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When I was in high school and later at college, teachers and professors seemed to always say: "Start with a conflict and then use other elements to build around that." I have since tossed that idea in the garbage heap. It doesn't work for me, so there.
In all of my fiction writing - be it long or short - I first create and develop a character. When I'm done I look for a useful setting and plop my character inside of it. Finally, I come up with conflict(s) that may or may not come from the heart, mind or soul of the character. It works for me! I have always viewed my fiction writing as characterological studies.