Yes, I know, Philcon is not a conference, but years of going to the annual meetings of the Modern Language Association and the American Academy of Religion taught me a bunch of conference behaviors that are too deeply ingrained to be shed altogether, and which proved to be useful enough at WorldCon in 2004 that I just let them kick in for parts of Saturday.
My grad school friends used to call my MLA persona the Vortex of Schmooze, but to me, it was more of an effect I watched from outside than it was an aspect of my personality. It's not something I can just switch on--either it kicks in by itself or it doesn't. I was lucky enough to slip into the Vortex of Schmooze for about 15 minutes yesterday.
That went fairly well, I think. I never did cross paths with the Shiny Young Agent who has my ms under consideration right now, but I had a chance to talk a little with another agent who bears watching. If the SYA declines to represent me, I'll probably query the new find. We'll see what Google turns up about her, some evening that is not this one.
My Stupid Revelation: Back when I used to submit my poetry to journals, anytime a SASEful of rejection arrived, I turned those same poems around and shipped them to some other journal within 48 hours. No single rejection letter was all that bad, because I had enough work in circulation at any given moment that I could hope for a dozen acceptances already to be on their way--at least for long enough to get the newly-rejected work back out there. Now, as the three-month mark nears and it's not impossible that the Shiny Young Agent's answer might come soon, I've been preparing myself for rejection by nuancing my list of other agents to query. But, until yesterday, I hadn't thought much about the months it will take between getting rejected by the Shiny Young Agent and the day when the ms is in good enough shape that I can send it to anyone else. The SYA wanted it right away, even in its somewhat chaotic state, because writersweekend was so enthusiastic about it. Nobody I can query in the next move will have heard that pitch-by-proxy. Nobody else is going to want to see it with several chapters in the wrong POV, with a couple of chapters in no POV in particular, riddled with minor inconsistencies and bracketed [FIX THIS] placeholders, etc. I can't just turn it around.
It was useful to forget that while I was busting my ass to get the current draft out to the SYA. It was useful to continue in cheery oblivion during Nanowrimo. It's tempting to forget again, since it would be foolish to dive into revisions before hearing back from the SYA. There is, after all, a very remote chance she'll offer to represent my unmarketably long, peculiar book.
The Stisele project can't be pulled into shape fast enough, but something ought to be in circulation when that rejection comes in. Maybe I'll hammer out the rest of the October short story while I get started on the huge amount of research that will be necessary to make The Traitor of Imlen play right. Stisele's waiting for me to finish slogging through Clausewitz, for me to get up onto a horse for the first time since I was six years old, for me to dream her enough. I love that some of the beta readers for the big book have had dreams set in Beltresa, and I want that for the short book. It's not going to happen unless Stisele gets into my dream life first. November was too sleepless for productive dreams.
Tomorrow, while I keep vigil in the Comparative Literature department lounge during Breva the Axe's dissertation defense, I should be able to finish my first pass at marking up the 201 pages of Nanowrimo ms. After that, back to "Atlantis Cranks Need Not Apply."