What Pegman Saw: Blue Hole

Image: Google Street View

I told Bernie to meet me at Blue Hole today after church.

Big soft lug didn’t ask why, just winked, nodded, carried on loading the barrels on the truck like Pa told him.

He’ll come alone – Bernie’s always alone when he’s not trailing after me.

I gaze out over the near-still water and the lake shows me how it got its name. It’s a mirror for the sky and the perfection of it makes a bubble of hurt swell and burst in my chest. It’s the bluest blue, like Callie’s eyes the day she told me no, the day she slipped below the glassy surface, leaving only her canvas shoes and a trail of bubbles behind.

If only Bernie hadn’t followed me down here that day, if only he hadn’t seen me bury those shoes.

A sound from behind makes me turn.

‘Hi Bernie,’ I say.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View as its starting point. This week we visit Middle Torch Key in Florida and don’t ask me why such a stunningly beautiful spot made my mind turn this dark way – it’s just how I am.

I’ve been away from the blog a few weeks and how lovely it is to be back. I’ve been finishing up a submission package for my WIP. The cover letter has been crafted, synopsis pared down (again and again!), the opening pages tweaked to an inch of their lives and I’ve subbed to four agents. Expecting four rejections, but you never know, at least one of them may have something helpful to say.

Wish me luck.

63 thoughts on “What Pegman Saw: Blue Hole

  1. Ooh, dark story with a despicable narrator. I hope Bernie miraculously wises up and gives the cold-blooded murderer his due…

    It’s good to see you back, and what a great reason for a hiatus. Congrats on getting that all done and to the point of submitting to agents! Yes, the expected rate of rejection is “practically all” so you’re wise not to get your hopes up. But “you can’t win it if you’re not in it,” (as my public radio announcers always say, trying to get us to enter fundraiser raffles), so if you get four rejections, I know you’ll just keep going! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Joy. You’re right, the chances are slim, but if I get some constructive feedback, I guess that will be useful too. Lots of form rejections will be very disheartening, but we’ll see what happens. I know it’s better written than some books I’ve read, but in researching agents many acknowledge that it’s not all about the writing, it’s the idea that sells a book. Is the idea strong enough? We’ll see. Hope your writing’s going well

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And even if the idea is great and the writing is wonderful, it may just not be what that particular agent is looking for right now, or might be too similar to something else they’re trying to market. There are a lot of reasons.

        Crossing my fingers that you’ll get a positive response or at least some useful feedback!

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      2. You’re quite right, Joy, on all counts. Wonder why I’m putting myself through it. But I want to loose my stories on the world and can’t imagine self publishing – unless youre amazing at marketing, so many self published books just drop into the online void. I can but try. And then there’s always the next novel idea if this one doesn’t get picked up … 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The funny thing is that I point out all those reasons why agents reject submissions in order to *encourage* you (and everyone else) to keep submitting! That is, don’t take it personally, this happens to everyone, keep trying! And I’m with you: I see all these other writers turning to self-publishing when they get frustrated with the system, but to me that would feel like “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

        Have you gotten a lot of feedback on your query letter? That can be the real deal breaker too, I keep hearing.

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      4. Two rejections down and more to come, I suspect. No, I haven’t had anyone look at my cover letter, but I did use a tool on a writers website to write it which was very useful (almost like a basic template for us fools who can’t write a coherent letter ourselves!) Now wondering if the writing/premise/ whole book is too weak/predictable to sell. Sounds like I’m being downbeat, but I’m already thinking of the next book and how I can make it so much better than that one. Learning from failure is the main thing, right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I agree that learning from failure is important – but you haven’t failed yet! No sense doubting whether the book is any good after only two rejections. Save that for a nice round number, like 50 or 100 rejections. 🙂 And of course you should be thinking about the next book, but don’t give up on this one quite yet, I’d say!

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      6. I’m not sure how many rejections I should garner before a rethink, though. I read somewhere that if you send out to around six agents and get nothing but form rejections from them all, don’t send to any more until you’ve had a good look at your opening chapters/synopsis, even the whole concept of the book. Does that sound like too few agents? What have you read on this subject, Joy?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’ve read a ton of sometimes conflicting advice. My guess would be that six is not very many at all. But it would probably depend on how closely aligned your story is to their interests. If you researched them and know that the fit is spot-on, and that they have a good reputation for being responsive, then not hearing anything would be more worrying, to me. That said, if I get a short story rejected even three times, I sit down and examine it to be sure it’s as finished as I was imagining it was.

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      8. Hmm. Something to think on. I did research all and all were open to fantasy even if they didn’t name urban fantasy as a favourite. The two rejections are from big agencies, for the other two one has recently adjusted her submission page to say she’s inundated and might not respond to all subs, the other could take 3 months. Saw an indy press with a short open window looking for urban fantasy so I subbed there. If it’s a standard no from all, I shall rethink. How are your short story submissions going? Much luck?

        Liked by 1 person

      9. It turns out you have to actually submit the stories for them to be accepted (or even rejected), and I’ve been slacking on that crucial step. I really need to push that higher on my priority list, but other things keep screaming for attention.

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      10. I’m only submitting to magazines, and only to those with no fees. The chance of me winning a contest is so low that even the lowest of fees is a poor investment at this point.

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      11. I know what you mean precisely. Some comps are so expensive! Well respected by the costs are prohibitive. I’ll send to free comps or ones that only charge a small fee – over £5 (a bit over $6) is too expensive to my mind. And don’t get me started on the cost of novel comps or ‘reading fees’ for magazines …

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Ugh, I know. I haven’t yet brought myself to submit to any magazines that charge reading fees. But never say never, I suppose; it might make sense down the line.

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      13. I can’t imagine doing it myself. It feels like anathema to pay someone just to read your stories! I’m sure these publications have good financial reasons for doing it, but it still goes against the grain.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Well, the editors have to pay their bills somehow, and these days so many of them are free to read online, so the readers aren’t paying. Plus I imagine their reasoning is that requiring a submission fee will cut down on tons of random submissions from authors who probably know their work isn’t a good fit or isn’t good enough, meaning less for them to trudge through.

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      15. I know what you mean. All the magazines suggest that I read “a few issues” to see what kind of story they’re looking for. I can’t even afford the *time* to do that!

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      16. And then I do something totally irresponsible (and totally fun) like spend the entire weekend binge-watching the Star Trek original series in order for the first time. Lol! (And not even getting halfway through the first season, ouch! This is a year-long project I’ve just taken on…)

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      17. Wow! William Shatner in all his staring-off-camera glory? That’s a commitment. Have tried to show our son snippets of the original, but it’s too slow for him. And the special effects … not quite what he’s used to 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      18. It really is a lot slower than what we’re used to these days — much longer reaction shots, for one thing. The version I have is totally digitally remastered, so some of the special effects are better, but yeah, the monsters and the fight scenes aren’t exactly realistic. But then, I’m used to watching theater, So my take is: if you’re watching the movie for the awesome special effects, that movie is probably not as good on all the things that I actually care about.

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      19. Very true about the special effects – they can be distracting and there’s a danger they swamp the story too. Rather have good storytelling than amazing special effects. Not sure the world agrees with us though

        Liked by 1 person

      20. Well, movies with a lot of special effects and huge space fight scenes and gory murders and whatnot sell well at the box office because people like to see them on the big screen for a fun Saturday night out. That doesn’t make them *good* movies though. I’m totally comfortable preferring movies that don’t have the most mass appeal.

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      21. I love certain big, effects based films – they can be fun – but unless there’s a core of emotion, unless it’s saying something more, then they’re instantly forgettable.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. Yep, popcorn movies are fun for a summer evening. But I have SO much that I want to watch and read and do and see these days, I’m getting pickier and pickier. I look back at my younger self and wonder how on earth I could have been so bored, how I had all that “extra” time to sit around doing crossword puzzles.

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      23. I have been scrambling to finish a pile of to-read books before this fantasy con (and before then, before my writers con), of authors who will be there. So I haven’t been viewing anything at all in the evenings. Maybe after I get back..

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      24. It’s a blast! This con is more professional and literary (more about the writing and reading than about, say, costumes) and all the panels are so interesting and inspiring! I plan to write a blog post about it when I get back, but it will be a while, since I’m going to China for a week straight from here.

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    1. Ah, thank you, Lynden! You’re right, I find writing synopses more painful and stressful than dental work! Condensing a 100,000 word story into one side of A4? Are publishers insane? In the past, my synopses have always sounded very flat, lacking spark and I’ve struggled to pin down the real nub of my story, distracted by subplots and subsidiary characters. This time, I used a template from Jericho Writers (they also have a template for cover letters). I found it tremendously useful, I have to say. Thanks so much for your good wishes, all the best to you too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to think Bernie has been waiting for this opportunity…
    Wonderful story telling as per, Lynn!

    Sending you oodles of luck on your work being picked up!

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    1. Thanks so much Dale. Being picked up as a debut author is a real long shot, but being traditionally published is a real aim of mine, fool that I am! Thanks for the encouragement and all the best to you 🙂

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  3. Love this! Poor Bernie. In love? Way over-trusting? What a marvelous opening to a murder mystery! Good luck with your submission. I’d rather have my eyelashes ripped out then write a synopsis. (Kidding) They are almost harder to write than the novel itself. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Thanks Lish. I used a template for the synopsis, from a writing website called Jericho Writers – it really, really helped. Helped focus my mind on what’s important and unique about the story – even got me developing an elevator pitch (which I’m ususally too fuzzy to think of too!) Bernie’s way too trusting, you’re right – possibly in love too, which makes him doubly tragic. Thanks for the lovely comment

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  4. Dear Lynn,

    Oh my. Afraid Bernie’s about to meet the same fate as Callie. As always your descriptions put me in the scene. Ever so well written.
    All my best on your submissions. I’m needing to do the same thing with my latest WIP.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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    1. Thanks very much Rochelle. And thank you for the good wishes re the submission. I had no idea you’d be doing the same – I assumed you wouldn’t need to as you’re so much better established than I am. Very best of luck to you – I hope your current WIP finds a happy and successful home

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m guessing Bernie’s going to get his shoes buried too. I think I’d say no as well once I realised there was a shoe fetishist on the loose….😁

    Every digit crossed for you, Lynn, how can anyone not realise there’s a shoe fetish-, er, genius author on the prowl for a book deal?!

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  6. First it feels like seduction then more like tying up loose ends. And the meaning of Calli’s “No” is a but of mystery in itself. No as in stop? Or no as in a rejection of the narrator’s advances? We may never “no.” 😊
    Good luck with the agents. Faint heart never won fair agent–isnt that the way it goes?

    Like

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