Currently I am planning to do a short story or two featuring the back story of some of my main characters from Hell has its Demons. I am still doing quite a bit of background research for the novel, and this takes some time, and I keep feeling the urge to get some writing done. But I think the problem would be if I went off and wrote about other characters and setting I might start losing the focus on my main project. Also writing some shorts about the same characters might help flesh them out and be a good work out for getting the right style for the novel.
I’m partly inspired to do this by the short stories of Susanna Clark in Ladies of Grace Adieu. These very much use the same style and setting as her novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell.
So if it worked for her, it can’t be such a bad idea! Although I am rather concerned that it took her ten years to do all her background research. Sometimes I feel that it might take me at least that long!