comes first, the plot or the character?

I’ve always thought it was the character for me because I absolutely have to have the characters and a piece of the character’s voice before I can begin a new book. But lately I’ve been doing a lot of pondering about various book projects and realize that it has often been the snippet of a plot that lead me in search of a character. That doesn’t mean that I found the character right away. And in the case of one book I’ve been working on for years and years and YEARS I realize that I’ve got tons of plot and nothing but wooden characters.

What about you? What comes first, plot or character, and is it consistently the same or does it vary?