Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Rule of Threes

Do you know it? 

I can recite the Terrible Twos, chapter and verse,
(it reads a lot like Murphy's Law)  
but the Rule of Threes ?

I've heard of the Rule of Thirds,
which involves breaking your art composition into thirds, 
and aiming your focus at an intersection.

In writing, it's the Rule of Threes:
the idea that everything's better in threes -

Three acts to a play, 
three wishes from a magic genie, 
three square meals a day, 
three parts to a story: beginning, middle, and end.

Fairy tales take this rule and run with it - 
three characters, as in:

Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Blind Mice, Three Billy Goats Gruff

three siblings; the youngest often rises to fame after completing three tests. Think:

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, Beauty and the Beast, Puss in Boots

When I lived in Russia, I learned the Nyet, Nyet, Da! manners rule If a friend offered a gift or some sort of hospitality, it was impolite to accept right away. The proper thing was to refuse twice. If they asked a third time, it meant they were truly in earnest, and it was okay to accept the offer.   
Rule of Threes!

What are your thoughts on the Rule of Threes? 

Too hot? Too cold? Just right?

Do you use it? 

As both a rule maker and a rule breaker, I'm not much help. 
I like the rhythm that three lends to writing.  
I like groupings of three.
But I like the rhythm of four as well, and two, and five, so there you go. 

Sugar Snack is Three! 

We threw a party. A very simple, cardboard and tape kind of party.
Can you guess the theme?

We taped spare watercolors all over the walls, just for kicks. 

And made a snack train from wee boxes, with a flashlight hidden in the engine. 

A cardboard train to scribble on. 
Squeaky new markers and three slabs of cardboard 
for railroads, maps, towns and art. 

Car collage: A little paint, a little glue, and a hodgepodge of treasure...
Fruity cars were a hit! (spied here.)

And cake!
With cookie crumb dirt and a pretzel railroad.

Trains on top made it even more exciting!
Two cakes!
One for the big day, and one for the party.

Three years! 

Do you have a favorite number today?


Julia Kelly said...

Three is a great# and i use it a lot in art and writing-but two is my favorite #-when i get to be with my two sweet girls

Faith Pray said...

I'm with you, Julia! Funny how that works! My favorite number equals my kids, too! Like I said, I'm a rule breaker, and while I like the idea of three in a group, I'm not sold on it. "Tea for Two," and all that!

Ruthie said...

Oh wow, I miss party days & making like that! Looks like you guys had such fun! Three is great, my children meant we got to do everything three times over. 3 is good - A beginning, a middle & an end, A top, a bottom & a middle. Past, present & future. Best of all in all the faeriestories, it is always a quest for 3 things, or a test of 3. lol and i nearly always do groupings of 3 around and about the place, I hadn't realised utill you mentioned it, it made me laugh x

Jan Morrison said...

I have a rule involving the number 3 - it is called One of Three. I would like to write, walk and meditate every day. A good day is when I do all three, a perfectly OK day is when I do two of three, but really - I allow myself to lie down when I've done at least One of Three.

Dawn Simon said...

So much fun! Happy birthday, Sugar Snack!

Yes, I pay attention to the rule of threes in my writing. Regarding rhythm, I think even your posts have a nice rhythm to them.

Have a great week, Faith!

Faith Pray said...

Ruthie, I wonder if three is more ingrained in folks who grow up with a strong faeriestory tradition? Thanks for hopping over!

Jan, I think I would like to adopt your One of Three principle. I missed out on all three today, so there you have it. Definitely in need of some tidy discipline.

Dawn, thank you! I wonder how much the Rule of Threes is buried in our roots? I didn't even know it existed until this week, but somehow, it feels so natural.


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