The Power of Three

 Three is a powerful number that satisfies our need for symmetry. Think how many times it shows up in mythology, fairy tales, and popular culture. A few obvious threes:

Three wishes. Three bears. Three little pigs. Three fates. Three furies. Three graces. Three muses. Three outs. Best two out of three. Three Faces of Eve. Three Days of the Condor. Third time lucky. Love triangle.

So, to make your stories more powerful, harness the power of three.

1. When describing a character or scene, mention three attributes. Also, if a particular attribute needs to be fixed in the reader’s mind, mention it three times (and only three times) during the course of the book, and it will stick.

2. When devising a plot, follow the storyline of The Three Bears. The first time the hero tries to reach her goal, she fails but learns the risks. The second time she tries, she confirms that she’s doing things wrong, but she learns from her mistakes. The third time she tries, she gets it right.

3. Look for patterns in your story. If your character has made love under the stars and perhaps gone to a concert under the stars, mention stars once more to solidify the pattern.

I could give you more ways to make your stories more powerful, but since I’ve given you three suggestions, that should satisfy you.

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