Friday, 5 November 2010

Thinking In Threes

This morning I've been re-reading Ansen Dibell's 'Patterns, Mirrors and Echoes' section in How To Write A Million. The emphasis on the pattern of three in traditional storytelling methods like fairy tales comes back to haunt any writer who has read 'how to' books and attended workshops.

I went back to my novel and started brainstorming my  plot. Something must have sunk in after many years of reading novels and stories, as I've sub-consciously incorporated 'the law of three' into my crime novel.

There are three victims and three important connections between those victims; three significant relationships; three tearaways; three siblings; three false alarms; three major events; three locations; three baby connections/lost children.

This led me to think about the themes in my novel, which are basically a) the lost child b) involvement/lack of involvement c) commitment/lack of commitment d) running away.

This then led to thinking about the imagery in my novel: fire and water (heat and rain/yellow and purple).

My head feels much clearer after all that.

Does anyone else notice that they subconsciously apply the 'law of three' when writing fiction?

5 comments:

Bee said...

Interesting Jo. Never written anything of length but often feel tempted. And yes, the fear of failing is overwhelming. I have to say that picture is adorable!

Joanna said...

Thank you, Jo, this is fascinating. I can't wait to read your novel!

I think I often have groups of three in short stories. Usually, there are two main characters, plus an object. Recently, I've had a man, a woman and a fish; a husband, a wife and a hat; two men and a camel (!). I assume I do this because I'm frightened of having too many people in a short piece of writing. So I bring in an item that has as much significance, but stops the story being over-populated. When I finally start writing a novel, it will be liberating to introduce more human beings!

Carole Anne Carr said...

Always do, but then I write for children, and this is part of the tradition.

Sally Zigmond said...

The novel I'm struggling with is partly about three brothers!

Nicola Slade said...

I've never heard of this, Jo, but I'm going to have a look at my WIP and see if I'm doing it without knowing!