Do you remember what it was like when you were twelve or thirteen and you had to sit through the talent show? Subtropical waves of heat shimmy through the gym because if it's winter the heat is on and it only runs full blast. If it's late enough in the spring, the air conditioning can't cool it off fast enough. The tennis shoe/vinyl/aerosol deodorant/popcorn smells mix together in toxic fumes that guarantee at least one nervous performer will get sick.
A skinny, scruffy air guitar band leaps about and only gets away with applause because it consists of the coolest guys on the varsity whatever team. Several wobbly monologues delivered in tinny, squeaky sincerity are punctuated by awkwardly spaced dramatic gestures. A piano solo or two trips along the keyboard. But once or twice- in the era, not every year- somebody special takes the stage.
They look like everyone else if not marginally worse. The audience squirms in uncomfortable anticipation of whatever's coming. We've been programmed to keep expectations low. As in, please don't let this one suck because I can't feel sorry for one more person tonight.
Then this happens:
I think that must be what it's like for agents reading queries. You straighten up a bit. This one might not be so bad. In another sentence or two, you start to get excited. You get to the sample pages and read with a mix of elation and sheer gratitude that this person did not make you pity them, wonder what they were thinking or how their mother created such a delusional fantasy world for them. In the mix of the good, the mediocre, and the absolutely dreadful it must be an amazing eureka moment to find one that is fan-damn-tastic.