Word count: 50267 | Since last entry: 100 | This month: 2872 Went to Eric Witchey’s “Tales in the Mail” party in Salem today, in a car with Jay Lake, Robin Catesby, and Jay’s energetic daughter Bronwyn. The group put over 40 stories in the mail, and 4 of them were mine. Two of those were old stories that have come back recently, and I wanted to talk with folks at the party about where to send them. The others were the Uncle Teco story from OryCon — which I have been meaning to send to Analog for months, and the party got me to get off my duff and do it — and the Hell story, which I spent some time (but not much) at the party revising, and just put in the e-mail a few minutes ago. Yesterday’s critiques of the Hell story were generally positive, though a couple of people said “Hell-as-bureaucracy has been done before, and this isn’t a spectacularly new take on the idea”… though at this point there’s not much to be done about that. There were also some requests to develop the new demons more, amp up the concept of “bad ideas” (which is what they’re manufacturing), and beef up the ending, all of which I addressed with an additional sentence here and there. Like it says above, about 100 additional words. Basically, I felt the story was in good enough shape to send out even if it’s not exciting and new. (I hope the anthology hasn’t already bought a bunch of “Hell-as-bureaucracy” stories, because with three theme anthologies about Hell open in the last couple of months there are going to be a heck of a lot of Hell stories hitting the magazines soon.) Yesterday I also got chapter D critiqued. One person said “this is great, I’m really hooked now, why couldn’t you get me this hooked before?” — a compliment, but also a critique that it’s hard to know what to do to address. The revised Prologue might help. Oh well, the important thing for now is to keep writing.