Summertime Query

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Quill
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by Quill » October 3rd, 2010, 12:24 pm

Summer knows that she has reached the peak of her patience, especially when their relationship becomes a tad more clear. She will stop at nothing to keep them apart, even if it means using her sister's email to send fake messages to Zach. Summer knows that what she is doing is wrong, but she is no longer just fighting for Zach - she is fighting for the right to be treated like an adult.
Why would we be rooting for her to be treated as an adult when she is a child and is acting like one?

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androidblues
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by androidblues » October 3rd, 2010, 4:35 pm

Quill wrote:Why would we be rooting for her to be treated as an adult when she is a child and is acting like one?
Because kids who are in gifted or special programs, or just kids who are smart for their age, are often very egotistical and want to be treated like adults, even when they are incapable of acting like one or handling adult situations. Trust me, I've been in these sorts of programs for years, actually I'm still in one. How do you recommend adding this reason to the query? Or a better reason?
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Quill
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by Quill » October 3rd, 2010, 5:32 pm

I think you are saying we should root for her because she is very egotistical. Is that correct?

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androidblues
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by androidblues » October 3rd, 2010, 5:47 pm

No, I'm saying you should root for her because like most, if not all kids, she wants to be treated like an adult without realizing how difficult being an adult can be. I think I might confused as to what you are asking. You mean because of her childish behavior, what the email thing, that she shouldn't be rooted for?
http://www.thebooklantern.com

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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Quill
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by Quill » October 3rd, 2010, 6:48 pm

To help answer your question I've boiled down your query blurb:

------------------------------

Twelve-year-old Summer Thomas is mature beyond her years, but no one takes her seriously. Except for Zach, who treats her like an adult, (even though she is a child).

Summer has been in love with him since she was eight. But he's twenty-two, an adult. She realizes he's probably not going to want a twelve year old girlfriend. Nevertheless she throws reason to the wind and pursues him.

Zach doesn't realize she has romantic intentions. On an innocent dinner out with her he makes a date with the waitress. She gets nowhere another time when a waiter asks if she's Zack's daughter.

Then Summer finds her older sister with Zach making out. Instead of taking that as a final wake up call, she succumbs to raging envy and increasingly desperate desire. Knowing it's wrong, she uses her sister's email to send fake messages to Zack, hoping to break them up.

She doesn't care how much of a child she has to act like to be treated as an adult (by the one person who ever treated her like one).

--------------------

Do you see how difficult it might be for a reader to feel empathy for this character?

If your manuscript emphasizes other aspects of your story and her character, might be good to bring them to the fore to balance what is coming off as an unsympathetic character and situation.

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androidblues
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by androidblues » October 3rd, 2010, 6:55 pm

I see what you're saying now. Do you think a few sentences is good to bring empathy to the table, or just one?
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Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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Quill
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by Quill » October 3rd, 2010, 7:11 pm

That's hard to say. Only you know your story. I'd meditate on it, think on how to bring this character and her wishes and needs to the query so that the reader feels for her and wants her to win (not necessarily win him, that seems like it wouldn't work) but win the respect she wants (from the world?). I say all this without knowing how your books comes out. You'll know how to bring the best of it to the fore. What's good about her. What's good about her wishes and her struggle.

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androidblues
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by androidblues » October 4th, 2010, 12:01 am

I tried to bring a bit more sympathy to the table in the last paragraph like you suggested Quill. You think this is any better?
Zach and her sister have always included her in everything, but now they are leaving her at home with a babysitter. Summer has reached the peak of her patience, especially when their relationship becomes more clear. She will stop at nothing to keep them apart, even resorting to blackmail. Summer knows what she is doing is wrong, but she is no longer just fighting for Zach - she is fighting for the right to be treated like an adult.
http://www.thebooklantern.com

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

pollymilton
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by pollymilton » October 4th, 2010, 12:14 am

I think it's also OK to refer to her "gifted" status - the interesting thing is that many young people are extremely gifted academically but not caught up in their emotional development. Which would seem part of why she sees herself with Zach - boys her age are way to immature. And yes, they want to be treated as adults without a clue what that actually means (a good thing, I think.) I agree with Quill that this is tricky footing, but I'm the mom of a 10 year old and had a very gifted younger brother myself. If I was young again, I would like to read a story like this, IF, it isn't mean spirited, and if she ends up in a different place than when she started. There doesn't have to be a huge realization, but she needs to be on a journey, which is what young adults are on, of course.

Did you ever read "I was a 98 lb duckling" by Jean Van Leeuwen? It's prob. way too young for you, but it's a well written story about finding yourself romantically when everyone around you is different.

Hang in there, girl!
Polly

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wilderness
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by wilderness » October 4th, 2010, 1:24 am

Just echoing the other sentiments here, but the last line right now indicates that Summer has not learned anything. She thinks that by breaking them up she will be treated like an adult? I really don't even follow that reasoning. Instead, I think you want to end with something that shows she's grown a bit...something like: "It's only after her scheming succeeds in splitting the two of them up that Summer realizes the flaw in her plan. If she really wants to be treated like an adult, maybe she ought to start acting like one. And she can start by making things right between Zach and her sister. But with the two of them refusing to speak either to each other or her, how can Summer finally prove that she has grown?" That's a bit wordy--and I think you can make it funnier--but you see what I mean. Hope that helps!

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androidblues
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by androidblues » October 4th, 2010, 3:00 pm

Thanks for all your help quill, polly, and wilderness. I will definitely try and make the reader feel more sympathy for Summer. And no Polly, I haven't read 'I was a 98 lb duckling' but I like books like that. Reminds me of books by Betsy Byars. I will also try and show that Summer learns a lesson, I just don't want to be overly preachy.
http://www.thebooklantern.com

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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wilderness
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by wilderness » October 4th, 2010, 5:10 pm

I agree, don't be preachy :) My example was probably too explicit. Just a hint that there will be some character development is enough...

priya g.
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by priya g. » October 5th, 2010, 4:32 pm

i am going to get a bit personal here: i may not be gifted, but yes, i have been told that i think beyond my years. so if i am 16, can join this website, write a 150k words manuscript and be a bit helpful, well then...

i understand where Summer is coming from- she just has matured. what the agent should realize from the query is that this girl isn't just fighting to go ahead- she just finds herself already in the race where kids her age are standing at the sidelines cheering.
Another thing- she cant be egoistic. she is persistent- and damn stubborn. this characteristic should come out, rather than her being pushy. her method of pursuing Zach says it all.
hope this helps!

by the way, i love Summer.

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androidblues
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Re: Summertime Query

Post by androidblues » October 6th, 2010, 11:10 am

Thanks priya, I'm 16 too so I know where you're coming from.
http://www.thebooklantern.com

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I never want to hear the screams of the teenage girls in other people's dreams.

In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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