Sep 3, 2010

Query- "Off the Edge" (1st Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear (Agent):
Nineteen-year-old Eden Anderson is beautiful, popular, and unlucky in love. When Eden’s parents send her to live with her cousin, Claire, for the summer on the North Shore of Hawaii, the last thing she wants is to think about boys. She's determined to spend the summer on the beach, healing her heart and getting a tan.
So, when a charming playboy named Noa takes a sudden interest in Eden, she’s right to doubt his intentions—his reputation for being a player is as deep and never-ending as his pocket change. She tries her best to keep their relationship in the ‘just friends’ category, but Noa's good looks, charming attitude, and constant attention proves difficult to resist.
But it might not matter when an unexpected accident risks everything--including her life.
"Off the Edge" is a complete 96,000 word young adult novel.
I spent five years as a tour-guide in Hawaii gaining knowledge of the island and culture and expectations of typical tourists. To find out more, please visit my website at
I look forward to hearing from you,
Erin Apelu


Belinda said...

I would remove this: “his reputation for being a player is as deep and never-ending as his pocket change” because it’s awkward to read and because we know he’s a player when you call him a “playboy”.

And I would expand this: “But it might not matter when an unexpected accident risks everything--including her life.”

The huge cut left this feeling a little stilted and if I hadn’t read query 1, I’d be confused. The mention of Maui and cliff-diving and sharks sounds like a fun adventure! I think the following needs to come back:

“When Eden agrees to accompany him on a sailing trip to Maui, she finds herself jumping off cliffs (something she swore she would never do again), swimming with sharks, and braving a storm that threatens to sink their tiny sailboat.”

Then edit the last line to maybe something like this: By the time Eden realizes she’s fallen for Noa, it might be too late…

Something to finish off the storm bit.

Otherwise, much better. Some good cuts, but maybe a bit too much? Good luck!

Anonymous said...

96k words for a YA Romance is a good bit. In fact many people would say 80k is tops for most YA excluding a few Fantasy types. Is there anything you can snip? It is with these higher word counts that many writers start receiving form rejections. I want to see you succeed. Good luck.

folksinmt said...

Nice job on the fast revision. I think your missing some of the meat of your story now though. Right now this sounds like the run-of-the-mill romance. I would really focus on what is different--what is the accident? How does it change everything? The exotic setting is great, but we need to see more of what is unique about your book in the plot. I love the biblical names--does that play into the storyline at all? And yes, 96k is too long--I've had that same problem. If you can't trim it down, just leave the word count out of the query. Also, is she in high school still? I was under the impression that it's only YA if the mc is high school age. Good luck!(BYU Hawaii? Lucky girl!)

Mesmerix said...

I think this is way better. It characterizes Eden and makes us like Noa. Huge improvement.

A few things:

1) Don't give Claire a name in the query, keep it as "her cousin." Claire is not important, Eden and Noa are.

2) Expand this: "But it might not matter when an unexpected accident risks everything--including her life." Right now it's too vague. What actually happens?

3) I think your word count is fine, especially if you're still unsure if it's YA or not. As long as it's under 100k, I think you'll be fine.

4) Again, I really advise you NOT to put in that last paragraph about being a tour guide. Stick your website address UNDER your name in the signature. The only thing an agent cares about are paid publishing credentials.

I think this is really coming together beautifully and you have some great voice coming through. The characters are starting to sparkle and, in fact, I would drop the first mention of "playboy" and keep the metaphor about his pocket change. It made me smile.

Just some food for thought. In the end, do what you think is best. Good luck!!

Dominique said...

Okay, you've done a really great job boiling this down to the essentials. I think, though, that you should probably say more about the accident, because otherwise you risk it seeming randomly inserted.

Also, I'm not sure you can say an accident risks her life. An accident can't take a risk. Accidents threaten your life, but risking your life is something you do, usually by being reckless, or someone does in respect to you, probably by being careless.

Belinda said...

I don't agree with taking your credentials out. It's what says you can write hawaii better than just just research.I think your exotic locale is part of your hook.