So, since we're short on time, let's get down to business. Most of you have probably already heard about the Rule of Three, but when I started writing PBs, I hadn't. I just put it in my manuscript: the main character tried to solve her problem three times before she finally got it right. I didn't mean anything by it; it's just that two didn't feel like enough, and four felt like dragging it on a bit. And then I posted it on the SCBWI boards, and a critiquer said, "You did a nice job incorporating the Rule of Three in there."
And I went, "Wha-huh?" And I thanked her, modestly, because no-one likes a braggart, even when it's obvious that the braggart is a genius. And then I went and looked it up. :-) And I went, "OHHHH!" And I realised I'm not such a genius after all.
Basically, the Rule of Three is this: when writing a PB, do things as much as possible in threes. If a character has a defining characteristic, give three examples. If the character is solving a problem, make them try and fail three times. Jane O'Connor's FANCY NANCY starts off with a great example of this when Nancy says she likes being fancy, then lays out what that means for her by listing three fancy things that she does.
Another great example is Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo, in which a mouse is first threatened by three different animals, then goes back and scares the same three animals.
And it's kind of a no-brainer, because when you think about it, things are in threes everywhere: three acts in a play, three movements in a symphony, triangles in classical art, three, three, three. Even bad things, as the saying goes, happen in threes. Cerberus had three heads. Humans like the number three, and it's ingrained in us. So go with it.
Everybody repeat after me: THREE is a magic number...
Hee-hee. Happy Monday night!
Can you think of examples, either PBs or novels, that do things in threes? Share with us.