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Q and A

Apr 09, 2007; Heffalump Asks:

...and what makes a good collection title? Any tips on how to order the stories? I'm figuring on putting the best stories first, burying the crappy ones in the middle, and finishing up with an experimental bang. Le sigh. Three more days.

Stacey answers:

Heffalump, I think you have the order of the stories about right. Start with the strongest and the easiest to read, and end with a good one. Also, it's kind of like a mix tape where you want one to flow into the next with a pleasing sameness or a pleasing jolt. It's better to take the crappy ones out altogether than to bury them in the middle, if that's possible.

I like the title "Tales of the Heffalump".

Apr 07, 2007; Heffalump Asks:

Stacey, I've been writing my master's thesis for AGES. It's due on Friday. Can you give me some tips for keeping my pedal to the metal?

Stacey answers:

Ha! Heffalump, are your sure you want to ask me? I'm really more of a procrastination specialist. Like, have you looked at your stove lately? Probably the knobs have a little dirt on them, and it's likely that there's grease underneath. Did you know these knobs come off? You can take them off and clean them, and then put them back, and will have accomplished one small, useless thing without making any headway on your thesis at all.

Since that wasn't your question, I'll add some tips. You could try repeating a mantra to yourself, such as: "If I don't finish this, I'm worthless, if I don't finish this, I'm worthless..." Also: coffee. Also (and no one likes to hear this, least of all me), early morning (very early) is, for some reason, the absolute best time to write. It's a terrible, cruel truth that I try to ignore.

Apr 07, 2007; Rabbi Fahnstock Asks:

Your Q and A is broken

Stacey answers:

Sorry, Rabbi. I hate to disappoint a rabbi. It should be fixed soon. Sorry also I haven't answered any questions for a few days--I have a terrible virus and I'm going back to sleep now.

Apr 05, 2007; Danny Asks:

Stacey, what is the fastest land animal?

Stacey answers:

I believe it's the cheetah.

Apr 05, 2007; Chrysalis 77 Asks:

Do you have any advice for young writers? Thank you.

Stacey answers:

Yes, Chrysalis, I do. My best advice to young writers is that they get other people to move heavy objects for them. Seriously--hire a mover, even if you can't afford it, or at least get some beefy citizens to lug your furniture for you. People who sit all the time (such as young writers) do not have strong backs, and once you screw up your back it may never be entirely unscrewed.

Mar 29, 2007; Anon Asks:

Have I ever told you that you're my literary heart throb? Rikki Ducornet is #2 (she could never replace you), and I was struck almost dumb with joy when I saw that Fairy Tale Review had both of you in one issue!

Stacey answers:

Oh, that's sweet. You're mine too. Now I have to run and read the Rikki Ducornet story right away. I bet I could kick her ass in Boggle!

Mar 27, 2007; Leela Johnson Asks:

A decorating question: I was thinking of doing my bedroom over. Should I beware of being overly matchy-matchy? There's a fabric I like but I don't want to overdo it and use it everywhere.

Stacey answers:

Leela, matchy-matchy can be very charming. My 100 year old grandmother's guest bedroom has matching bedspreads, curtains, and an upholstered chair. It's so...unified, and creepy. Matchy matchy-ness can impart a strange, old-timey feeling to a room, a feeling of trying too hard, obsessiveness, and excessive femininity. Consider the possibility that this is a good thing. You could also make a dress to match.

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Mar 26, 2007; Liam G. Asks:

Better: Sweet kumquats or sour kumquats? (Hint: the correct answer is sour)

Stacey answers:

Sweet and sour kumquats with jasmine rice.

Mar 23, 2007; pequat Asks:

Am I a good person? Will anyone ever love me? What does the future hold? Is the earth doomed?

Stacey answers:

Yes. Yes. I don't know. Yes.

Mar 23, 2007; Lukey G Asks:

I know this is kind of a dumb question, but how did you write "The Long Hall"? Where did it come from? I read the story last week and I can't stop thinking about it. Maybe my new favorite ever. I can't explain. It just has everything I've always wanted in a short story. Also, if you don't mind two questions in one: I have a friend who has just begun a new career as a film reviewer. Since you seem entirely proud of your stint with the Weekly Wire, can you offer him any advice?

Stacey answers:

Hi Lukey G. Thanks so much for your kind words. It can be really difficult to say where a story comes from (or embarrassing), but I do know that "The Long Hall" sprang out of a sad feeling I had on a trip to Colorado where I saw a lot of dying trees, victims of the ongoing bark beetle infestation of the west. It was a self-indulgent sad feeling--or maybe a flashback--about how I used to think about boys when I was younger. With longing and dread, I guess. Then the trees and the boys joined up and became the idea for the story. Along with sadness. Isn't that a girly answer? Feelings, Lukey. It came from feelings.

As for your friend, the trick to surviving three or more movies a week without having a breakdown is to avoid romantic comedies.

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