LeftHand Media Co-op

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LeftHand Media Co-op

Blog

Words Worth

LHMC brought me on recently as a staff scribe, and today I’ll be writing about writing.

How many times have you seen a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster that featured retina-rousing special effects but failed to engage you emotionally? On plenty of occasions, right? That’s because the producers focused their attention on CG visuals rather than on the script. Big mistake. A positively Brobdingnagian error, in fact; the script is the foundation on which everything else is built. What’s that you say, holding an index finger aloft and waggling it remonstratively? I’m biased because words are my bread and butter? You may have a point, but consider this: when it comes to making a movie, only the screenwriter is a creative artist. Only the screenwriter creates something out of nothing. All the other folks working on the film, no matter how talented they may be, are interpretative artists only.

I’m stressing the supremacy of the text because we live in a world in which new messaging channels abound. It seems that, every time you turn around, there’s an intriguingly novel technology for conveying information. And yet, with all due respect to Marshall McLuhan, the medium is not the message. The medium is the medium and, although there’s an inevitable shaping process, the message remains the message. One of the keys to effective communication is to understand the ways in which a medium impacts the content it transmits, and then leverage that set of influences.

Steve Martin’s mastery of tweeting is an excellent illustration of this notion. He took a format that some considered restrictive – tweets are limited to 140 characters – and used it to deliver carefully-concise one-liners. {Many examples of which can be found in his book The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.} Of course, writing within a sharply-defined framework is nothing new: Elizabethan sonneteers had to shoehorn their sentiments into an inelastic rhyme scheme and I would argue that these structural limitations actually boosted their inventiveness.

Where am I going with this? Straight to a sales pitch, actually. One of my goals as an LHMC wordsmith will be to help our clients maximize the communicational advantages inherent in whatever medium they choose to use. Other objectives include…

  • Striving at all times for correctness. Sometimes this will involve simple proofreading: there’s nothing that brings me more satisfaction than standardizing Oxford comma usage, repositioning misplaced modifiers, and rescuing dangling participles.  Nothing, that is, save deep-delving research and fact-checking.
  • Bringing to bear a full arsenal of literary techniques. A writer has many weapons at her disposal: everything from antithesis to consonance, from hyperbole to metaphor, and from personification to satire. I look forward to deploying a full range of ordnance and producing powerfully persuasive prose. {Did you see what I did there? I used both consonance and metaphor in this very paragraph.}
  • Generating memorable copy. There are a variety of ways to do this, but humour and narrative are my favourites. I’ve written a number of full-length comedies for the stage and I’m convinced that readers are most likely to remember pieces that {a} tell a story, and {b} make them laugh.
  • Customizing content. Have you ever watched a courtroom drama and been convinced of the defendant’s guilt after the prosecutor’s articulate summation, only to change your mind about culpability after hearing the defence counsel’s equally-eloquent closing argument? LHMC has a history of creating compelling cases tailored to a client’s particular point of view, and I shall do my utmost to perpetuate and refine this practice.

Okay, time to wrap things up. I think I’ll close with a quote by Rudyard Kipling…

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

It would be my pleasure to get people high on your behalf.

Language-Lovingly,

Darien R. Edgeler