Developing that idea -- now that is the real work!
Perhaps the entire story magically appears in some writers' minds, but not mine. An initial problem or obstacle, which is somehow dependent on the setting, usually has attached itself to the character. And an ending idea might loom somewhere in the distance, but getting from point A to point Z, takes some planning.
Enter the outline. Different writers have different outlining strategies. And different genres might also call for different outlining techniques. The fantasy book I am writing currently, Periphery, is formulated around Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. That plan works for a mythic fantasy, but I never would have been able to use it for my first two novels.
Some writers' outlines include every last detail. Those authors tell me they stick to their outlines come hell or high water. My outlines tend to be looser and more flexible. I tend to think of them as living documents. I might plan to a certain point, then draft, then outline some more, then write some more. Sometimes my stories want to tell themselves to a certain point, and then outlining becomes necessary. Having some form of a working outline, however, allows a writer to pick up their story at any point and write. And that, my friends, is the ultimate cure for writer's block!
Next Up: Another Outlining Strategy