I'm writing NOW OR NEVER, Book 2 in the Nevermore Wizards series. My original proposal was written right after I finished MUST LOVE LYCANS, Book 8 in the Broken Heart series. I hadn't quite switched mind frames because my editor's response to the NOW OR NEVER proposal was, "It's too Broken Heart."
And she was right.
Broken Heart has a casualness to it, an informal approach to narrative where slang, cussing, contractions, and colloquialisms create the familiar vibe.
Nevermore, despite being a small town in Texas with a slightly Southern feel, is more sophisticated. Urbane. Dark. Formal. It's not without its humorous moments, but unlike Broken Heart, the style is meant to loiter on the edge of urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
So, I started over. Because I didn't want to lose those pages of material I'd already written, I tried to re-work them into something more appropriate for the series.
I kinda succeeded.
Then I woke up the morning after that rewrite and realized that I needed to begin again. I may yet use those scenes in another part of the book, or maybe in another book, or maybe (probably) just as a bonus on my website. But I axed them.
I started over.
And then I ... started again. Just a little tweakage to make it better.
Fiction is wonderful that way. You can fuss and revise and cut and add and change. It was one of the real pleasures of writing, at least for me, the way a whole world can change because of a few new sentences or a deletion of dialog.
Wouldn't it be nice if life were like that? Not all the time, of course. In the real world, I can't change what I've said or done. I have to live with harsh words spoken too quickly or an impulsive act born of impatience and frustration. Yeah. In life, there are no do-overs. In fiction, there are endless do-overs. But there's not perfection. There's only "as good as I can make it right now." Oh, sure. I look back on previous novels and see how much progress I've made. I try to measure it in progress, too, and not failure.
And you know what? In real life, you may not get do-overs, but you get start-overs.
The point is to keep going and keep trying. To never give up. To remember, it's the journey that makes the story, and life, so worthwhile.