Iyna Bort Caruso, a dear friend and one of the many accomplished panelists at the PRSSA Regional Conference at Hofstra on March 31st, began her presentation by quoting author Truman Capote: “Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.” She told the attendees, “Rearranging the rules elevates boring writing and helps makes your message more persuasive. An effective way to do this is to borrow devices from different literary genres and incorporate them into your communications toolkit.”
Iyna’s three insightful examples:
THE SCREENWRITER’S CRAFT — Wide shot, medium shot, close-up. The sequence is what gives a story its rhythm and pacing. Wide shots give you the broad, establishing picture; the close-up draws you in with its intimacy. With each shot something new is revealed. Consider applying this approach when writing press corporate backgrounders or client bios. Instead of an information dump of statistics, dates, honors and degrees, sequence your writing by rotating “broad establishing” information with “close-up” anecdotes that personalize the narrative and help a reader understand not just the whats but the whys and hows.
THE NOVELIST’S SHORTHAND — Metaphors (and similes) are multitasking figures of speech. A good metaphor is like eloquent shorthand. It takes a long, rambling paragraph and reduces it to its essential point. It can also take a complicated concept and make it instantly understandable. On complex topics like technology, health or science, metaphors help you make the information accessible.
THE TRAVEL WRITER’S TOOLS — Good travel writing lifts its subject off the page by using the senses. This full-sensory assault method can help distinguish a client’s product or service. Descriptions should not just about what a product looks like or what a service does but how it makes the end-user feel. What is the experience and how might approaching it from the perspective of the five senses provide a deeper and more lasting impression.
Fabulously instructive ideas, Iyna! Even the best writers can become better writers. Great writing makes great public relations, and we PR people should embrace these and other helpful approaches to never become complacent with our own writing. Your thoughts?
P.S. Visit Iyna Bort Caruso’s web site at www.iynacaruso.com.