Guess the Plot
Rachel and her Demon
1. When Rachel's mother-in-law develops Alzheimer's, Rachel discovers the woman who's made her married life a living hell is really a demon sent to kick-off the End of Days who instead fell in love and adopted a son. Unfortunately, now that the woman's senile, she remembers her original mission.
2. Rachel is sick of seeing bullies at her school get away with harassing students. So she contacts a demon she knows, and he gives her the power to summon fire. Should she wait till the next time the bullies attack, or should she just incinerate them now?
3. Five-year-old Rachel is the only kid in kindergarten who doesn't have a cute pet - Rachel's pet is uncute, vicious and evil. When she brings him to show and tell, all the class learns an important lesson about metaphysics.
4. When Rachel inherits the family vineyard she also inherits her grandmother's devil-infested dybbuk box. Oi vey. What's a Jew to do?
5. Little Rachel finally convinced her parents to let her have a pet--whichever stray she brings home next. Fluffy may have scales and wings and horns and a penchant for setting things on fire, but at least s/he/it is house broken.
6. I have a little Demon
She followed me one day
And in the late night evenings
My Demon and I play
Oh Demon Demon Demon
Your eyes so lovely red
Oh Demon Demon Demon
You sleep up on my bed.
We play with fire and water
And other things besides
But Brother saw us playing
So now we both must hide
Oh Demon Demon Demon
Listen to Mother yell
Oh Demon Demon Demon
Let's take them all to Hell!
My novel RACHEL AND HER DEMON is a completed 77,000-word YA fantasy novel with series potential.
Rachel Sasson, a 16-year old Jewish girl, is appalled to learn that a group of sadistic bullies in her school will face no punishment after driving another student to drop out rather than endure their abuse. Feeling a moral obligation to stand up to the bullies but aware that she cannot beat them in a fight, Rachel meets with Merihaim, a demon whom she befriended in a chance encounter as a child and whom she still talks to despite her religious beliefs. [Specifically, the belief that there's no such thing as a demon.] She finally accepts his longstanding offer of magical power, telling him the commandment of tikkun olam ('performing acts which improve the world') justifies her using his power to help people. Merihaim grants Rachel the power of summoning fire and she smashes the bullies, [I won't assault you if I can't beat you, but I'll happily assault you if you can't beat me.] taking them down before they can hurt anyone else. [Wait, by "smashes and takes down," do you mean she summons fire and burns them alive? If so, does she do this while they're tormenting their latest victim, or while they're just hanging out at the kosher deli? I mean, I'm guessing that while most bullies deserve severe punishment, even death, a few eventually turn over a new leaf, make amends, and even perform acts that improve the world, assuming they haven't been reduced to ashes.]
Rachel's use of magic, however, attracts other demons and demon-backed humans to her, most of whom are all too eager to use their powers to hurt others. As Rachel battles her newfound enemies [Wouldn't it be easier for these new demons to hurt people who can't summon fire than to take on Rachel? Or to team up with Rachel and burn some more bullies? Why are they targeting her?] she realizes she is increasingly neglecting her obligations to her friends and family, [There's a time to worry about whether you're neglecting family obligations, and when you're under attack by demons isn't it.] causing her to question if she really accepted Merihaim's power to follow a commandment and help others or if she just wanted an excuse to hurt 'deserving' people. [Merihaim's power isn't an excuse to hurt 'deserving' people; it's a means to hurt them.] She investigates those attacking her [There's a time to launch an investigation of demons, and while they're attacking you isn't it.] and discovers they are in the process of summoning an unstoppable horde of demonic allies with which they will conquer the world, but she also grows to understand that her willingness to sacrifice her other relationships has left her loved ones vulnerable, [I think they'd be vulnerable even if she hadn't been neglecting them lately.] and the demons are acutely aware of this weakness. [Those last two sentences total more than 100 words. And I don't mean short words. You'd probably need three tweets to compose either sentence, especially if you included #Sesquipedalian in each tweet.] Rachel must recover her conscience, then use all her strength to protect her closest friends, battle a legion of powerful monsters--and simultaneously deal with increasing evidence that Merihaim's motives for befriending her may have been less kindly than she thought. [You seem to suggest that this girl whose original goal was to teach a few bullies a lesson, has a chance in hell of defeating a legion of monsters and demons. If that's true, I could argue that if Merihaim's motives were unkindly, he wouldn't have given her a power so . . . powerful.]
I am a Jewish writer who has sold short fantasy stories to [pro venue] and [other pro venue] under the pen name of [pen name]. Thank you for your consideration. [Your pen name sucks. I suggest a visit to this pen name generator for more creative suggestions.]
When you are all that stands between life as we know it and an unstoppable horde of demons, your familial relationships and obligations are put on the back burner. They may cross Rachel's mind briefly in the book, but I'd leave them out of the query. When the army of orcs was attacking Frodo, he wasn't thinking, Dammit, I forgot to thank Bilbo for the pie last week. It seems like the inner conflict of deciding whether and how to use her new power, along with the feelings of guilt over neglecting friends and family are good problems for a YA character. When her goal escalates into saving the world from a demon takeover, readers may lose interest in Rachel's other relatively insignificant problems.
This is awfully wordy. By which I mean you can say most of it with a lot fewer words. For instance:
When 16-year old Jewish girl Rachel Sasson learns that a gang of bullies in her school will face no punishment for tormenting other students, she's appalled. Feeling morally obligated to stand up to the bullies, Rachel summons Merihaim, a demon she befriended as a child. She accepts his "fire-wielding" gift, telling herself the commandment of tikkun olam ('performing acts which improve the world') justifies using any means to help people . . . and incinerates the bullies.
That's about 50 words shorter than the original paragraph, and would be shorter still without the references to Judaism, which I left in because I assume it's a major theme of the book. Although . . . since hordes of demons would be unsettling to non-Jewish readers, and performing acts which improve the world is a noble pursuit of any religion or even atheism, maybe the book would be marketable to any young adults, and the references to Judaism in the query are suggesting to the agent a narrower audience. Are you targeting a publisher of Jewish YA?