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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Rule of Three

Publishing this manually... and late... sorry. I had tried the automatic publishing but it did not work... again.

There once was a young girl who read lots of books. She particularly loved fantasy and fairy tales - traditional, modern and futuristic. She dreamed of one day becoming a writer as she longed to create some of her own magic and share it with friends, family and everyone else. 

After many years of denying her passion, she finally started writing again. She wrote from the heart, she wrote often and researched in an effort to improve her writing. 

One day she came across an article entitled 'The Rule of Three' and realised excitedly that she had been doing it!

What is the rule of threes? 
In writing, the rule of three is based on the principle 'that things that come in threes are inherently more satisfying, funnier and more effective than other numbers.' (Wikipedia)

You can find it in traditional fairy tales-  Goldilocks and the Three Bears, three dogs in The Tinder box and Rupelstiltskin who spins straw into gold three times. You can find it in the classics - the three ghosts of Past, Present and the Future in A Christmas Carol, and the three witches in McBeth and in the Welsh Triads. In rhetoric, public speaking and adverting we can find many famous quotes encompass the rule of threes: 
  • Friends, Romans and countrymen..
  • Slip, Slop, Slap (Australian anti-cancer campaign)
  • Veni Vidi Vinci (I came, I saw, I conquered) 

One of my favourites that comes to mind is the movie (and theme): The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

A story works best with a beginning, a middle and an end. Plays often have three acts for the same reason. A setting is established, tension is created and finally the story is resolved. In comedy you have the set up, anticipation and the punchline. In public speaking, it re-enforces a point and makes it more memorable.  

Maybe we are conditioned to respond to the grouping with its pervasion into our cultural heritage? (Or not.) We have come to subconsciously expect things to happen in threes. it seems to re-enforce a point and make a story feel more complete. It takes a minimum of three things to create a pattern (which explains why I subconsciously put three incidents in most of my stories!). It is simple, it is effective and it works.

"Cool!" exclaimed the girl, as she continued to write and write and write. 

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