Dennis McKiernan said the story begins when something changes and the adventure begins when something goes wrong. He suggested you mull over an idea to figure out if it's worth writing about. He keeps a Word doc of all his ideas, but Patricia Briggs noted she won't read the ideas if she writes them down.
Patricia Briggs said "I don't have ideas. I have characters." She starts with unhappy characters and throws them in a room with other unhappy characters (happy characters don't have stories). She said the one plot is characters solving a problem. As for outlining, if she knows how it ends, she doesn't care.
Weston Ochse noted that everything he's read is a mystery (characters discovering things), and "every story is a mystery at its heart."
Bruce Davis finds it hard to write nice characters because when you're in someone's head, you don't think nice things. He doesn't think total heroes exist, but total jerks do!