Laura G. Southern is a fantasy writer of all things dark, lyrical, and feminist. She earned her BA in English Literature from Baylor University in 2019. Originally from Mesquite, Texas, she’s spent time living abroad in Rome, Italy and is currently working on her MS in Publishing at New York University. When not writing, she can often be found exploring the outdoors, reading five books at once, or playing fetch with her puffy cat.
I originally went to college to learn how to be a better saxophonist. After spending more time writing stories in practice rooms than, you know, actually practicing my instrument, I switched majors to English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing. I wrote my first novel during my sophomore year of college, a YA fantasy that I queried before shelving about six months later. In the fall of 2017 I began drafting a YA fantasy with Adult crossover appeal, which I finished just in time to submit for AMM Round 5. I was chosen by a fantastic mentor whose insightful notes helped me whip my manuscript into shape. I sent out my first query in March of 2019 and signed with the amazing Hannah Fergesen at KT Literary.
I initially learned how to critique other writers’ work through fiction workshops at Baylor University. Then as I began to grow as a writer, I developed a lovely group of critique partners who I admire, and who’ve also gone on to sign with fabulous agents. In addition, I’ve interned at multiple literary agencies where I provided editorial feedback on submissions, as well as client manuscripts.
AMM provided me with the writing support system I’d never had before. I want to give back by showing someone else that they should never be afraid to follow their dreams, even (especially) if that dream is to write weird fantasy novels that make your extended relatives cringe. In short, this community is so supportive, and I’d love to continue on the tradition of uplifting other writers.
I’m looking for a dark, sweeping fantasy with a killer voice and a world that feels like its own character. I would also love to see your genre-bending works that combine fantasy worlds with strong horror and/or mystery elements.
YA & Adult:
If you submit a Mystery/Thriller or Horror manuscript to me, know that I give preference to stories with heavy fantastical elements. These really need to be true genre crossovers for me to fall in love, as I’m not a good fit for contemporary settings.
Some tropes I love:
- “Eat the rich”
- Love triangles (if you have an f/f/f love triangle PLEASE submit to me)
- Enemies to lovers
Some tropes I do not love:
- Damsel in distress
- Stories only about royalty
- Fake dating
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Freestyle in chat
First I will provide an edit letter with a focus on big picture feedback: character arc, plot, structure, worldbuilding, all of the bones of the book. After discussing the letter with you, we will devise a plan for tackling your first revision. I will be available during this process to answer any of your questions and to provide support. I do prefer to read full manuscripts rather than chapter-by-chapter revisions, so once your draft is finished, I will do another read, this time providing in-line comments with more specific feedback. If the manuscript could benefit from another round of revisions, I am more than happy to provide a third set of notes and to read a third draft.
My mentorship style is very hands-on and intentional. I want to help you grow as a writer and to produce a manuscript you’re excited to send out into the query trenches. As such, I will also help you with your query when you feel ready!
My ideal mentee is someone who isn’t afraid to really work on the bones of their manuscript. You should be excited by the opportunity to learn and grow not only in terms of this manuscript, but as an overall writer.
- Ambitious women. All of the power hungry girls.
- Stories with animals who are their own characters (whether they speak or not); sentient nature, mythical beasts, and magical forests are also appealing to me.
- I’d love to see a genre-bending fantasy with crossover appeal that has the heart of a mystery or the pacing of a thriller, such as Astrid Scholte’s FOUR DEAD QUEENS.
- Alternatively, I’d also love to see a gorgeous epic fantasy with swords and unique magic systems and a new twist on quests. I’m a sucker for lyrical prose.
- Books you’d describe as “dark.” I adore the fantastically strange and unnervingly odd, and double points to you if the voice has an undercurrent of humor. Think Jay Kristoff’s NEVERNIGHT.
- I’m often surprised by the stories I connect with, so if you have a strong voice and lyrical writing, please send your work my way!
DO NOT SEND ME:
- Sexual assault as a plot device, or gratuitous sexual violence.
- Werewolves or vampires.
- Science fiction where the science/technology takes precedence over the characters. Although I love reading them, I’m not a great fit for space operas.
Some of my favorite books that reflect what I’d love to see are:
– S. A. Chakraborty’s THE CITY OF BRASS
– Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
– Samantha Shannon’s THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE
– Katherine Arden’s THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE
– Emily A. Duncan’s WICKED SAINTS