The End is Only the Beginning

Here's a topic for all you writers out there (and I mean anybody that writes, publishing notwithstanding):

How do you create a scene?

What do you start with? Do you plan everything out meticulously with an outline and pie charts, or do you thrust your characters into a new situation and let the chips fall where they may?

For me, I find that coming up with a new scene, chapter, or even entire story starts from the smallest point, and expands out in a "big bang" of ideas that all eventually congeal into something worthwhile. Call it an unpolished way of thinking, but that's just what works for me. For example, if I was writing the arrival of Dorothy in the land of Oz, I might start with the Lollipop Guild. First I come up with the concept of a few munchkins with a song on their lips and a sailor-like attitude. Perhaps I like them, but what can I do with them? Ah, perhaps I can create an entire race of similar beings with a city -- the perfect place to start my protagonist (Dorothy, who I have already come up with in a previous scene) on her journey through the curious land of Oz! From here, I create the other munchkins and their personalities. I'll also need a reason for Dorothy to travel to the Emerald City...ah, here's where we can add the good witch Glinda. She'll conveniently get the plot moving forward after her appearance in this city, but...hmm...what's she doing there? Oh! The wicked witch, of course!

Like I say, sounds a bit convoluted, but that's how I work. Start at the finer details, and paint the overall picture from there.

How about you?