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Son of a Pitch round two has begun! This week my blog will be dedicated to the authors of these amazing entries.

Comments are for the Son of a Pitch critiquers and authors only! All other comments will be deleted, them’s the rules peeps.

At the end of the week, I will vote for my favorites…I think five…I should check that.

Onward!

Welcome to Team Rarity!

Entry 3:

Title: Hanging
Category and Genre:  Adult Supernatural Thriller
Word Count: 80,000

Query:
Ruth’s phobias have ruled—and ruined—her life. She dropped out of veterinary school because of a snake. She hasn’t slept in the dark in twenty years, since she was four. Desperate to conquer her fears and looking for a fresh start, she relocates to Wisconsin. There, she begins a new graduate program in Water Resources Management. With three classmates, she embarks on a field trip to Lake Chevinette, where two logging crews have vanished in the past.

Arriving at the site, Ruth finds the lake has strange qualities: the water is dark, but she cannot filter out particles; the plankton net reveals no life whatsoever; and an equipment cable, at least a hundred meters long, fails to reach the bottom, then gets caught and is lost. One of the girls has visions of smoke-shaped creatures gliding over the surface. She falls in, and, although Ruth rescues her, she vanishes when back on shore. With no cell-phone signal and the sun progressively dropping in the horizon, Ruth must either abandon her missing companion and live with the guilt, or continue to search after the darkness she dreads falls.

First 250 Words:

Madison, Wisconsin, September 25, 2015

Ruth lit a new tea light in the perforated lantern by the window. A beacon in the darkness of her studio apartment, the candle projected stars onto the floor and part of the wall and would last a few hours—usually until she awoke.

She changed into an old nightgown, its seams thick from the many times she had stitched them. Yet she couldn’t persuade herself to discard her thirteen-year-old birthday gift from her grandma.

Ruth lay on her stomach on the open futon with the laptop in front of her and opened the email from Barb. She copied the words “Lake Chevinette” and pasted them into the search box. Would the images be as breathtaking as those from Sparkling Lake?

But she found no images. In fact, the resulting links all seemed irrelevant. The text at the top of the page added to her disappointment: “Did you mean: Lake Chevrolet.”

The only Chevrolet she knew was the car. Did a Lake Chevrolet actually exist? Had Barb misspelled the name of the lake in her email?

A slight change in spelling produced: “Your search – Lake Chevinnette – did not match any documents.” Bullet point suggestions followed. “Make sure that all words are spelled correctly,” read the first one.

Ruth sneered. Wouldn’t it be great if I knew the correct spelling? Those bulleted pearls of obvious advice also included: “Try different keywords.”

So she did: “Lake Chevinette Northern Wisconsin.” To no avail. Again, no matched documents.

Now for my thoughts.

But first, a reminder, I am not an expert. I am a writer. My comments are my opinions. If any of these strange wordy things that pop into my brain and onto the page make sense for YOUR ms and makes YOUR writer’s brain spin with all the inspiration, YEA!!! Use them…run with them…let your creative brain go! If reading one of my insanely odd thoughts just makes you shrug and sparks no new idea, forget it! YEA!

I am here to help YOU make YOUR ms the best it can be. I do not want to rewrite it. I do not want it to be something else. Your words should be yours. I WANT TO HAVE A GREAT TIME!

Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to post any rewrites in the comments. I will be happy to answer anything and read revisions! Anything I can do to help get the creative juices flowing.

CRITIQUE:

Query:
Ruth’s phobias have ruled—and ruined—her life. (I like this as a hook!)

(At –insert age-years old Ruth –then give us a description, let us get to know who she is, what she is doing, what she wants.) She dropped out of veterinary school because of a snake. She hasn’t slept in the dark in twenty years, since she was four. (I like these little details.) Desperate to conquer her fears and looking for a fresh start, she relocates to Wisconsin. (Why there? What does she think she can find there? What drives here there?) There, she begins a new graduate program in Water Resources Management. (Is this her dream? To work in that field?) With three classmates, she embarks on a field trip to Lake Chevinette, where two logging crews have vanished in the past. (They go there…why? When she begins a graduate program…she learns of people who have vanished…and what? She needs to go find them, find what happened? Why?)

Arriving at the site, Ruth finds the lake has strange qualities (Instead, maybe…At the site, the lake has strange qualities.): the water is dark, but she cannot filter out particles; the plankton net reveals no life whatsoever; and an equipment cable, at least a hundred meters long, fails to reach the bottom, then gets caught and is lost. One of the girls has visions (visions, as in dreams? Or she thinks she sees?) of smoke-shaped creatures (THESE SOUND SUPER COOL!!!) gliding over the surface. She falls in, and, although Ruth rescues her, she vanishes when back on shore. (What? *gasp* Dude. Love that!) With no cell-phone signal and the sun progressively dropping in the horizon (why does it matter if the sun goes down? Because of that fear? Tie that in here!), Ruth must either abandon her missing companion and live with the guilt, or continue to search after the darkness she dreads falls. (Who is this companion? Why does she care?)

*This is very intriguing! I love weird and creepy! I do want more set up of the mc. And show me the emotion/motivation that drives her to move, to study what she studies, to go to the lake.

She wants to live free of her fears? Right? That is what drives her? What stops her? Give me the obstacles. Weird things at a lake? Nice, but what really stops her. Her phobias? Tie that first line into the whole thing. These strange happenings at the lake…what do they have to do with her phobias? What do they mean? How is she moving to what she wants?

Can she handle the fear to save a life? Make sure you keep that theme in the query.

Now the bonus question…if she is afraid of snakes and the dark, why the supernatural element? If she has no phone and her companion gets hurt, and she is dealing with the outdoors and the fact it will be dark…why does the supernatural have to be there? Why does the companion disappear? Why does she think she can save her from something she can’t understand? Why not leave and come back?

After reading the first page…the relocating to Wisconsin seems to be backstory and not necessary in the query. We need to know she is in a graduate program…and the inciting incident…that she was sent an e-mail referring to a lake she can’t find. How does she find it? And why go?

First 250 Words:

Madison, Wisconsin, September 25, 2015

Ruth lit a new tea light in the perforated lantern by the window. A beacon in the darkness of her studio apartment, the candle projected stars onto the floor and part of the wall and would last a few hours—usually until she awoke. (From your query, I know she’s afraid of the dark…give us more of that here. Phobias rule her life? Right? And aren’t there other lights on? What else can she see? Set me in the scene.)

She changed into an old nightgown, its seams thick from the many times she had stitched them. Yet she couldn’t persuade herself to discard her thirteen-year-old birthday gift from her grandma. (Nice character building here. Maybe more…why keep it?)

Ruth lay on her stomach on the open futon with the laptop in front of her and opened (watch repeat of the word “open” in this sentence) the email from Barb. (Her computer…more light to fight the dark.) She copied the words “Lake Chevinette” and pasted them into the search box. Would the images be as breathtaking as those from Sparkling Lake?

But she found no images. In fact, the resulting links all seemed irrelevant. The text at the top of the page added to her disappointment: “Did you mean: Lake Chevrolet.”

The only Chevrolet she knew was the car. Did a Lake Chevrolet actually exist? Had Barb misspelled the name of the lake in her email?

A slight change in spelling produced: “Your search – Lake Chevinnette – did not match any documents.” Bullet point suggestions followed. “Make sure that all words are spelled correctly,” read the first one.

Ruth sneered. Wouldn’t it be great if I knew the correct spelling? Those bulleted pearls of obvious advice also included: “Try different keywords.”

So she did: “Lake Chevinette Northern Wisconsin.” To no avail. Again, no matched documents.

*Nice start! If this ms is about fears…I’d intro a bit in here. And maybe a bit of unease at the lake not existing. Set up the tone of the ms. Set up the theme.

I hope some of that, maybe just one little thing, helps!

Thank you so much for being a part of Son of a Pitch!

Thank you for sharing your words!

And may the road of revising and querying and publishing be a great one!

Be sure to join us on Twitter! #SonofaPitch is super fun! #TeamRarity rocks!

 

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