Author Topic: Finesse the Wife, 80k upmarket women's fiction  (Read 664 times)

Offline raevan1111

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Finesse the Wife, 80k upmarket women's fiction
« on: August 08, 2021, 05:42:42 PM »
Thank you for your time. One question I have is the use of all caps in this first chapter, it is the only place in the manuscript I use all caps for dramatic purposes.


Seems like life is like the drumbeats through a song. Any song, a rock song. Most of the time you are just keeping time, silently counting the endless repeated moments. One-two-three-four. One-two-three-four. Every once in a while, you hit a fill. Summer vacations, Christmas mornings, birthdays. They are a little more exciting, a little different, a distraction from one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four. And then there are the solos. Once in a lifetime, maybe twice. Explosive and defining. And then the decision; will you return to just keeping the beat, keeping time, killing time, return to one-two-three-four?  Or not?

Chapter 1

One thing leads to another. And then another. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned that life is a series of events, moments, milestones, and seemingly meaningless instances that may seem on the outset wholly autonomous, but are, in fact, helplessly intertwined.

And, of course these events led me to where I am now, and to him.

Most stories that start like this would at this point ask, So, where should I begin? followed by the obligatory, I guess from the beginning. This always begs the question though, where is the beginning? What is the beginning? Is it the day we met? The day Chris joined that damn band? The night Reece was arrested for assault? The day Cory smashed Reece’s water guns to bits and told him he was a little asshole? Or even before all this? Cory’s dysfunctional childhood? My own fragmented history? I mean we could dive deep, we could go back and back and back.

But, I’ll just begin, here.


At this point I was barely conscious. The Pitocin juiced contractions had been coming every minute for an hour.


With the one arm not in a cast and sling Dr. Fink threw all of her not unsubstantial weight into my left leg as Cory threw his less substantial weight into my right leg, bending me so far in half I could lick my knees. I pushed, I screamed, I teetered on the edge of black out.

“I NEED HELP IN HERE!” Dr. Fink pleaded again. A sudden horde rushed my delivery room and someone was on me, straddling my chest, her ass in my face, pushing this stubborn, stuck, willful child out of me as I screamed.
And then, he was out.

Did someone joyfully announce It’s a boy!? I can’t remember. I don’t think so. I just remember the new urgent plea from Fink,


Someone shoved the baby into my face.

“Hope no one bought this one size newborn clothes,” someone else joked.

Light tittering slightly broke the panicked room.

“He’s got hairy legs,” I heard myself muttering, “Hello, Reece,” I greeted my son.

And then he was gone, the emergency pediatric team swept him away and I started blacking out again. Cory shook me back.
“I’m going with him,” he said to me. He was pale, fear was on him, “You did great, the baby is fine, but his arm is moving slow, he needs an x-ray, I’m going with him.”

And just like that, Cory was a father.

The fear that descended upon my husband the day Reece was born never left. He experienced something that day that I did not, he was witness to something horrifying from which I was spared.

Now certainly, as the mother, most of the horrifying experience was endured by me and me alone. I physically birthed a ten-pound child whose enormous head had been stuck bobbing above my narrow pelvis for weeks. The red flags Dr. Fink missed were many. Local 6 clinic care was often spotty, but still, so much damage could have been avoided if she had connected the dots that spelled out the obvious: the f**king baby was not going to fit. Barley passed the gestational diabetes test? Check. Head not descended as it should be at thirty-six weeks? Double check. Surely by thirty-seven weeks he’d move down into position. Nope. Surely by thirty-eight weeks Fink would insist on a c-section. Oh, wait, no, Dr. Fink was in a car accident, we’ll need to skip that appointment. Hey, at thirty-nine weeks he’s come down a little bit, nowhere near where he should be, but Dr. Fink says she can graze the top of his head with her fingertips. The birth shall be vaginal! But not yet. Due date come and gone? Yup, that’s a triple check, or is it quadruple, I lost count. Stressed fetus detected at forty-one weeks? But of course. Let’s induce this puppy, and no, delivering a baby with a broken arm will not be a problem, your husband can help.

So Cory helped.

 “You need to come home, she wants to induce, we need to go to the hospital,” I didn’t mention the words under distress, it seemed unnecessary.

“Leaving now,” Cory’s nervous excitement rippled over the line, from his mid-town hotel to our brownstone apartment. We were about to be parents, it was a mind boggling concept. Were we ready? Well, is anyone ever really ready? We’d gutted the only closet in our studio, took off the doors, painted the walls light blue, put up a gingham teddy bear border, and found the smallest crib possible and shoved it in. Our closet became a nursery. We were ready.

It was a difficult night. Word of advice, teaching hospitals mean you are a guinea pig. Of course teaching hospitals are necessary, of course medical students have to learn somewhere, but that ceases to compute when an intern is repeatedly stabbing a six-inch epidural needle into your spine because they just can’t f**king get it right.

The Pitocin drip brought powerful, painful contractions upon, as mentioned, a very stuck ten-pound baby. Like a power hose trying to force a ping-pong ball through a straw, either the ping-pong ball was going to contort, or the straw was.
The first power struggle with my son. Not the last.

Well after dawn Fink showed up with her broken arm and waited for me to dilate, which wasn’t really happening. At some point the stress monitor told her the baby needed to come, now, full dilation or not, and the horror show began.
Cory wasn’t given any real instruction beyond, grab that leg and push, so he did. I slipped into some type of evolutionary survival mode. I gave every ounce with every push, and then darkness would take me for a minute as my strength respawned. Part of me was aware that Cory was crying, that Fink was screaming. I don’t think I was cognizant that the baby’s life was in danger, or that mine was. I was living moment to moment; push, pass out, push.

Cory could not pass out, could not escape. He saw how stuck Reece was, he saw the look on Fink’s face as she screamed for help. He saw me fading. He saw the color of Reece when he was finally, violently, dragged out of me.


And every step along the tumultuous road we were set upon that day would bring Cory back to that grey moment.
“Something happened to him,” he would say so many times over the next twenty years, hot tears in his eyes, “You didn’t see him, I saw him. Something bad happened to him, something broke, that’s why he’s like this, it’s not his fault, he’s broken.”
Cory tried so many times to describe it to me. He was grey, he wasn’t moving, he wasn’t breathing. It was a beat of a moment, a fraction of a second, and then… a breath, and his body filled with color. Grey to pink, like a cooking prawn. And his APGAR scores reflected this, all good. We had dodged a bullet.

But, of course, we had not.

Offline Wheelsgr

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Re: Finesse the Wife, 80k upmarket women's fiction
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2021, 07:38:46 PM »
This is not typically what I would read but it is more or less well-done. I was not sure where it was going until the final sentence indicated that the story was going to be about the child's development. The prologue is good. However you then get a bit repetitive in the opening of chapter 1 saying the same thing about days being all the same.
Using all caps is a decision, I don't see the big deal about using all caps one time to emphasize a crazy situation.
"He was pale, fear was on him, “You did great, the baby is fine, but his arm is moving slow, " these two phrases feel a little awkward but I'm not that bothered by them.
Overall a very readable chapter, I read all of it even though my attention span for this type of writing is not always there. Good job!  :clap:

Offline raevan1111

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Re: Finesse the Wife, 80k upmarket women's fiction
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2021, 05:32:27 PM »
Thank you very much for reading and for your feedback.

Offline Jub666

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Re: Finesse the Wife, 80k upmarket women's fiction
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2021, 10:05:38 AM »
I really enjoyed this. Very much. I would definitely read on.  I would delete the prologue. It's not really bringing anything to the story. Start with Chapter 1. I think prologues are only really necessary to set up background information or events which don't fit into the actual story. I have read that a lot of agents dislike prologues too. (Not sure how true that is though!)

I would change this sentence:  Most stories that start like this would at this point ask, So, where should I begin? followed by the obligatory, I guess from the beginning. This always begs the question though, where is the beginning? What is the beginning? I think the words 'begin' and 'beginning' are used too many times. Perhaps try and change to use alternative words in a couple of places.

I would also change: With the one arm not in a cast and sling to something like 'With the one arm not immobilised by a cast and sling' - I had to read your sentence a few times before it made sense.

Where you state: delivering a baby with a broken arm will not be a problem - I think you need to make it clear that it is the doctor whose arm is broken and not the baby. I was confused after I read the whole thing that you already knew the baby had a broken arm and was wondering how it had happened and why a vaginal birth would be a good idea for the baby who was already injured.

Barley passed the gestational diabetes test? - should be Barely passed the gestational diabetes test.

I'm no expert on punctuation so I shall leave someone with that knowledge to comment on any grammatical errors. :D

Other than the above, I think it's a great start. I love the voice and I love how many questions the pages raised and how I wanted to carry on reading (which I hope I can do one day!).