Greetings, O Stiletto-Heeled Terror of Wannabes and Crapmeisters Everywhere...
You emphasize over and over how you are looking for "fresh and original" writing. "Good writing trumps all!" I mean, you're reviewing oodles of query letters, partials, and fulls, not to mention keeping up on your own reading, shopping your manuscripts, and let's not even discuss the time spent draining buckets of gin, stalking George Clooney, attending publisher parties and conferences, etc.
Isn't your razor-brain so crammed full with information and plot pitches that after awhile even John Grisham seems like unoriginal crap to you? Surely you feel like you've seen everything. So...how do recognize fresh and original when you see it? Can you give examples of what brought "fresh and original" to an old idea? How do you keep from getting "burnt out" and utterly jaded?
A Devoted Snarkling (currently up to Dec '05 Snarkives)
How many meals have you eaten this year? Even if it's just one a day, you've had more than 300. Can you still tell if something is extra yummy?
Unless you eat like Jaws (or KY) you have a sense of good/bad/indifferent right at the start.
Reading is a bit like that.
I keep from getting burned out by reading other books, watching The Wire and doing this blog.
There's an interesting article in the recent NewYork about burn out. The theory is burnout doesn't come from over work. It comes from unrealistic expectations and a reduced sense of effectiveness. (Thus social workers with a busy caseload burn out not because they are busy but because they feel their work isn't accomplishing anything in the long run.)
And your premise that I remember all this stuff is wrong. I don't remember much of anything after I've said yes/no to the query. Think of it as cache memory: cleared regularly to maintain speed.
Also, I had to stop stalking George Clooney. Restraining orders are so verbose! You'd think he could have just written "not quite right for me" on my query letter/s and returned it in the SASE (ok, it was a packing crate with me in it but really...it was stamped and addressed)