Dice for Love

by Wyatt Ong (@wyattcaraway)

Adult Contemporary Romance
Agents can request additional materials via our Agent Request Form.


I’m excited to present Dice for Love, an 83,000-word romantic comedy set in the Filipino-Chinese (Fil-Chi) enclaves of Banawe in Manila, Philippines. The manuscript is a #RevPit 2024 winner and has been undergoing edits under the guidance of Megan Records. Fans of Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors and Lauren Ho’s Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic will enjoy Dice for Love’s lively cast of characters and coming-of-age-yet-again themes.

Betty Go is the only older millennial at the prestigious Gen Z-focused digital newsroom, The Daily Scrum. As their lowest paid breaking news reporter, Betty writes dumb headlines like “Dog bites movie star, catfight ensues.” This won’t do; Betty needs a real body of work so she can earn a journalism fellowship abroad. Destination: anywhere but her hometown, Banawe, where all eyes are always on Betty as she struggles to be the perfect daughter to her recently widowed mom, Aria—even as they lock horns over clashing views.

Forced to go on endless blind dates set up by Aria and her circle of nosy bosom buddies, Betty reconnects with the son of Aria’s bestie—her childhood friend, Banawe heartthrob Charles. He and Betty feast unexpectedly at a hole-in-the-wall Fil-Chi deli, inspiring Betty to pitch a food story with her first byline that instantly goes viral—along with Charles’ sexy forearms. Finally seeing the project that will open the door to leaving home, Betty convinces Charles to help her eat their way through Banawe. Between flirting and arguing with Charles, Betty sees the brighter side to her Fil-Chi identity, even as she yearns to leave home. Meanwhile, Charles, a dutiful son, Fil-Chi golden boy, and Banawe entrepreneur, is firmly rooted in the Philippines. Betty must contend with the fact that her rising success means making Charles and Aria deeply unhappy. A slice-of-life meditation on code-switching, dual identities, aging parents, and intergenerational conflict, Dice for Love also examines the more uncomfortable worldviews of one’s community as Betty tries anyway to embrace her roots.

Dice for Love echoes my own experiences as a Fil-Chi editor at the award-winning Filipino media startup Rappler, where I was mentored by its founder, Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa and her merry band of badass women journalists. I’m a new US immigrant and still amazed that restaurants here give you free napkins!

First Five Pages


Betty Go was in the background again.

She was in the background of the daily newscasts so often, baking under the harsh studio lights for twenty minutes a day, that Betty had a special sunscreen, which she’d nicknamed “Betty Goo.”

The Daily Scrum was always in need of extras to appear in the frame behind the newscast’s anchor. A harried producer had grabbed Betty by the arm one day, deposited her in a chair, tossed a black Scrum shirt on her lap, and told her to “keep working, but never look at the camera.”

Betty had protested, wondering why she had to do it when The Scrum was always so crowded it felt like having one more person there would cause the newsroom to implode from the collective energy of a hundred scoop-hungry reporters and their overworked editors.

“Age Diversity,” the producer had snapped, with a gaze so imperious and severe that Betty had privately named her Medusa.

Age Diversity. At thirty-two, Betty had somehow found herself The Scrum’s oldest, and simultaneously, most junior reporter, one shaky rung above Becky the Intern. To most Scrummers, there wasn’t a difference; Betty had caught a few editors calling her “Becky-or-Betty” on more than one occasion. But at least Becky the Intern had a cool undercut. Becky had a giant sunflower tattoo ringed with Elvish. Becky had a viral video on TikTok.

Betty had none of these, and that made her the perfect extra. Her long black hair and dark eyes matched the black t-shirts she now wore to work every day, in case there was a need for Background Betty’s services. Newscasts extended Betty’s twelve-hour days to thirteen-hour ones, but she wouldn’t trade it for anything. How else might a lowly breaking news reporter get on the newscast or within five feet of the superstar reporter and head anchor, Jack Vega?

Betty couldn’t even get her real name on any of her stories. Breaking news reporters simply wrote as “The Daily Scrum.” Betty wrote headlines like “Two injured in back-to-school pep rally” and “Actress bitten by dog gifted by ex.” Still, breaking news happened year-round, ‘round the clock, and Betty felt lucky to have this job.

The Scrum would take you as long as you were willing to grind, to hustle. Kayod, as the Scrummers liked to say in Filipino.

Kayod. Betty liked this word. No language, not English, nor her native Hokkien, the Chinese-Filipino dialect she spoke at home, had a direct translation. The pure boots-to-the-ground, ‘round-the-clock attention to the game. Both eyes on the prize.

She thought of this word as she shifted to a better spot in the camera’s eyeline. A dirty piece of tape on the floor marked her position behind Jack Vega. Betty kept working on her laptop. Being an extra didn’t exempt you from the grind.


Despite Medusa’s impressive hollering, newsroom life went on as usual. All around them, reporters ran around the floor, debating angles with their editors. The production crew went over last minute script adjustments with Jack, who had disappeared under a giant curling iron being wielded by Veronica, The Scrum’s receptionist.

Monitors everywhere, turned on to every news program in the Philippines, fed anyone with eyes a steady stream of the Philippines’ daily news. Court orders. Typhoons. Unexplained crime. Corrupt politicians. The odd celebrity scandal.

She settled in her post. When she was “Background Betty,” she got to sit on one of the plush ergonomic chairs behind the newsroom’s main desk, which Scrummers called the Nucleus. On most days, only editors could sit there.

Like the rest of Metro Manila, the Scrum had plenty of space for a select few, while the rest of the people on the pyramid hunched over their battered computers on too-small plastic desks.

The lights dimmed.

Betty’s thoughts thundered back to the present—and to the half-finished news story in front of her.

“QUIET ON SET!” yelled Medusa.

The newsroom obeyed just a touch.

Betty lurched forward in her seat. A little chill made her shiver in anticipation. It was time.

“Livestream going hot in three…two…” Medusa mouthed the “one” as the title card on the monitor dissolved to reveal Jack Vega standing in the middle of the newsroom, busy worker bees like Background Betty buzzing behind her.

Betty hunkered down with her best “I’m seriously working!” face: a little grimace, eyes squinting at her laptop. She had practiced that in front of the mirror twenty times.

She finished sending off a new breaking story: Coco the Corgi to open Manila’s Third Dog Cafe in October.

She snuck a look at the newscast’s monitor, which told her that twenty-two thousand, four hundred and three people were currently watching Jack run down the events of the day. The number climbed and climbed.

“Tonight: Senator Renato Santino is silent as his corruption scandal escalates…”

Twenty-four thousand people.

“…Three armed robbers take over a local bakery van, spilling thousands of pan de sal all over the North Luzon Expressway. Typhoon Odeng blasts into Northern Luzon…”


Twenty-five thousand people watched Background Betty dive for her phone, fumble with it, and drop it with a loud thud.

“EEEEE-OOOOO-EEEE-OOOO!!!!” The siren seemed to get louder.

Betty threw herself on top of the phone like Captain America throwing himself on a detonating bomb.

Betty rejected the call.

The rest of the newsroom rejected her—silently. Two editors on either side of her glared at her in tandem.

If Medusa’s looks could kill, Betty would be rolling on the newsroom floor like the doomed pan de sal on the North Luzon Expressway, with twenty-five (now closer to twenty-six) thousand viewers as witnesses.

Could she die now?

It would make a good headline, at least. EXTRA PERISHES FROM ON-AIR HUMILIATION, IS LATER FIRED.

Cool as ever, Jack ran smoothly through news of class suspensions from the incoming typhoon. Betty did not exist, and neither did her errant phone and its obnoxious ringtone.

She saw Medusa relax a little. Betty had never felt so thrilled to be completely ignored.

Betty uncovered the bomb—her phone—with growing trepidation. The screeching siren could only mean that the call came from her mother, Aria Go. Worry seized Betty, hand in hand with annoyance at being interrupted, and the familiar grip of grief. Her mother only called when something was wrong. It had been that way since they’d lost her dad three years ago.

A barrage of texts greeted Betty. She read them in her mom’s stern, over-enunciated drawl.

Dice Game tonight. Do not be late.

Are you picking me up? You are picking me up. Pick me up 6:30

What time are you getting here? Wear red.

Look nice for everyone. Lipstick at least. Wax eyebrows

6:30. Don’t be late. You are always late!!!!!

Betty felt out of breath just reading the messages. Yes, she knew the dice game, an annual tradition for her mom’s group of girlfriends and other Chinese-Filipinos this time of the year, was tonight. Mama had been looking forward to it all year. Betty could never miss it, not unless she wanted to end up as one of The Scrum’s top headlines: GIRL GOES MISSING AFTER DISAPPOINTING HER MOTHER.

Aware that even the slightest actions in the background could be observed by eagle-eyed Scrum viewers, Betty tugged surreptitiously at both her ears, as if the feeble gesture would shut her ping-ponging thoughts down. It did nothing to quell the image of her mother’s waiting gaze, downcast and disappointed by default.

What else was new?

She dashed off a quick reply that she’d be only a little late, then snapped her gaze back down at her notes, peering at her laptop, impervious to its glare. Eye strain, and the dark circles and crow’s feet that came with it, were every Scrummer’s battle scars.

Agents can request additional materials via our Agent Request Form.
Photo by Zoe on Unsplash

Previous Post