Writing Tip by Eric Gutierrez

That throbbing cursor at the top of an empty computer screen at the beginning of a new tale is the Medusa that can often turn imagination into stone.   To get past not getting started I still use that old trick of writing the last sentence first, regardless of whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction.

If I’m already working on something and the words aren’t coming that particular day, I will kick-start the keyboard by writing a letter from one of my subjects (either a character or actual person) to myself, using his/her voice, concerns, humor, life.   I find they often confide in me this way.   “Their” letters usually yield some new dimension or information and spark a detail or reference point I hadn’t previously known or considered.   The subjects’ interior lives get richer and I get that cursor moving across the screen.

 Biography of Eric Gutierrez: Eric Gutierrez is a writer, essayist and cultural commentator.   His fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Indivisible and the Lambda Award-winning The Man I Might Become. His essays and non-fiction have appeared in Harvard Divinity Today, huffingtonpost.com, NuestraVoice.com and the anthology Gay Widowers: Life After the Death of a Partner. He is the author of Disciples of the Street: God & Rap in the Holy Land of Hip Hop, profiled on The Tavis Smiley Show, and co-editor of Suave: The Latin Male. His scripts for stage and television include the Imagen Award-nominated theaterwork “By the Hand of the Father” (co-writer), and “Los Beltran,” nominated for an American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Award for Best Television Comedy.   He is the recipient of a Brody Fellowship from the California Community Foundation and a Burton Fellowship from Harvard and lives once again in Los Angeles.


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