Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Omne trium perfectum. Latin for ‘sets of three are perfect’. In modern writing, it’s the Rule of Three. Simply put, triads often make for good plotting: The Three Musketeers. Three acts to the classic play. The love triangle.
To use the Rule of Three, try to come up with three main characters as you craft a plot. Or three main acts to your plot. Or three clues, each leading in seemingly different directions. Or three victims…
In this writing activity, we imagine that a note has just appeared. Where? Under your history textbook? Stuck to the back of your phone? In your locker? The details are deliciously up to you to work out as you introduce a main character who finds a note.
And the note says that there is a vampire at school…
That’s the setup. From there, imagine a motive or motives. It might be as simple as not getting bitten. Or not getting found out (because your narrator could be the vampire). Or maybe your narrator is a vampire hunter.
In writing workshops, this is how I introduce the writing prompt handout that can be downloaded here.
Note that it includes both the prompt (an example of a note found on campus), and a little background on the rule of three. The idea is to work in a triad, perhaps three friends who are being chased by a vampire? Or two more notes that appear soon after, and escalate the situation? Or three events of one sort or another, but they don’t have to all be notes. Finding a corpse is also a pretty darn good way to pump up the storyline… Or maybe it’s a prank. But by whom, and to what end?
(These writing blogs are based on a course for teens.) – Alex Hiam, author of Silent Lee and the Secret of the Side Door Key are available on Amazon.