For some people the ideas for writing novels originate in the interconnection of events. From the abstract desire of communicating something, actions start to link and lead to consequences and further actions.
An emerging line of argument is eventually created: “this event happens first, then this other and finally that one”. This is how they get a pretty defined idea of what they want to say, where the action will take place and what the surprise or original element of the story will be.
During this stage the characters usually are vague stereotypes, useful to the story to be told. These writers focus on outlining a plot, trying to make pieces, facts and twists fit… many times with disappointing results. However, one of the most important components has not yet being developed: the characters.
Another group of people do not generate writing ideas based on events but on characters. This is valid as well. Having a profound knowledge of the main character is still an excellent way to resolve the journey of a story.
Take into consideration that writers, even the less experienced, are expert readers (or should be). You, like many, have read, listened and watched stories for a long time. However, even when we all can confidently separate a good novel from an irrelevant or bad one, when evaluating our own stories our judgment becomes cloudy and we lose objectivity.