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DEEP SUMMER - YA Southern Gothic

Young Adult Horror

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#1 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 07:23 PM

Latest revision in post #12!

 

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother last summer. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—that he saw a girl in the road, and his brother was going to hit her.

 

Lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to figure out what really happened that night. He discovers the girl is a spirit known as the Lady of the Lake, and her haunting is connected to a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left.


 

The deeper Jessup dives, the more he’s plagued by memories of an ancestor who lived in the town and knew the Lady—he may have even loved her. But Jessup can’t let some phantom feelings stop him from putting her to rest. Unfortunately, the Lady’s not the most dangerous creature haunting Lake Walker, and the real threat knows his name.

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.



#2 lnloft

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 07:50 PM

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier. Everyone's going to give you an opinion as to whether this belongs here. The truth is it depends on the agent. Personally, though, I'm not a huge fan of it here. I really don't find loglines hook-y enough.

 

Last summer, the car Jessup and his brother were driving swerved into Lake Walker. Only Jessup survived. Everyone blames him for the accident, since he’s the one who grabbed the wheel. But no one believes his reasoning—that he saw a girl in the road, and his brother was going to hit her. I feel like this can all be tighter. You take four sentences to basically say Jessup was in a car crash because he saw a ghost girl. I'm not saying that the information you included isn't relevant, but I think as an opener this loses some urgency because of how much is here.

 

Now lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup returns to unravel the mystery of what happened that night. He discovers the girl is a spirit known as the Lady of the Lake Do you think this name might invoke a little too much of King Arthur?, and her haunting is connected to a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left.

 

The deeper Jessup dives Heh, I see what you did there. "Deeper he dives". Well played. , the more he’s plagued by memories of an ancestor Wait, so he's suddenly having memories belonging to someone else? This comes a little out of nowhere, and wasn't expected with the mythos established so far. who knew the Lady and may have even loved her. But he can’t let phantom feelings stop him from returning her to the ground. Unfortunately, the Lady’s not the most dangerous creature haunting Lake Walker, and the real threat knows his name. Stakes aren't entirely clear. What's his goal? I think it's that he wants to lay her soul to rest? And then this last sentence is unfortunately too vague. I know the mystique is part of the story, but I don't have a good grasp of the threat. Is it just likely that whatever is there will kill Jessup? Will his soul be trapped to wander with the Lady? Or maybe the whole town is in danger? Specifics will help nail down the stakes.

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifyies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the real haunted history to write this story.

It's not a bad starting point at all for a query. I don't have much to add beyond what I already noted, which is generally a good sign. Tighter opening, clarity in the final paragraph. Good luck.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#3 fatalkiss19

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 02:28 AM

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier. (Usually this goes under the book summary with the word count and title unless you're greeting a personal intro for the agent. Ex: I'm querying you because of your interest in "something"...)

 

Last summer, the car Jessup and his brother were driving swerved into Lake Walker. Only Jessup survived. Everyone blames him for the accident, since he’s the one who grabbed the wheel. But no one believes his reasoning—that he saw a girl in the road, and his brother was going to hit her. (I feel like you should start with a logline. A solid sentence that will hook the agent and make them want to read more. As for this paragraph I feel like it should be tighter like the person above me suggests)

 

Now lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup returns to unravel the mystery of what happened that night. He discovers the girl is a spirit known as the Lady of the Lake, and her haunting is connected to a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left. (How does he discover her? Does she show herself again or does he see if wandering around? If the residents never left then why is there only one lady of the lake?)

 

The deeper Jessup dives, the more he’s plagued by memories of an ancestor who knew the Lady (How is he having these memories? Is he possessed by a ghost or did he touch something that's giving him visions?) and may have even loved her. But he He can't allow can’t let phantom feelings stop him from returning her to the ground (She a spirit, I don't see her as going to the ground. Usually spirits want to move on to the next plain. You return bodies or zombies to the ground.) Unfortunately, the Lady’s not the most dangerous creature haunting Lake Walker, and the real threat knows his name. (What are the stakes? What can this creature do to him? What happens if he doesn't help this spirit woman? Why did she kill his brother? Does his brother now haunt the lake too?)

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identify as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the real  true haunted history to write this story novel.

 

 

You have a great start here! Add a little meat and you'll have a winner.



#4 Anna.k

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:48 AM

Thanks for helping out on my query!! 

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things (Oooh I love this already) in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.(But should it be at the end?)

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother last summer. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—that he saw a girl in the road, and his brother was going to hit her. (Like the above commenters, agree to condense this into one, punchy sentence)

 

Lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to figure out (Figure Out seems too casual maybe..uncover? unearth?) what really happened that night. He discovers (How?) the girl is a spirit known as the Lady of the Lake, and her haunting is connected to a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left.
 (Confused by this wording. Do you mean its residents drowned? If so, just say that)

 

The deeper Jessup dives, (Lol) the more he’s plagued by memories of an ancestor who lived in the town and knew the Lady—and may have even loved her. But Jessup can’t let some phantom feelings stop him from putting her to rest. (How does he plan on putting her to rest? A bit confused on the stakes here, or what his goal is exactly. Is it to prove to everyone that there are ghosts haunting the town? If so, tie this is in with the reality of his situation. I.e, because of the accident and everyone blaming him, he's a loner etc etc but now they'll know the truth..) Unfortunately, the Lady’s not the most dangerous creature haunting Lake Walker, and the real threat knows his name. (Because they're related? And how is this person a threat for him? What did he do wrong?)

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer.(As none of this echoes the actual query or story, I'm not sure it needs to be in here at all and could come off as 'forced'. When you're personalizing for the agent, you could just say 'based on your interest in queer characters' or however you want to word it..) I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel. (Wow, very interesting. This sounds like a fun and creepy read!)



#5 SharonMorrisWagner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 09:45 AM

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.
 
Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother last summer. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—that he saw a girl in the road, and his brother was going to hit her.

This is a good idea but not well laid out. It’s confusing. First sentence is good. Second one not so much.
 
Lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to figure out what really happened that night. He discovers the girl is a spirit known as the Lady of the Lake, and her haunting is connected to a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left.


Spooky. I think Lady of the Lake is cliche. I’d find a better monicker - something specific to your story/town. What’s the name of the Lake?
 
The deeper Jessup dives, the more he’s plagued by memories of an ancestor who lived in the town and knew the Lady—he may have even loved her. But Jessup can’t let some phantom feelings stop him from putting her to rest. Unfortunately, the Lady’s not the most dangerous creature haunting Lake Walker, and the real threat knows his name.

Far too vague. More details are needed. How is he plagued? Visions? Voices? What’s the stakes? More people will die by the spirit’s hands? Does he want to clear his name? Who is the mystery woman? What is the dangerous creature? Another spirit - a monster?
 
DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.



#6 queryseal

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 12:02 PM

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier. My only comment here is I think the title of your book should be included in this sentence. "DEEP SUMMERS is Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things, a contemporary Southern Gothic...." I know the other commenters have mentioned if this line should go first or at the end. Really, it's going to depend on the agent and what s/he likes.

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother last summer. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—that he saw a girl in the road, and his brother was going to hit her. I like this sentence.

 

Lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to figure out what really happened that night. He discovers the girl is a spirit known as the Lady of the Lake, and her haunting is connected to a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left as in drowned? Or are they also ghosts? I think this part can be expanded. Why is she haunting this underwater town? Is she also haunting Jessup's town? I think if you expand what the spirit's motivates are and why she does the things she does will help this query.

 

The deeper Jessup dives, the more he’s plagued by memories of an ancestor who lived in the town and knew the Lady—he may have even loved her This sentence might be better off split into two sentences. Is he having visions? Is that what you mean? I think this part you can expand on because I'm not sure how this part affects the plot overall. But Jessup can’t let some phantom feelings stop him from putting her to rest I think "Jessup can't let a dead ancestor's feelings stop her" might go smoother. Unfortunately, the Lady’s not the most dangerous creature haunting Lake Walker, and the real threat knows his name. This last line can be expanded too. What is the real threat? Why would this threat be after Jessup? What are the stakes if Jessup fails?  

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.

 

I think this is a good start to your query. The premise sounds promising. I think certain details needs more specifics, and I think the other commenters gave some good feedback as well.



#7 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 12:21 PM

Take #2.5!

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road, and his brother was going to hit them.

 

Now lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to unearth what really happened that night. He learns about a town that flooded when the reservoir was built, whose residents never left.

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. Before he finds answers—he finds a girl, who runs away from home every night. Jessup feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence, and as lines blur between past and present, he must decide how deep he’s willing to dive for the truth. Because what the girl knows about the town, the accident last summer, and his own family history has the power to kill them both.

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.



#8 kassamarandra

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 04:54 PM

On Lake Walker, misfortune has a way of finding folks, especially the ones who go looking for it. (I'm not sure if this hook adds much of anything to the query. I'm not sure it's purpose since it isn't immediately grabbing. this isn't to say you can't find a place to slid it in below, b/c it's not bad by any means.)

 

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother last summer. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into the lake, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road, and his brother was going to hit them. (I like this opening, but I wonder if you're burying the lede here by leaving the person in the road until last. I feel like you should start with seeing someone on the road and causing the accident that everyone blames him for)

 

Now Jessup returns (from where?) to discover what really happened that night, but as he digs into the lake’s history, he meets a strange, somewhat feral girl (where is he researching that he runs into a feral girl?) who threatens to complicate his mission. Every night she runs away from home (i thought she was feral? I clearly don't understand what you mean by feral) and winds up at Jessup’s place. He enjoys spending time with her, but he feels an uneasy shift in the lake (this confuses me. How does he feel the lake shift? does he have some sort of connection to the lake?) at her presence.

 

Jessup believes she’s crucial to solving his brother’s mystery, but she’s dead-set on keeping her secrets buried (how is the brother a mystery? and I'm sorry but her keeping secrets is vague). The closer he flirts with the truth, the more irritable Lake Walker stirs (what does this mean? this is really intriguing but really vague), whispering secrets about a town that washed away when the reservoir was built and the spirits who never left it. As lines blur between past and present, Jessup must decide how far he’s willing for answers, because what the girl knows could kill them both.

Thanks for the critique! 

 

Overall, I really like the tone of your query/ story. I think the ending could be a little clearer as to what the stakes are. 

 

Hope my comments are helpful

Cas



#9 queryseal

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 11:51 AM

Take #2.5!

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road, and his brother was going to hit them. I still like this line.

 

Now lured back by a voice in the depths (it took me awhile to figure out the town Jessup lives is not the same as the lake. Maybe clear it up so agents don't stumble over it), Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to unearth what really happened that night. He learns about a town that flooded when the reservoir was built, whose residents never left.

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface (This sentence has a little too much going on. I'd make the part that he's having visions its own sentence). Before he finds answers—he finds a girl (a ghost?), who runs away from home every night (she's showing up at his home?). Jessup feels a strange shift (what do you mean by a strange shift?) in the lake at her presence, and as lines blur between past and present (you mean he's having hallucinations?), he must decide how deep he’s willing to dive for the truth. Because what the girl knows about the town, the accident last summer, and his own family history has the power to kill them both ​(I'm not sure what this last sentence means. I know you want to keep your query short, though I think have the room to expand this last sentence to make the stakes clear. Why is it exactly Jessup's life is at stake? What would happen if he reveal's the girl's past?) .

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.

 

 I still like the overall premise, and this is a book I'd read. I think the stakes just need clearing up and some clarification on some things will improve your query. Thank you for critiquing mine. Good luck!



#10 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 04:59 PM

Thanks for taking a look at mine!

 

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier. I'm interested!

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Nice hook. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reason why his reasoning—he saw someone in the road, and his brother was going to hit themThe second part is implied. Plus the way you phrase it sounds a little like he's blaming his brother when it's pretty clearly the supernatural being which caused the accident. On a related note, does Jessup feel guilty? That could be a strong motivator for him.

 

Now lured back by a voice in the depths, Literal voice? Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to unearth what really happened that night. He learns about a town that flooded when the reservoir was built, whose residents never left.

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, This is repeating the start of your last paragraph, but in a more interesting and informative way, so you could cut the mention of the voice before Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. Before he finds answers—he finds a girl, who runs away from home every night. Jessup feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence, and as lines blur between past and present, he must decide how deep he’s willing to dive for the truth. Because what the girl knows about the town, the accident last summer, and his own family history has the power to kill them both.

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.

 

This sounds really cool! I am so there for the mysterious town underwater!

 

I think you could make the stakes higher. I'm a little vague right now if people blaming Jessup for his brother's death pose a real threat to him--bullying? Also you don't raise the idea the underwater town could be dangerous until the very last paragraph. Is there a way to get the sense of danger there from the moment he starts hearing voices?

 

Good luck! I really like your premise, and your writing makes it sound very spooky and awesome. Hope I've helped!



#11 Kimseal

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Posted 30 August 2019 - 08:04 PM

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a contemporary Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

 

This is a good log-line type start. As others have said, some agents like that, others prefer it at the bottom, but it reads well. My concern is more for ‘Southern Gothic’. That’s a great description of what this is, so it does make sense. It’s not a shelving/selling category though, which might hurt you. Is this YA? Fantasy? Horror? How old is Jessup? An agent is going to want to be sure of the exact category.

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road, and his brother was going to hit them.

 

This is good. I hate to be contrary and I know you already changed it to this from the shorter-but-more-sentences to this, but I favor the shorter, punchier sentences. It does depend on the category, though, which I’m not sure of. If this is YA then I’d go punchier. Maybe something like:

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Hell, he blames himself too. He was the one who grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, after all. Not for shits and giggles of course—there was a girl right there standing in the road. Not that anyone believed that, of course.

 

I don’t know your voice so that may be completely wrong for Jessup, just thinking this would be a great place to slip in a little of his voice, whatever it is.

 

BTW, I’m another ex-Georgian, but I don’t know why it’s Lake Walker here and Lake Lanier above. Also, I think it would be stronger if instead of ‘someone’ you said ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ or something more descriptive. That makes it pop in our heads a bit more.

 

Now lured back by a voice in the depths, Jessup sifts through the lake’s history of drownings and disappearances to unearth what really happened that night. He learns about a town that flooded when the reservoir was built, whose residents never left.

 

I like your use of words like ‘sift’ and ‘unearth’ that relate to water/reservoir building/etc. That’s a nice way to show your writing skills and it’s giving a really good feel to things.

 

The last sentence confused me just a little, though I think I know what you mean. The residents didn’t leave and all drowned when the reservoir was built, I think? Maybe just a little more information here. Was it an accident? Were they protesting and refusing to leave and were flooded out and killed by the state? This is the ‘monster in the house’, so to speak, the original sin that haunts the novel, so we need just a smidge more about how they died.

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. Before he finds answers—he finds a girl, who runs away from home every night. Jessup feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence, and as lines blur between past and present, he must decide how deep he’s willing to dive for the truth. Because what the girl knows about the town, the accident last summer, and his own family history has the power to kill them both.

 

That second sentence confused me a bit. Maybe ‘Instead of answers, he finds a girl who runs away from home every night’. I’m unsure if she’s real or a ghost, but that’s okay. It’s intriguing. I also don’t understand how whatever it is has the power to kill them, but that’s okay, I think.

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 72,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.

 

This is nice. Drawing on the true haunted legends sounds really interesting.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Thanks so much for your review of my query! Really helpful—it helped me pinpoint what I need to change. Good ideas on where to cut the word count too, which is much higher than I want it to be.

Overall, I think this is a good query.



#12 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 08:26 AM

Take #3! Thank you to everyone who's critiqued! Your suggestions have really clicked with me, and I'm starting to like the way this is shaping up :)

 

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a YA Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Hell, he blames himself sometimes. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road.

 

Now Jessup’s returned to the lake for another summer. He hopes sifting through its history of drownings and disappearances will help him unearth what really happened that night. Instead he discovers legends of a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left.

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. Then he meets a girl who runs away from home every night. Jessup enjoys spending time with her, but he feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence. As lines blur between past and present, Jessup must decide if the truth is worth diving for, because what the girl knows about the accident, the town, and his own family history could have the power to sink them both.

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 74,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.



#13 kassamarandra

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 11:19 AM

Sorry, I don't know how I critiqued your old version of your query, so I'm here to do this lovely new one you've posted. 

 

 

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Hell, he blames himself sometimes. (I like this hook) //(Last summer he grabbed...) He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road.

 

Now Jessup’s returned to the lake for another summer. He hopes sifting through its history of drownings and disappearances will help him unearth what really happened that night. Instead he discovers legends of a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left. (I really like this paragraph! I don't think I'd change anything)

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the (lake's) surface. Then he meets a girl who runs away from home every night (why? I'm not sure if this is relevant to the query, but I feel like I need to know.) Jessup enjoys spending time with her, but he feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence (this still feels vague. How does he feel this shift? how does it shift?) As lines blur between past and present, Jessup must decide if the truth is worth diving (literal diving into the lake?) for, because what the girl knows about the accident, the town, and his own family history could have the power to sink (this feels a little vague--sink them in the lake? wreck their lives? You don't want readers inferring in a query)  them both.

So this is a huge improvement in the last (old version) one I critiqued. I do think you can include a little more clarification, but overall it feels like it's getting close to the core of the story. 

 

Good luck

Cas



#14 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 12:16 AM

Thanks for taking a look at mine! I've made changes based on your suggestions and I really like how my query is shaping up. I also like your new draft a lot: much tighter and clearer! Here are my suggestions:

 

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Hell, he blames himself sometimes. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road. This opening is much more exciting. I can really feel Jessup's emotion in the line "Hell, he blames himself sometimes." It packs a punch.

 

Now Jessup’s returned to the lake for another summer. He hopes sifting through its history of drownings and disappearances will help him unearth what really happened that night. Instead he discovers legends of a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. This phrasing makes it a little unclear if the town actually existed or is just an urban legend. If it's a historical fact that a bunch of people died, that could add extra creepiness to the ghost story. Its residents are rumored to have never left.

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. This is good, but it could be just a little more specific. What could actually happen to Jessup? Death? Is there a reason to feel he's under threat? Then he meets a girl who runs away from home every night. Jessup enjoys spending time with her, but he feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence. I really like that you've added more detail about the girl here. The plot feels clearer. As lines blur between past and present, Jessup must decide if the truth is worth diving for, because what the girl knows about the accident, the town, and his own family history could have the power to sink them both. The first two paragraphs of this are nearly perfect. Awesome job! The last one, I feel like could benefit from just slightly clearer stakes. The drowned town is clearly really creepy, but I'm not yet getting a sense that it's dangerous. Besides Jessup's bad feelings, what happens to him as a result of his visions? What does "a strange shift in the lake" mean?

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 74,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.

 

Your new version is really awesome! I didn't have as much to say because it was absolutely great. You made a major revision and my hat's off to you for doing it so well. Good luck!



#15 queryseal

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 09:39 PM

Take #3! Thank you to everyone who's critiqued! Your suggestions have really clicked with me, and I'm starting to like the way this is shaping up :)

 

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a YA Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Hell, he blames himself sometimes. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road.

 

Now Jessup’s returned to the lake for another summer. He hopes sifting through its history of drownings and disappearances will help him unearth what really happened that night. Instead he discovers legends of a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left. I think everything to this point is looking good. Good job!

 

When Jessup starts getting Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. Then he meets a girl who runs away from home every night. Jessup enjoys spending time with her, but he feels a strange shift (what do you mean by strange shift?) in the lake at her presence. As lines blur between past and present, Jessup must decide if the truth is worth diving for, because what the girl knows about the accident, the town, and his own family history could have the power to sink them both. ​The commenter above makes good points about the stakes being clearer. I'm not sure what Jessup has at stake and how his family is involved. What will happen to him if he fails? What does he have to lose?    

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 74,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel.



#16 Dawng

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 12:46 PM

I list my suggestions, below.

 

Imaginary Girls meets Stranger Things in a YA Southern Gothic inspired by the legend of an underwater town on the bottom of Georgia’s Lake Lanier. [You've got my interest!]

 

Everyone blames Jessup for the accident that killed his brother. Hell, he blames himself sometimes. He grabbed the wheel and sent them careening into Lake Walker, but no one believes his reasoning—he saw someone in the road. [That's rough. I cannot imagine how horrible and guilty Jessup feels. Nicely ominous, too. And, it's not unusual to see people in or around roads--depending on the type of road--is it a cliff?, what time of day--midnight?, anything else--was Jessup drinking or tired, etc. I don't know about Lake Walker or that area. I'd like a hint of more information as this sounds less than wheel grabbing and careening into a lake without a few more specifics.]

 

Now Jessup’s returned to the lake for another summer. He hopes sifting through its history of drownings and disappearances will help him unearth what really happened that night. Instead he discovers legends of a town that flooded when the reservoir was built. Its residents are rumored to have never left. [Interesting and I'm wondering how much time has passed since the accident? Sounds casual...the return seems to be traumatic. Are other family members around? Does family live there. Also, why start searching now? Did something prompt him or motivate him as he could search online at home, etc. Is it more about "who" happened that night than "what?"--if so, I may need a bit more clarity. Is there a mystery about Jessup's survival? How was he found?] [Interesting and there are many former/now underwater towns like this so many readers can relate. This sounds like a novel I'd like to read. :)]

 

Disturbed by visions of an ancestor who lived in the town, Jessup becomes increasingly wary of something hidden beneath the surface. [Does he see a picture and the ancestor looks like the person he swerved from hitting? Why and how do the visions start so suddenly? Do you want to mention the word "trauma" anywhere in the query? how and why does he become wary?] Then he meets a girl who runs away from home every night. [A little more set up to how they meet via transition or info...was she in the same place as the accident?, etc. is she a child?] Jessup enjoys spending time with her, but he feels a strange shift in the lake at her presence. [How and why is he spending time. Also, is he a summer local--wouldn't he or his family know her family? Reword as he can't feel a shift in the lake, but name the feeling: fear, do the visions start, nostalgia--before he felt X and after meeting her, X. ] As lines blur between past and present, Jessup must decide if the truth is worth diving for, because what the girl knows about the accident, the town, and his own family history could have the power to sink them both. [this is interesting and I'm hook-line-and-sinker into your story idea, I just need a few transitions and a little more info due to the large shift between sentence topics/ideas that leave me confused more than intrigued. I'm not sure why diving is now suddenly the answer, etc. Suddenly, this girls knows everything--I need a hint of this earlier.]

 

DEEP SUMMER is complete at 74,000 words. The main character, like me, identifies as asexual, and the supporting cast is entirely queer. I’m an ex-Georgia girl who grew up on Lake Lanier, and drew inspiration from the true haunted history to write this novel. [awesome!]

 

 

If you have the time, please check out mine:







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