3 Ways to Use the Rule of Three in Writing to Satisfy Readers

It can please readers.

It can develop something that moves people, deepens their understanding, and keeps them considering your story long after theyve devoured the last word.

Do you want to catch your readers attention, rivet them to the page, and leave them shouting for more? Using the Rule of Three in your writing is one method to meet reader expectations and engage reader interest.

However how do you apply this guideline into your story naturally? Is it right for your book?

Why You Should Care


There actually are no rules when it concerns fiction writing. There are time-honored customs that are deeply ingrained in our culture and conscience, and its beneficial to pay attention to them.

Somerset Maugham stated: “There are three guidelines for writing a book. Sadly, no one knows what they are.”

Another of these far-reaching customs is understood as The Rule of Three.

Some of these are the genre conventions and required scenes so vital to offering a pleasing experience for the reader.

Among these is the Heros Journey. David Safford has composed an exceptional series of posts exploring this topic, and I motivate you to check them out.

Others are wider in scope, reaching far across category limits to incorporate many elements of a readers life.

I bring this up due to the fact that I wish to make the point that there truly are no rules when it concerns fiction writing. But there are time-honored traditions so instilled in our culture and conscience that it would be silly to disregard them.

What Is the Rule of Three?

This offers plenty of scope for adding and intensifying dispute.

Lets have a look at some examples.

Lets have a look at a few of the methods we can utilize the Rule of Three in our writing.

We see it all the time in our fiction, too.

Presenting a 4th character to the mix can sometimes be excessive, making it hard for the reader to keep directly, however 3 is ideal. Why do you believe triangles are so popular in literature?

Or a minimum of it seems that way, because the convention is so deeply entrenched in our cultural expectations. You can see reflections of this all over. The Holy Trinity. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of joy. Reality, justice, and the American way.

You dont need to be a fan of Schoolhouse Rock to understand that 3 is a magic number. Listen to a persuasive speaker, and youll hear him engage the Rule of Three time and once again to drive home his points, inspire his audience, and enhance their memory of his words. (See how I just did that?).

Include a 3rd character, and youve simply deepened the dimensions of your plot substantially. Now weve got A to B, A to C, B to A, B to C, C to A, and C to B.

Improving Character Dynamics.

In general, the Rule of Three is the art of establishing and satisfying a three-part pattern. It is a composing principle that is based on how people retain and comprehend info based on patterns. And like the number 4, it is a small number that permits us to remember important information while likewise creating potential for growing conflict in a plot.

Things take place in 3s.

The three-act structure, beginning, middle, and end. The Three Little Pigs, the Three Amigos, the Three Musketeers. Organizing things in 3s not just offers rhythm and balance, but also conjures up an effective subconscious expectation.

Unlike the number 4 however, odd numbers tend to be more interesting.

When you have 2 characters, A connects with B and B interacts with A. Certainly there can be tension, but its tough to sustain in a fascinating method.

1. The Hunger Games.

Katniss is torn in between 2 likes, Gale and Peeta. Each of these males highlights something great in her, satisfying a requirement. The continuous pull of war in between what she believes she wants and what she winds up with creates a compelling dynamic that carries the story through 3 books.

Three creates tension and requires a choice.

Understood as the love triangle, this is an exceptional way to use the Rule of Three in any story, as a main storyline or subplot.

2. Casablanca.

The story centers on styles of desire vs. honor and sacrifice for anothers joy. Without Laszlo supplying a 3rd side of the triangle, Rick and Ilsas dramatic dispute would be considerably flatter.

Like The Hunger Games, the interactions here are primarily between Ilsa and her 2 enthusiasts.

The story needs the stress. It, once again, creates tension by forcing characters into hard corners that require hard decisions.

3. Ghost.

Sam passes away, developing a gulf between him and Molly that only Oda Mae can space.

If Sam might simply speak with Molly, they wouldnt need Oda Mae, but the story wouldnt have all the charming dimension and conflict produced by the threesome.

The threesome assists raise the story stakes, and these continue to escalate as the plot thickens.

Yes, but What Else Does it Do?

It manifests well in character characteristics, the Rule of Three uses to so much more than love triangles alone.

Here are three other methods you can use the Rule of Three in your writing to reinforce your story.

We instinctively seek it out and it thus takes our attention and advantages our interest due to the fact that its so ingrained in us.

1. Build tension.

The character starts a series of try/fail cycles. The number of cycles and for how long this goes on will differ from story to story, but the reader is subliminally set to anticipate three.

Story has to do with a character, in a setting, with an issue.

When the character attempts and fails a 2nd time, the stress is increased. Success on the 3rd try feels. Four attempts at the same feat is heading towards tedious.

Believe Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As soon as is too easy; twice still doesnt cut it. Three times is simply.

The character makes an effort and fails; tension is the outcome.

2. Help with memory.

The other element is that readers tend to keep in mind something that shows up 3 times, so you can use this to set up for later rewards. Mention something early on then bring it up once again down the roadway and youve established an expectation in the readers mind.

One point appears random. Two points do not necessarily correlate. When a 3rd point of data is added to a scenario, a possible pattern forms, focusing the brains attention.

They keep in mind and expect that 3rd look.

Scientific research study recommends that people keep in mind things best in groups of 3. Our brains like to acknowledge and evaluate patterns.

There are a number of elements to consider in this regard.

3. Surprise.

You can do it, too, in your writing to spring a surprise. Develop those very first two indicate get your reader preparing for a 3rd, then twist it.

I discussed this in my article, 5 Side-Splitting Ways to Infuse Humor Into Your Writing, and I hope youll consider that a read. Here are a couple of brief examples of the strategy.

The Rule of Three can fill spaces in your storys content, and pull your readers into psychological moments that they will remember long after theyre over.

” There are 3 sort of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”– Benjamin Disraeli.

” Three things your partner wants you to do in the event of an argument– take a breath, take a tip, and go.”– Joslyn Chase.

” There are 3 principal ways to lose cash: wine, ladies, and engineers. While the very first two are more pleasant, the 3rd is by far the more certain.”– Baron Rothschild.

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

Public speakers and comics utilize the Rule of Three all the time to provide crucial points and punchlines.

The Rule of Three can add dispute and dynamic to your plot. It can challenge your protagonist to make choices and face effects.

Now that you have a firmer grasp on the Rule of Three, you are all set to go forth and dominate!

Simply be sure to keep in mind the guideline, know how to use it, and have enjoyable!

How about you? Do you see the Rule of Three in the movies and books you enjoy? Do you utilize it in your writing? Tell us about it in the comments.

Lets compose a scene using the Rule of Three. Choose a timely from below or come up with your own idea. Compose a scene where the character makes 3 efforts to resolve a problem, intensifying the tension after each failure, and ending with success on the 3rd try.

Liza has her regular prepared for the cheerleader tryouts, however shes not specific her ankle injury is adequately recovered and its go time!
Ralph cant think hes actually taking a trip through space on a NASA task. Whatever is awesome up until he attempts to call Mission Control and the devices fails.
Jennie has actually been kidnapped and locked in a basement room. She needs to get away, using only the contents of her pocket and a piece of filthy string.

Compose for fifteen minutes. Post your work in the comments and be sure to leave feedback for your fellow authors when youre ended up! Discussing three authors stories sounds practically right, do not you believe?

Any day where she can send out readers to the edge of their seats, prickling with suspense and chewing their fingernails to the nub, is a great day for Joslyn. Pick up her most current thriller,.
Steadmans Blind, an explosive read that will keep you turning pages to the end.
No Rest: 14 Tales of Chilling Suspense, Joslyns newest collection of short suspense, is readily available free of charge at.
joslynchase.com.

Joslyn Chase.

PRACTICE.

Listen to a persuasive speaker, and youll hear him engage the Rule of Three time and again to drive home his points, inspire his audience, and boost their memory of his words. The Three Little Pigs, the Three Amigos, the Three Musketeers. Overall, the Rule of Three is the art of setting up and satisfying a three-part pattern. Do you observe the Rule of Three in the books and films you take pleasure in? Lets compose a scene utilizing the Rule of Three.

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