The change of the weather is putting me in a creative mood, and once again I'm at a loss for what to write next.
As I've pondered this question, I realized that the main reason I haven't gotten more than a few pages into a fantasy novel is because of Lord of the Rings.
I first read it in middle school and I've re-read it dozens of times in the years since, most recently earlier this year. Each time I do so, I'm impressed by the quality of the work and instead of inspiring me to write something on similar lines, I am forced to recognize that Tolkien's masterpiece is the first and last word in the genre.
Obviously, there's a thriving market for fantasy books, and I've read more than a few, but they all struck me a second-rate when compared to the work of the master. The essential problem is that I can't think of anything to say that Tolkien hasn't already said better than I ever could.
I admit that at one point I was gearing up for a Game of Thrones-style work, but my motivation barely got me to to 15,000 words before failing. I found the Game of Thrones worldview demoralizing and writing something like it was unpleasant.
Since I write primarily because I enjoy it, I dropped the project.
At the moment I'm re-reading Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End series. Perhaps it will give me some insight on what I want to do next. I'm somewhat torn between doing a sequel (or prequel) of an existing work, or striking out with something new (hence the ongoing discussion of fantasy).
The advantage of the sequel is that there's a built-in audience and it's fun to revisit an earlier book. On the downside, that sort of thing requires careful attention to continuity. Starting from scratch, on the other hand, offers maximum creative freedom. Having been recently bound by the constraints of non-fiction, that's what I'm in the mood for at the moment.