All writing is selling something – a product, an idea, a fiction.
Successful writing must
- Engage your reader,
- Be remembered,
- Instill desire, want or need.
Your strongest tools is the ‘rule of three’.
Because it works!
Writers don’t choose three by chance, they use it because it’s what their readers want.
People crave patterns, routine and comfort, they like to know what’s going on.
We also like things as simple as possible too.
And three, is the smallest, simplest surest number that produces what we crave – pattern routine and comfort.
So stick with the rule of three unless there’s a good reason not to.
We’re conditioned to it from the earliest age.
- Three Little Pigs
- Three Wise Men
- The Good The Bad and The Ugly.
We learn and hold things in our memory when they’re based on three.
The United States Marines believe in the Rule of Three.
They like to get things done while keeping soldiers alive.
They reportedly experimented with a ‘rule of four’ and it failed.
Effectiveness, acceptance and knowledge retention gone.
Two ways with ‘the rule of three’
Henditris and Tricolon
Henditris, a figure of speech, when three words used together to express a central idea.
- Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll – the central idea the life of rock star.
- Location, Location, Location – the only thing that matters about a property.
- Love all, Trust few, Do wrong to none. – Shakespeare’s guide to life in “All’s well that ends well”
Tricolon is the use of three phrases or words that come together, without interruption.
- Veni, Vidi, Vici – (I came, I saw, I conquered) – Julius Caesar
- I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless and stupid. – Dorothy Parker
- If you describe things as better than they are, you’re considered a romantic; if you describe things as worse than they are, you’ll be called a realist; and if you describe things exactly as they are, you’ll be thought of as a satirist. – The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp
Both forms will make your writing stronger and more effective
So, please, no more plain, simple, direct writing.
Let’s make it enjoyable, powerful and memorable.
And let’s recognise three as a magic number.
And if you’re not writing to
- Engage your reader,
- Make them remember
- Make them respond
WTF are you writing for?