3D and Me
Written by
Paula Petty
January 2011
Written by
Paula Petty
January 2011

They look like a normal pair of cardboard glasses but with lenses of different colors. Once I put them on, I am drawn into a world much different than the world I know and a world I want to stay in for a while.

The writer in me wants to take those glasses apart and see how they work. The tech in me knows better.

Different images are fed into my eyes with the lenses to create the 3D effect. I want to duck when the airplanes fly at me. I want to hide when the monsters want to come at me.

I know what pictures look like in 3D but what about words? Can I see words from a book in 3D?

That’s not something I ask of the glasses. That’s my job as a writer.  3D writing reflects different perspectives coming together to make pictures with the words.

A 3D picture comes to life with scientific principles and a pair of glasses. Words are made 3D with writing that draws a reader in like a high-powered magnet. I want my readers to reach out and grab the pictures. Better yet, I want the characters to reach out and grab my readers and pull them into the story. I want my reader to become another character.

So how do I make my characters 3D?

 I find that 3D characters share these three “D”s:


Characters put in danger leak fear to the reader. Danger does not necessarily imply physical danger or a physical threat. Emotions and relationships add a deep dimension of danger. The character may not know of the danger or the reader may know of the danger before the character does. A well-written 3D character draws the reader into the danger. The more engaging a character is the more involved the reader is.


Once the dangers are revealed the characters are “dared” to draw from their weaknesses and not just from their strengths.  This challenges our characters.  They rebel. This rebellion adds another dimension to the story. Friends, coworkers and family may help solve a crime, but main characters need to be “dared” to draw from within and challenge themselves to find resolution.


In finding resolution, characters discover something --but not before they have been on this incredible journey. This leads to the growth of the character. The growth that comes from this discovery allows for reader satisfaction. The discovery brings the reader full circle and gives her permission to go back into the real world because something has been gained on this journey.


Stories in 3D don’t just come alive on the big screen. Stories and books can become 3D with characters that find themselves in danger, that are dared to draw from their weaknesses and discover something from their incredible journey.


As writers we face the challenge of making our words 3D by wearing the glasses of creativity and imagination. I am challenged to write so that my readers leap into the pages, duck at the planes coming and hide from the monsters that come at them.




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