“Stinkbug” by Rich Barnett from Saints and Sinners 2014: New Fiction from the Festival (Bold Strokes Books).

Full disclosure: I have a story in this anthology.

Writing is re-writing.
Writing, like death, is a path one must walk alone.
Editing is like doing jigsaw puzzles. You start with a million pieces, and if you do it right, end up with a coherent, interesting story.
(Scenes must be) Evocative. Fluid. True to character. (They must) Contribute to the development of the story.
Walk between. Be nothing. Be everything.

Those are the pieces of advice on the wall over my desk, put there to be re-read whenever my eye drifts from the screen.

The main character of this quirky tale, Francis, finds himself with the thing he’s always longed for—the time to finally write a novel–and not a damned thing to say. It’s not even that he’s worried about money; he has plenty of that. It’s that he’s become paralyzed by the blank page. He’s rattled around his well-appointed study in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for nine months trying to kick start his muse by reading books about the work habits of famous writers, perusing literary magazines on the ‘net, drinking “umpteen shots of whiskey”, and talking to the stinkbugs that land on his desk. Nothing has helped.

Then the stinkbug starts talking back, reveals he is the reincarnation of Truman Capote, and makes Francis an offer he can’t refuse….

For a recounting of the experiences that inspired this story, check out the author’s blog: