I sent my manuscript out to beta readers last week and I’ve been jittery with nerves since then.
I’ll explain why. The current romance novel I’m working on dragged me off my pre-planned outline and far off the tangent for weeks. It took me a long time to go with the flow and accept my characters’ lead.
Eventually, I managed to complete the manuscript, but without confidence, because it didn’t follow my initial plan.
I recently received feedback from my first beta reader and I’m feeling energised again about the manuscript.
It wasn’t a “throw the entire story away” kind of feedback. And that’s a good start.
The plot is not bad at all. In fact, it was described as solid by the beta reader.
Based on that awesome and honest feedback, I only have to work on fixing a few plot holes, clarifying timeline issues, and getting rid of all my unnecessary adverbs. A mistake I often make.
All in all, I want my readers to know, I’m back on the grind, and I’m still at it.
Hopefully, you’ll get to share the journey of the characters in this story with me.
Till then, if you haven’t already read any of my stories, they are available on online platforms like kindle, nook, kobo, Okadabooks, Bambooks, iTunes, and as paperbacks from Amazon and RovingHeights, Nigeria.
Hello everyone. This week, I would like to share a deleted scene from The Governor’s Wife.
My editor and I debated a bit about the scene. We both loved it, but felt that it wasn’t necessary at the beginning of the story because it slowed the flow of romance between Ogonna and Philip.
Although it was sad to say goodbye, I eventually let go and allowed the information in this deleted scene to trickle down in chunks throughout the other chapters.
So, what do you think? It hasn’t been edited, so be gentle.
She had perfected this smile—an automatic stretching of her lips upwards to display dazzling white teeth and a half dimple. Everyone always complimented her smile.
“You should be the face of a toothpaste advert,” she had heard often, ever since she was little girl. She had recieved that praise repeatedly over the years, and believed it.
Smiling had become her way of coping with any ugliness life threw at her. As long as nobody else saw the pain inside, she could trudge on until things turned out fine.
Standing stiffly beside her husband, Ogonna tilted her lips into that impeccable grin as camera lights flashed around them, capturing the perfection.
“For he’s a jolly good fellow. For he’s a jolly good fellow. For he’s a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny,” the gathering sang, cheering for her husband.
She smiled and clapped, joining the crowd as they congratulated the governor for refurbishing the Library at the only University in her hometown, Ebonyi State.
Grinning from ear to ear, Ogonna dutifully walked beside him, shaking hands, hugging people, making small talk with other wives of politicians, guests whom she knew attended not out of loyalty to the governor, but fear. For who dared cross him.
He whispered something unintelligible into her ear and she laughed in response, knowing that the cameramen covering the event were scrambling to capture every detail, even fighting amongst each other for space to get the right angle for the best shot.
She was great at this. After six years of practice, she had honed down the act of creating an illusion, the image of happiness for the public.
She would see the pictures in the papers tomorrow. They would probably make the front page of most local newspapers.
Magazines—online and printed, would comment on the beautiful sparkly green and gold off-shoulder traditional gown she wore that accentuated her slender but shapely figure, highlighting her smooth chestnut-brown skin.
Young girls would look longingly at those pictures. They would admire images of her standing beside the tall, dark and handsome governor and sigh with longing, wishing and praying that they would end up like her—Mrs Ogonna Uchendu. The first lady of Ebonyi state.
She lived in a large mansion, drove the latest cars, travelled all over the world—had everything. If only they could look beyond the photographs, see past her perfect smile. If only…
“Time to cut the cake,” the MC announced, crashing through her musings.
“A launching party is never complete without item 7.”
Loud cheering followed that comment. Ogonna laughed too, holding her husband’s hand as she accompanied him to the front of the Library hall and to the table where the five-layer cake stood.
“At the count of three, the ever-efficient governor will do the honours of cutting the cake and opening the celebration. For we are here to celebrate the excellence of our great leader.” The MC, a tall broad man with a protruding belly looked as if he kissed ass for a living, a man who waited on, and bowed to anyone offering money. Not loyal to anybody who wouldn’t benefit him. The kind of people her husband surrounded himself with.
A crowd of over 100 guests from all over Nigeria clapped as Governor Uchendu sliced through the cake with arrogant slowness, revelling in the attention he received. All eyes on him. What he lived for. To be worshiped by people. To be revered, even if not honestly.
Ogonna looked forward to the end of the ceremony eagerly. Lately, she’d been getting tired of all the pretence. She couldn’t wait for the entire nightmare of her life to be over. But she had to stick to this façade of the doting supportive wife, to persevere, so that she didn’t end up dead like the governor’s former wife. Ruled as death by natural causes from the Local coroner’s office—A heart attack. Although now, she suspected differently.
Since she couldn’t prove anything based on a hunch, Ogonna had kept her suspicions to herself. She had enough troubles on her own without stirring up more by digging into her husband’s past with no evidence.
Thanks for reading. Please leave your comments. Would this scene have added anything else to the story?
I’m celebrating my pushing through a difficult writers’ block. My current work in progress has been a bit of a struggle. I had a perfect outline at the onset. Boy meets girl, overcomes a fixed challenge and falls in love. Simple happy ever after storyline, so shouldn’t be a problem, right?—Wrong!!! My characters have a mind of their own and took me on an unexpected journey and emotional ride that derailed me from my outline. For many weeks, I tried to steer them back to the planned plot, and this left me feeling confused. Last week, I decided to let them lead the way! And voila—the words kept pouring out! Now, I’m 3/4 done with the first draft. Lesson learnt from this experience: A plan is just a guideline. Be free to break the boundaries, set your mind free and let the story take control. I’m feeling positive about this manuscript. Can’t wait to share Emem and Yomi’s story. Who says romance writers have it easy? It’s easier to write about hate than about love!!!
Have you ever overcome a roadblock after setting a definite goal that you thought was straightforward?
Many thanks to everyone who voted. I’m so delighted, and I’m dancing right now.
This win is dedicated to God, for the ideas and ability, my family for their support, my friends, and most of all, to all my readers who continue to encourage me. I write because you read. You all rock!