The concept can be my own or if there is a call for a particular theme from an editor/publisher, given. A given concept can be anything from holidays or settings, a picture or feeling, an experience, but I’ve found that publishers stay away from specifics so that writers can apply the concept within their own genre and subgenres. With or without a concept, a flash in the form of a voice or character presents itself. I usually have an idea or two already floating around in my head. But without relating it to a conceptual framework, it has no shape.
In short, I start with characters and then develop the plot given the characters’ traits.
How do you start writing, and how do you create characters?