A Weird & Witchy Writer’s Secrets to Stellar Satisfaction

A Weird & Witchy Writer’s Secrets to Stellar Satisfaction

Image Credit: Girl Holding A Book And Standing In Library by Scopio from NounProject.com

What writing a book really looks like

Read on for…

  • Behind the scenes into my process and timelines of writing my debut novel
  • How Bond and Song is the gift that keeps on giving
  • My favourite part of revision
  • How you can do good with your reading
  • Encouragement and inspiration for the next time you face a mess in your life or work

{Every other Friday, my newsletter subscribers receive a personal love letter from yours truly, affectionately titled the Friday Mythical Mera Missive. Sometime later, some of the time, (some of) it goes live here—for love is best shared, and yet some love letters are writ to stay secret…}


Most of spring, I spent doing happy fairy clapping complete with giggly squealing and waist wiggling. 

Want some of that in your life?

Let me explain…

So you sit down to write a novel. You actually write the whole damn thing, all thousands of words of it—around 80k for an average contemporary romance, 60k for a young adult book, or 120k+ for fantasy with lots going on. You may have spent months or years.

(In my case, in case you’re curious, about 8 months with a year break in the middle, at the middle. The second half is a frightful thing, let me tell you. You’ve enjoyed all the fun and games and reached that midpoint climax, and now you’ve got to send your characters through the thicket to your grand and epic conclusion. Cue procrastination courtesy of your terrified perfectionist. Plus, you know, life happening. New job, new home, new immigration & residency status!)

At last, the great work is done. The miracle accomplished.

Or so you think—hehehhehehehee. (Do enjoy the evil cackle.) No no no, now you go back and go through the whole thing at least three more times! Enter—revision.

From macro to micro, from story level to scene level to page level, you now go about joyfully fixing and pruning and actually making miracles happen when you sew up those plot holes, and solve impossible propositions, and gleefully drop hidden clues, and discover your own genius in themes and mirror images, and make your characters behave like themselves, dammit.

First you look at the overall story structure and arc and pacing, then you tackle the arc and pacing and tension within every scene, and at last you have an intimate encounter with every single sentence, caressing each word into shape just so.

Turns out, this tedious procedure—a three month process for me with my debut novel—is also roaring fun! Scene-level revision in particular revealed itself to me as delivering singular satisfaction.

It would go something like this:

I sit down with a scene—the different vignettes, different happenings of the story that we get to experience, that a chapter is made out of. I read through the scene, and behold the mess. I remember one scene specifically where I wondered, ‘…and what. is. your. point?? Why are you here, what do you do for this plot other than being an indulgent heap of fluff?’ 🤣

Then I dive in. I restructure, and re-write, and add conflict, and uncertainty, and crystallise an emotional shift. I put feet on the ground—my first draft conspicuously lacks settings…my brain tends to glaze over when reading all those descriptive details—and intrigue into the end.

Until eventually this rich and fertile mess of beautiful moments slots into place, and tightens and pops, and glows and works as a scene. And then I behold how it sings, and I fairy-clap and happy-wiggle.

My debut novel Bond and Song has 89 scenes. 89 incidents of squealing. Scene-level revision weeks were delightful weeks!

Weeks later, I’d doubt if any of it was any good. Some further weeks later, I’d love it and squeal again.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving! 😁

I’m also giving a percentage of all profits generated through the sale of Bond and Song to nature conservation organisations (you may have an inkling as to why when you read it!).

And—if you choose to pre-order your copy, you can pay less and still do good with your reading. It’s a win-win-win!

Darling, I wonder—where in your life or work can you trust that no matter how messy it may all seem, there’s beauty to be teased out here…or if the situation is really dire, remember that s*** makes for great fertiliser? 

You can’t edit a blank page (or unlived dream, or unstarted project). A mess you can work with. And it can be so fun! Your inner kid knows this. Your inner adult does, too… ahem ahem.

So what’s your version of scene-level revision? Where does the shine and sparkle come in for you, and what makes you do the happy wiggle? 

I invite you to pause and think of one thing, one part of whatever it is you do in and with your life, that makes things pop for you.

(Got it? Fairy claps for you! I dare you: Do a waist wiggle next time you do that thing, and really consciously enjoy it!)

May you sing your soul’s song and may your heart bloom in love,

Your Word Weaver,

Mera Akiana

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