One of the books I’m considering working on–the one that would take the most work–is something along the lines of what Tanith Lee did with her Flat Earth books. (Something else I owe to noltain.)
The Book of Whispered Psalms is a collection of interwoven stories about the men and women of a Temple devoted to the Goddess of Erotic Love. A fantasy novel, of course, but one that would deal openly and frankly with sexual politics.
The High Priestess of the Temple, Alenja Valcroix (I flipped a coin for gender… honest!), is not the focus of the novel, but she is an almost omni-present character. Given the nature of such a place, stories revolve around her rather than directly involve her. Think of the way Gaiman handled Dream in his Sandman stories and you get the picture.
Stories about the clients, the priests and priestesses, jealousy, bigotry, hatred, rival temples, assassins, politics, poison, intrigue, bribery, murder… and, of course, sex.
This is my most challenging choice. There is no direct, linear plot, but a collection of smaller plots that must fit together. I did this with No Loyal Knight, and while it was fun, it was also a chore. (It also involved a lot of inserting small clues in the earlier stories once I discovered something in a later story. For example, having Pearl pop up in Dead Friends didn’t occur until after I began writing Shinju.)
I have a few characters in mind, a bit of a plot, and a twist that I like very much. This is Option #1.