Lights, Camera, Writing in 3D!

We’re deep in the midst of the New (New) Wave of 3D movie making. The technology has finally caught up with the idea, and the kitschy, 1950s flying saucers and martian films have been replaced with blue avatars, Pandora and the feeling that every time you visit the IMAX, you’re going to leave with a black eye or broken nose due to some flying three dimensional object making a B-line for your head. Kids love it. Some parents love it. And many of us have even bought Tomorrowland TVs and invited the technology into our living rooms. Whether you like 3D technology or just think it’s another corporate attempt to bleed our wallets dry, it’s here to stay. However, one thing can be agreed upon: Not all 3D movies are created equal. There’s a graceful and artistic way to use the technology; at the same time, some 3D looks like an after thought glued on by the studios to make more money.

The goal of 3D is to bring flat objects to life with a sense of depth. On some level, this same principal should be applied to writing, too. To borrow an oft quoted phrase from HGTV: You want your writing to pop. So where do you begin?

1. Show, Don’t Tell. If you take a creative writing course, this is the old standby that’s drilled into writer’s heads. Descriptive words, sensory language, anecdotes -it all falls under the umbrella of show, don’t tell. However, be wary, as too many adjectives and adverbs are overkill, and you’ll end up with prose as bloated or hackneyed as bad 3D. As a writer, you need to know when to trim the fat off the sentence.

2. Specifics. He didn’t just drive a car; he drove an MGA that had a map light on a chrome stem. They weren’t just going on vacation for two weeks; they were staying at the Coco Palm, in St. Lucia, which is located off the main drag in Rodney Bay. The milk in the fridge: Organic. The couch: From Ethan Allen.

3. Poetical Devices. Who says content can’t crib a few cool and cadenced techniques from poetry? Alliteration, simile, metaphor, assonance, consonance, rhythm…drop one of these ideas in your writing and it will pop like the Fourth of July? A champagne cork? Your knee as you get out of bed in the morning?

If writing can be equated to 3D, then a marketing campaign or email strategy can be described as the Fourth Dimension. Whether you’re a mom and pop shop trying to make a name for yourself on the internet, or a big business hiring a direct mail writer to promote a new product or boost sales, it doesn’t matter how well crafted the content is if it’s not reaching an audience. In other words, for every 3D masterpiece like Avatar or Hugo, there’s dreck like Thor and Wrath of the Titans that nobody bothers ponying up the money to see.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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