There’s something powerful about the number “3″. As writers, we are drawn to threes because they give us a sense of completeness. Past-Present-Future. Hook-Line-Sinker. Beginning-Middle-End.
Sometimes we choose to go the route of dualities. Good-Evil. Light-Dark. But they don’t feel the same.
Simple writing is best, but there are times when you can simplify too far. Someone once said (and my Googling fails me, for reasons you’ll understand) that it takes three words at minimum to describe something. Anything less, and you’re falling short, or leaving ambiguity. The example given was a neon sign at Times Square years ago, promising Live Nude Girls.
Somehow, altering any one of those three words changes the complexion of the situation, in a decidedly more comical, more dark, or less sexist way. One word can change quite a bit.
Now, there is a picture of that classic sign somewhere on the internet. iStockphoto has it, and I’ll just link to it here. I won’t post it, because, well… I’m cheap. And I can’t find an alternative, because as you can imagine, “Live Nude Girls Sign” generates 127,000 hits on Google Images. “Live Nude Girls Neon” fetches 26,500 candidates, and the combination of “Live Nude Girls Neon Sign” only shaves it down to 21,400. And let me tell you, I just can’t bring myself to wade through that many pictures. I pondered the sacrifice, but alas…
[tags]Ike Pigott, Occam’s RazR, writing, rule of threes, communication, venn[/tags]