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.