At least temporarily, the MS is out of the drawer and winging pixelly through cyberspace toward the electronic reader of an actual literary agent in New York. Upon his request, in fact, very kind and most appreciated, following a query with pages to his editorial assistant. Oh, one other thing--the crucial thing I think in such matters--the query was accompanied by a note to the agent from someone he knew, a client, in fact, with whom I'd actually met the man in New York a number of years ago.
How does it actually feel--the using of a personal connection to request this access? Like a stroke of undeserved good fortune, mainly. More precisely, it feels like watching a crack appear in a door you're sure can open even though it bears the smooth, knobless surface appearance of magic portals in a childhood fantasy.
As that may also convey, it feels vaguely dream-like. When he agreed to look at the whole thing, I did a quick re-read myself. Not much one can do in those circumstances. Trying to tweak what seem to be especially clunky sentences can merely throw paragraphs out of whack. But it's a fairly irresistible temptation, after all. The real danger is that you will find something major that just screams to be changed, after which the whole edifice will crumble. (Don't re-read is what I guess I'm saying.) Anyway, I hope I did resist all of the above. Or much of it.
I don't in fact have high hopes for success in the larger sense of publication from this. My story has not so much as one vampire or rogue virus, and it involves no elaborate government conspiracies. It's just people in a family--mother, daughter and grandmother--who have been lying to each other about some very important matters for many years.
The agent who will read this has a long and distinguished career, with much commercial literary success. I am honored to have my MS read by such a person, whatever happens.