I'm working on a book right now that's very different from all of my other books. The hero in everything I've ever written saves the day. If not for the entire planet, at least for one or two innocent victims of a terrible crime.
This hero, on the other hand, is battling an enemy who's after her specifically. No other victims, no planet-shattering threats, just this protagonist. More than that, this hero is fighting her own inner demons. It's a unique approach for me, and it's really pushing my abilities. But in a good way.
For me, I read a lot of "let's save the world" novels. It's what I love about the stories I read. From Harry Potter to The Dresden Files. Parasol Protectorate and The Sprawl Trilogy. There's something I realized about all of these books, though. The characters all change as people throughout the entire book. My characters do, too, but as I'm writing THIS book (and as I'm writing this blog post, actually), I'm realizing that what I love about those stories, above and beyond the "saving the world" action, I love to see the characters grow. To overcome their self-imposed hurdles more than the ones put in place for them by the "world-destroying monsters."
Rather than spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to make sure these changes are powerful for my sub-plot, I decided to make it my main plot. So far, it's working out well. Instead of saving the world, or even saving a friend, my hero is (hopefully) going to save herself.
Funny side-note: I'm also pantsing this novel rather than outlining. So I'm not sure how this book's going to end, yet.