the trifecta triangle
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Variations of the phrase, “just because someone wrote it, it doesn’t make it true,” have likely been floating about society like solitarily thought balloons, for a long time. Arguably, the very birth of all things fiction was quite literally spawned from that one single thought.
There is something about the written word, the way it flirts with you, memorialized on a page, as if it really is carved in stone, that just cannot be ignored. We all love saying things like “I read this article once…” followed by perhaps a less eloquent regurgitation of supposed ‘facts,’ validating it as an unmistakable doctrine of truth, a gospel worth evangelizing.
Surely, if it was written, then it must be accurate and even recited from memory in all of its impressive glory. The truth is, pun intended of course, that it’s not true, not always at least, and we writers love to use our creative license and cunning rhetoric to shout things from our laptops.
Ever wonder what makes a piece of writing really good? Why do we choose to read what we read and to retain what we retain? How come, that even if you “really don’t care,” or you’re “just not into that stuff,” you still can’t seem to turn your gaze away from the magazine covers strategically perched for your reading pleasure at the check-out isle of the grocery store?
Some would argue that it’s boredom, and while that fact cannot be dismissed of even disputed, there is perhaps, something wicked asunder. Catchy, enticing writing that tickles our curiosity, does so because it contains one, two or even three elements of what I like to call ‘the trifecta.’
In no particular order, the first is ‘gossip,’ which essentially covers all of the direct or implied nuggets that might sound a little something like “so and so had a beach wedding at this luxurious resort…” This would immediately spark one’s curiosity because even though you “don’t care,” you also like to be ‘in the know.’
This seemingly innocuous headline would also cover the second element of the trifecta, which is ‘your fear of missing out.’ Slyly implying with its subtext, that while ‘so and so’ are off enjoying their resort wedding, you my basic friend, are buying groceries.
Last but not least, a good piece of writing must inform, it must create the illusion of teaching you, or actually teach you something. Reading this headline might make you think, “Ooh what’s this resort? I must flip the page to find out more about it and maybe see if I can go someday,” etc.
If all things fail, cue the photo. Virtually every piece or writing contains accompanying images, and it’s almost impossible not to include at least one member of the trifecta brigade in a body of work when done right. The trifecta is the very foundation on which all-social media platforms and posts have made their claim to fame. Think about it, if I post a photo of my sandwich on Instagram, even if you don’t ‘validate’ it with a double-tap, you’ll still eat up my triple-decor, trifecta sandwich, pun intended again.
Let me demonstrate: I will tag my location to inform you of where you too can enjoy this delicious decadence. My well-edited, food-porn-worthy snap will not only show you my lunch but it will also make you feel like you’re ‘missing out’ on it. Lastly, I will tag my lunch companion, to quench your curiosity about whom I’m enjoying this lunch with.
As rudimentary as it may seem, we are constantly being fed the trifecta and we are endlessly curious targets for it. So the next time you find yourself lingering over a post on your feed for a little too long, or find the urge to pick a magazine off the shelf and take a peek inside, ask yourself, have you fallen into the trifecta triangle?