Becky Jerams

Songwriter. Singer. Author.

My New Novel - Update

Hey everyone!

So, I can hardly believe it... After ten months of writing, and 108,000 words, I have FINALLY finished the first draft of my brand new novel... Eeeeeek!!!!

As many of you know, my other books were all written on a weekly basis on the website Wattpad, which was a fantastic experience, but this time around I wanted to keep things a little quieter as I worked on them, ready for a big reveal. So this is actually the first time I've gone into a project completely blind without any reader's comments to guide me. It's a little terrifying as I only really have my own judgement that I am going in the right direction. But I LOVE these characters, and I really hope that means other people will love them too.

The story is also a lot more personal to me than my "Love Series" books. Even though there were plenty of little pieces of me scattered in Scotty, Olive, Benjamin Apple and co, I don't think any of them have captured my personality or my struggles in quite the same way as the leading ladies of my new story have. These two girls are ME, both in different ways. And all the themes that run through the book are incredibly close to my heart.

I don't want to give too much more away because there is still a lot more work to do before the book is finished, but I will tell you a little about the process of writing it. Many of my friends have said to me that they can't believe I've written so many words or want to know how I manage to come up with whole stories the way I do. I can't really explain how the stories come, they just kind of appear fully formed in my head during a flash of inspiration. I can't take credit for that, I'm just the lightning rod where my muse chooses to strike.

The hardest part for me isn't thinking up ideas, but actually sitting down and getting the story out, every day, come rain or shine, even when you can't be arsed or feel like the whole thing is going nowhere (EVERY writer feels like this at some point during their project, trust me). Sometimes it's definitely a struggle to keep going. But honestly, it's all about routine and getting into the habit of writing little and often. if you can master that then you can 100% finish your book! You just need to take it word by word, sentence by sentence, and soon enough everything starts falling into place.

I was lucky that I had a lot of time to write this year over summer - since I work in a Uni, I am not needed in so much when the students aren't in. I got so much work done over this time period which was great. However, getting back to early starts and late finishes was HELL and I never seemed to have enough time to write as much as I wanted. I started getting up an hour earlier than usual at 6am so I could get a few hours writing in before work (I find that my mind is far more alert and energised first thing in the morning rather than after work!)

It was beyond frustrating to get into the flow only to be cut off by time limitations, but I did the best I could each morning and I soon discovered that persisting morning after morning, even if I could only write one or two pages, was enough to get the novel finished!

Well... the first draft anyway! There is still lots to do and I've already found a whole load of things I want to fix, change, tweak and clip. For a start, I want to get the word count down as much as possible and get rid of any unnecessary waffle. I am a TERRIBLE waffler and I'm trying really hard to work on my problem of going massively over the designated word count.

I also want to change a few character's ages and fix a lot of dialogue. My main character sounds like a completely different person in the early chapters of the book compared to the later ones. I always find it takes a while for a character's voice to fully form in my head and I have to get to know them as I'm writing. When I first wrote Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me, Scotty was really brash and swore a lot in the first few chapters which was so different to the sweet-natured, polite character he became! So consistency is definitely something I need to focus on!

Another aspect I want to work on is making my words really sparkle and shine. So far, I've just wanted to get the story out by any means possible. Now I have to look at everything from the grammar to the tone, to the choice of verbs and adjectives. I need to buff and polish those paragraphs into something way more poetic than they currently are. Which I am sure is going to be an enormous job because right now some of what I've written barely makes sense LOL.

Sooooo... I've finished, but also, I've only just started. I have no idea how long it will take me to get everything sounding perfect, but I'm estimating around 6 months realistically. I hate that it takes SO long to finish a bloody book. I am from the music world, where you write and record a song in a day then wait a few weeks for production and it's all wrapped up. To have something that takes around 2 years from start to finish feels so ridiculously slow that sometimes it's just unbearable. I am like an anxious whippet at the start of a dog race, DYING to shoot out and run, but the gate is always holding me back.

Still, it's pointless rushing anything. I want this book to be the best I can make it so I can pitch it to agents, and that will take however long it takes. And hopefully, by the end, I'll feel super proud of the final product and the immense amount of work I've put into it!

So there we go! That is where I'm at right now and I'll definitely keep you all posted on the next stages. Now I will just end this massive musing by stressing how strange it is to have something take over your WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE for so many months that no one else knows about. I literally spend every waking minute of every day thinking about my story and characters and my next move forward in the world I've created. And when I'm not thinking about the story itself, I'm thinking about where to find agents, what contacts I know who might be able to give me advice, how to get funding if I go down the indie route and what books I can be reading next for inspiration.

It's all pretty time-consuming. And whenever I mention it to other people, it's so hard to explain that this is more than a little hobby to me now, this is literally EVERYTHING and I have to get it right or else I just wasted 2 years of my life and my whole future is OVER (NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING).

Ahem. Anyway. It'll all be fiiiiiine. (*nervous manic laughter*)

Thanks for reading this long old post, it feels great to be able to express myself and talk about thisjourney so far! Now I'll end with some of my current favourites:

CURRENT FAVOURITES:

1. Pink Hair!

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Last weekend, my Mum and my boss Jacqui both helped me dye the end of my hair bright pink! We did it with a LIVE home bleaching kit followed by LIVE pink dye on the tips. My hair is very dark and we accidentally missed out the blonde booster with the bleach, so it didn't take very well and left me more "sun-kissed" than blonde. I was worried the pink wasn't going to show up at all because of this, but the end result was surprisngly vivid! The overall look was way more subtle than I had been expecting but I think maybe it's nicer than had it been totally neon.

It's faded a little in a week, but I'm hoping we can give it a round 2 pinking just before I head off on my Honeymoon in just over 2 week's time eek! Which leads me nicely to CF #2...

2. Honeymoon Planning

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On November 6th, Mat and I will be jetting off to Japan for our belated Honeymoon and I'm SOOOO EXCITED! It's been such a long wait for us to go (we wanted to avoid the really HOT summer in Tokyo, as well as picking the best time for work), but now it's almost here and I'm so ready for it! Thank you SO much to all of our wedding guests who helped us reach our goal of getting to Tokyo, you really have made our dreams come true. We've been booking up so many things to do and researching all the districts we want to go and explore. There is so much to do that it's hard to fit it all into 14 days. I can't wait to switch off for 2 weeks and have an amazing adventure with my favourite person in the world. I think it will be a truly life-affirming and transformative experience!

3. American Vandal

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This Netflix show is one of the most brilliant and innovative series' I've seen for a very long time. Set up like a real crime documentary, the story follows a high school jock called Dylan who has been expelled for drawing penises all over the teacher's cars in the car park, only he claims he didn't do it despite the weighty evidence stacked against him. What starts off as a stupid "dick joke" style comedy, becomes a really fascinating look at unpicking evidence and society's habit of putting people into boxes. It was hilarious, clever, surprisingly complex and full of heart. I cannot rave about this enough, I just loved it.

4. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn

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This is not my usual stlye of book AT ALL, but I picked it up in the library and gave it a go since I know it's been a huge hit and I honestly could not put this down! It was so thrilling, darkly comic and filled with twists and turns on every page. I think I'm going to give thrillers more of a chance now because it really did capture my imagination. Will definitely check out the movie version next too!

5. Strictly Come Dancing

IT'S BACK! You know Christmas is coming when Strictly is back! I just love this show, the glitz and the glamour and watching all the contestant's journeys. This year my favourite without a doubt is Susan Calman and her beautiful friendship with Kevin Clifton. Alexandra Burke has also blown me away with her amazing dancing! Such perfect Saturday Night Viewing!

6. "Frozen Charlotte" by Alex Bell

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Another book choice - I am 3/4's through this one at the moment and I am absoutely hooked! This is a YA read so aimed at a younger audience, but it's also a horror and a really creepy, compelling horror at that set on the Isle of Skye and involving scary porcelain dolls, ghosts, posession and a host of sinister cousins who aren't quite what they seem. This has been HUGE mind-inspiration for me and is making me really want to write a young horror at some point in my career, something I never thought I'd be interested in doing before. I hate anything gory or unnecessarily violent, but I do have a streak for the macabre and love shows such as Scream Queens, True Blood etc. (I just close my eyes at the super gory bits LOL). I think I like young horror because it's scary without being too graphic and focuses more on the mystery. This book is part of the "Red Eye" series that features many more scary stories for kids so I'm going to read some more for research and try my hand at my own in the future!

I'm not sure if I will get time to blog again until I'm back from Japan, but I promise I'll be back with an account of all my adventures when I return! And I will try and vlog some of the trip too as lots of people have asked if we will :)

See you on the other side! 

Becky xxx

My new blog! (Autumn Reflections)

Hello everyone!

It's that time of year again. Summer is slowly petering out to make way for colder temperatures and darker nights. Leaves are falling off the trees, Christmas is gearing up in the back of everyone's minds. Oh, and Squarespace has charged me for another year's renewal fee, right at the moment when I want to be putting my money toward literally anything else besides boring website maintenance. 

But still, something about this combination of events, and the fact I've been enjoying the blogs of other writers recently, has given me a little kick up the bum to get my own blog set up on here. I have always blogged extensively for a large portion of my life, from angst-ridden Livejournal posts as a teen to extensively detailed Myspace posts to Wordpress and every other blogger format known to mankind.

Then something happened. Real life got busier. I started writing actual fiction books alongside juggling a thousand other things and my blogging fell somewhere along the wayside. I guess I wondered what the point was anymore. But you know what? I miss it. There is something incredibly therapeutic about writing down your thoughts and feelings and adventures, even if it's only for your own personal pleasure (and maybe for your Mum to read).

So welcome to Becky's Diary, 2017 edition! I'm not going to stress about updating it tons, but when the mood strikes I am hoping to write about all the things I'm passionate about, list the things I am loving, rant about the things I am hating and generally share all the craziness that's been going on in my world. Did I mention 2017 has been crazy so far? Here are just a few of the crazy but awesome things that have been going on since January...

1. I GOT MARRIED.

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Yep, after ten years together me and Matty finally tied the knot on July 8th at The Square Tower in our home city of Southsea. It was absolutely the best day of my life, neither of us could stop smiling for a second and having all of our friends and family in the same room was absolutely magical.

We had been planning the day for a year and a half, and after initially claiming what a cool, laid-back bride I was going to be, I turned into a total cliche. Crying over lamps, shouting over earrings, having "Weddy Krueger" style wedding-nightmares on a regular basis of everything going wrong. Because it turns out that planning a wedding is stressful. I think it nearly gave me a full-on anxiety-ridden nervous breakdown at points. But my God, was it all worth it.

It really is a day I will remember all my life and meant so much to me to make our commitment official in front of everyone we love. People say it's just one day and you shouldn't put so much importance on it, but it was about so much more than one day. It was hundreds of days of planning and laughter and love. I feel like it brought me closer to lots of friends and family and it made me appreciate just how far me and Matty have come together and made us even stronger than before.

In short, it was perfect. Also, the hen do was fricking brilliant and you should all watch me and my girlfriends miming to Destiny's Child like drunken superstars:

2. I GOT MY FIRST WORLD #1!!!!

Yes it really is as insane as it sounds. After a year and a half of waiting for news on my co-written song You Better Know it finally launched on the night of my wedding (what are the chances?!) with the K-Pop band Red Velvet. Meaning I woke up not only a married lady, but with 20,000 tweets to read through all raving about a song I wrote another lifetime ago in Sweden with my songwriting friends Kanata and Pontus and lots of rum. And then, after 3 TV performances and even a mini music-video by the band, the song hit #14 in the charts with over 120,000 copies sold (the best-performing Red Velvet album track of all time). Then the mini-album reached number one, not just in Korea, but in the world.

Surreal is not the word. I still don't believe this any of this really happened.

I have been writing and pitching songs for Asia through my publisher for many years and dreaming of the day a big band would finally cut one of my tracks, so I really can't put into words how much this whole thing has meant to me. To know there are literally hundreds of thousands of people out there (a number that boggles my mind) listening to this song just blows me away. To know that I charted in Korea. That it's been played on Korean SNL, on huge tour dates which other famous K-Pop acts attended (*waves to Taeyeon*) and that it has been covered by dozens upon dozens of strangers on Youtube all making their own art with it. The song has become bigger than the three of us who wrote it. You Better Know has flown into the world and become it's own entity now which I truly hope has brought strength and hope to people when they've needed it most.

All I've ever wanted to do is bring joy into people's lives with my music and I feel like I've finally made a small mark on the world through this song. Thank you so much to Kanata, Pontus and everyone behind the scenes who made this dream possible.

3. I HAVE HAD MORE CUTS IN 2017 THAN ANY OTHER YEAR

So on top of the amazing Red Velvet taking a track, this year has seen more songs than ever before finally finding a home. So far in 2017 I've been lucky enough to get the following placements for my co-writes:

- Elvina Milkauskaite: "Try" (Lithuanian Eurovision Heat 1)

- Mariya Nishiuchi: "Won't Leave Without A Fight" (Single B-Side)

- FAKY: "Surrender" (Music Video)

- FAKY: "Chase Me" (Ending Theme To Gundam Build Fighters)

- K.OH!: "Ponytail", "Take Me Back To Summer" and "Fight". (All performed at Summer In The City 2017)

- Djamila: "Invisible" and "Hush" (Both featured on Dutch Teen Movie "Misfit")

On top of this I am still waiting on two more release which (fingers crossed) are coming out later this year/early next. One with a solo J-Pop act and another with a well-known K-Pop girl band.

A huge thank you to both DWB and Kanata Okajima for all these opportunities and placements. I am hoping when the royalties start trickling through in a few years time that this will all be a great start to gettinga house deposit and building up a future from something I love to do, which is truly an amazing feeling.

I remember times when I thought I was never going to reach this level with my music, but everyone told me to be patient and keep working at it. I kept on being persistent and now all the hard work is paying off. Hopefully this is just the start of many more to come if I keep writing and pitching, fingers crossed!

4. I TURNED 30

This is the craziest thing of all. And I'm not going to lie, I've been having apocalyptic levels of existential crisis about hitting the big three-oh, the kind that keeps me awake at night worrying about the inescapable passing of time.

BUT on the plus side, I feel really good in my skin at this age too. I'm much more confident in my own decisions. I'm assertive in ways I could never dream of a decade ago. I know what I want out of life and I'm not wasting anymore time in getting it. People's opinions matter less and less to me. I've managed to stop looking slightly less of a mess in daily life (unless you see me at work, in which case you'll see the same scruffy state as always).

I can travel alone. I can make small-talk with strangers. I can use the oven. 

I am getting "house-broody" and I'm filled with wanderlust.

I've held my dearest friends close and the ones who slipped by the wayside don't cross my mind anymore.

I am a wife  and I have a husband. Blimey.

All in all, I'm in a really good place right now. And once I've accepted the fact I'm in this new decade, whether I'm ready for it or not, I think I'm actually going to really bloody enjoy it.

5. I AM WRITING A NEW BOOK

OK this is the last crazy thing on the list, for now. As many of you reading this may already know, I am writing a book! A brand new one outside of my Love Stories series with all new characters and themes.

I don't want to say too much about it yet because it's still in the super early stages and I'm not ready to reveal any secrets yet. But I will give a few hints...

1. I have a female main character this time around - and girl power/female friendship is a huge theme of the book

2. Other themes include sibling rivalry, jealousy, dealing with haters, self-esteem issues and most importantly MUSIC!

3. There's also some romance. Of course!

4. There are parts of this book project that I am working on with my amazingly talented friend Ellie Wyatt, and I am SUPER excited about our collaboration. That's all I'm gonna say for now...

I have been writing the first draft for around 7 months now, and I estimate it will take the same amount of time or more to edit it once I've finally finished. I've been working my bum off trying to bring the story in my head to life and I feel as though I've poured more of myself into the pages than any of my previous novels. I've also been working on it completely blind without any kind of audience this time around to steer me in the right direction. It's really scary. I have no idea if people will react the way I'm expecting, or rather hoping them to.

I definitely go through cycles of being absolutely in love with the story to doubting every little part of it. And motivating myself to keep writing every day, even on the bad days, has definitely been a challenge. However, I've had more good days than doubtful ones. Because I LOVE these characters, I love this world and I love having the chance to bring messages that are important to me to an audience. All the wonky little pieces will fall into place if I keep working hard. I won't stop going until everything fits just right.

So... watch this space! Fingers crossed that sometime in 2018 I'll be able to say an agent has pricked their ears up at the book. And if they don't, I'll just work my bum off to launch it myself! GOD BLESS THE INTERNET!

Right. Enough mad rambling from me for now. I look forward to updating this little corner of the virtual world and sincerely hope some of you will come along for the ride.

I'd like the end with some of my current favourites, because who doesn't love nosing at other people's recommendations for STUFF?

 

CURRENT FAVOURITES

1. Taylor Swift's new music video

COME ON THIS IS JUST A VISUAL MASTERPIECE. So many hidden references. A blinding hit of a song. Taylor looks bloody gorgeous and the sheer drama of the whole thing is breathtakingly amazing. THERE IS A FRICKING TOWER OF TAYLOR'S FALLING TO THEIR DEATH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Genius. I'm SO hyped for the album.

2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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I just finished this book last week and I loved it sooooo much. Not to mention I cried a literal ocean in my living room at the ending. It was so well written, romantic and inspirational. I'll definitely be checking out Ms. Moye's entire back catalogue now.

3. Kesha's new album

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Kesha released her new album Rainbow last month - her first collection of songs since escaping her record contract with Dr. Luke. It's been clear that Kesha has been forced to fit the wrong mould for years now and the hellish limbo of being unable to release any new material has lit a thousand fires beneath her. This record is absolute pop perfection, from the stunningly emotional Praying (best pop song of the Decade?) to the more upbeat and sassy tracks such as WomanLet Them Talk and Boogie Feet. Also huge shout-out to the lyrical brilliance of Learn To Let Go and Hymn, both of which brought literal tears to my eyes in a public place (oops). Kesha has a lot to say on this record and I'm so happy she finally has the chance to say it. Plus her voice is immense, the best I've ever heard it. Such a good album!

4. Zoella

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I have always been aware of the phenomenon that is Zollea, but it was only during her Christmas vlog-a-thon in December that I really got hooked on her videos. Since then I have watched her weekly updates religiously, to the point where she basically feels like an extended member of my own family. I love everything about her warm, cosy videos. I love her style, I love her gorgeous house and homely tips, I love her dog Nala, I love her walks around Brighton doing fun things. It's total aspiration-inspiration viewing and makes me want to be a domestic Goddess (or at least be a Domestic Goddess vicariously though her). I also LOVE her entrepreneurial streak and have become a big fan of her shower gel and Let's Spritz body mist. Can't wait for the Snowella Christmas line to launch very soon, yay!

5. Black Mirror

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After the news of a fourth Black Mirror season hit Facebook this week, I've been going on Netflix and filling the gaps of the series I've only half-watched. (Why I've been watching random episodes from every series I have no idea)... I caught up with San Junipero  followed by the original episode National Anthem last week and loved the fact that two such wildly different stories and genres were written by the same man. I think Charlie Brooker is a genius and his twisted cautionary tales are scary, compelling viewing. Shut Up And Dance has been my all-time favourite episode so far (and feature's my friend Ellie's song in one scene!!!) - looking forward to what new dark twists and turns come next.

6. Dodie Clark

My last favourite of the month has to go to the incredibly talented singer-songwriter/Youtuber Dodie who recently released her second EP You onto iTunes. I was lucky enough to meet her and see her perform live at Summer In The City over summer and it was honestly one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Her music has so much passion and tenderness, I have fallen head over heels in love with every single song. Both of her EPs are beautiful and the extensive list of live covers on her Youtube channel are well worth watching too. I am a massive fan and I hope I can find a way to book a songwriting session with her one day. You never know right?!

I hope you enjoy these picks and check some of them out! Thanks so much for reading. I'll be back again very soon because writing this blog has reminded me how much I've missed the wonderful world of blogging!

Take care and let's catch up again soon!

Becky x x x