Welcome to my 200th Post!
Which is cool to note, but I have something else to chat about today. :-)
In putting away my last two projects, both years in the making, I realized something very important. Though relationships inspire me, they also drive much of my plot. This results in us getting to know the characters a lot in the first few chapters, then this leads to events developing in the second half that could have been there the whole time. Or my big problem isn't as strong as I thought it was, because it wasn't thought all the way through from the beginning.
The solution, of course, is to figure out the greater plot ahead of time. I'm, uh, not entirely sure how to do this, though I have some theoretical knowledge about it.
Usually, I just start writing and see what happens. I'm trying something entirely different this time around. This past week I've been getting together my inspirational pieces and jotting notes about characters, location, artifacts, groups and cultures, etc. I'm getting to know the world very well, but I'm still not entirely sure what the problem is beyond the dirty laundry of relationships.
This isn't an issue so far. I'm going to write Fantasy this time so there is a lot of world building, and much of the research I do is balanced with me having to make a bunch of crap up. Not having a 'world is ending' plot point yet doesn't matter much at the moment, but it will once details come into play.
So, here's my multifaceted question. How do you start to plan, particularly the 'Big Problem' piece? Do you pants it? Does it come to you first? Or does inspiration come from somewhere else?