With my latest novella I decided to try something very purposefully that I'd never done before. I took the basic (very, very basic, and fairly common/popular right now) concepts from two different books (which won't be named), twisted them around and made them my own.* It was a spur of the moment decision, partially just because I wanted to see what I could do with it, how I could make it mine. I wasn't sure if I'd quit, toss it once finished, or love it. In the end, I felt like not only did I fix the thing that bothered me most about one of the books (along with accomplishing my other goals), but also turned out a book I am pretty proud of. It may have started with those two books vaguely in mind, but it's solely my own as written.
Usually my writing comes from a dream - I'd say 90% of it. And as a total linear panster, I've never before sat and written anything intentionally, or with a specific purpose. It was a fun little side project that may turn out to be my first venture into self publishing.
Anyone out there done anything similar? Or do you usually have an idea of what you want your story to be before you write it?
*Let me assure everyone - there is nothing "stolen" about these ideas; they are concepts used over and over and over in books. Ie., one idea happens to be (sort of) the non-romance that still has major character chemistry concept, written into an erotica.