Summer is fast approaching (YAY!!), and so is the pressure to think up a new novel. I teach 6 classes (160 students/1,200 papers to grade) per semester, so I take great delight in taking my entire summer off each year. I make no apologies for it. I travel a wee bit, but mostly, I rest my tired brain and I write. My goal is always to write a novel per summer. Sometimes I meet that goal, and sometimes I don't.
Currently, I'm on Book 4 of my "cottage" book series. I have no idea how many books will be in the series, but so far, I have vague ideas mapped out, up to Book 10! (The literary agent has Book 1, and if - huge "if" - she takes me on as a client and it sells, that'll give me motivation and affirmation to continue into the series that far. For now, it's just wishful thinking....).
Anyway, I've been having lots and lots of ideas and inspiration lately for Book 5, but absolutely zilch at the moment for Book 4 (these two books really can't be swapped - one of the character's stories needs to be told before the other's, in the scheme of things).
So, I've decided to give in. The Muse wins. Apparently, she wants Book 5 to be written first. Thus, I'll abandon Book 4 for the meantime and write Book 5 in the series next. It's not a big deal, writing them out of order this way, especially since they're sort of "stand-alone" books. But I like things in order and had always planned to write these in order. It feels funny, going against the grain, doing something out of sequence this way. But, it's necessary to write the book that apparently wants to be written. In fact, it's downright insistent - I found my mind flooded with plot details this morning, and could hardly write them down fast enough. If that's not a "sign," I don't know what is.
Question: Has your Muse ever nagged at you, urged you to go a different direction than you'd first intended? And the bigger question - did obeying her help or hurt your material or the process itself? I'd love to know your experiences...