The battle between stories is over, and it didn't even make it to the writing stage. I turned my sci-fi story around in my head enough times and kept seeing holes I didn't want to have to think about yet and it quickly lost steam. Which means...FB3 will be next. Yes, thank you, thank you. No applause necessary.
Here's what I've done on FB3 so far...
Took all my notes from FB2 (and there were many) and combined them with my various story arcs for FB3. I cut out a couple of superflous arcs, added a new story arc tied to all the Ted drama, and revamped a few others. My normal story prep process once I'm at this point is:
1. Write summaries for each story arc.
2. Break each story arc into time periods, which allows me to keep track on when things occur and how much "story" time has passed before something in the arc happens again. (In this case, FB3 will cover about a year, so I used the seasons as my break points.)
3. Break each arc into individual scenes, which allows me to add more detail to the story arc. (As the story progresses, I often tweak these. I might break a scene into multiple scenes, combine some, add or delete others...)
4. Determine the relationships between each story arc, which keeps the whole thing cohesive and helps me know when one scene must follow another.
5. Mix all the scenes from all the arcs together so the story moves from one arc to another fluidly and in an order that makes sense.
6. Re-read the previous story to make sure I 1) have addressed all the open arcs, 2) haven't repeated anything in my scenes for the new story, 3) start at the correct spot, and 4) immerse myself back into the story's world and fall in love with my characters all over again.
7. Start with the first scene and write, moving from one scene to another in the order I've placed them.
All this is said to let you know I'm in step 6. I've completely mapped out FB3 and I'm about a third of the way through my reread of FB2. I can safely say that I'm chomping at the bit to start writing. I'll let you know when I get started.