Over the last few years, I've discovered that if I have a question about anything involving writing or books, someone out there has already written the answer I'm searching for. Check in every week for features of great writing and publishing blogs. If you've got a question, we've got the answer.

March 17, 2017

 The Writer's Rule of Three

I just happened across this one while researching. My wonderful friend, Sam Whitehouse, landed himself an agent over in the UK, and he asked me to go over his current manuscript before he hands it over to the agent. I was truly honored, as I am a huge fan of Sam's writing (and Sam too) and I'm quite sure, one day not long from now, some of you will be fans too.

So, while I was going over the first couple of chapters I remembered something a speaker said at one of the writer's conferences I attended. I couldn't remember much, just that she mentioned 'The Rule of Three' but I don't think she elaborated on it. So I did a search for the term and found a great article that enlightened me on the subject and I thought I'd pass the info on to you.

Here's a little intro to the post:
The Rule of Three is one of the oldest writing techniques–it turns up in old stories over and over again. The Rule of Three states that events should happen in groups of three. These events should follow this pattern: establish conflict, build conflict, resolve conflict. Or they can follow this pattern: similar, similar, different.

Here's the link to 'Writing Technique: The Rule of Three' posted on Amy Raby's WordPress blog. I hope it inspires your writing today.

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March 7, 2017


If you stop by enough it won't take you long to figure out I am a HUGE fan of C.S. (Susanne) Lakin. I've subscribed to her blog for several years now and her site is my go-to place if I have any type of literary or grammatical question. Her posts are always insightful and she writes in language that makes the topics very understandable. 

I scrolled through all of my saved emails from her blog and found one that seemed like a really good place to jump off from. (Um, I think she'd have a problem with that last sentence ending with a preposition. Sorry!) When I started writing I'd just finished reading the Twilight Saga, and the urge to give novel writing a go coursed through my veins and I HAD to try...despite knowing nothing about nothing. Wish I'd known Susanne back then. It might have saved me a lot of frustration and maybe not taken me 5 years to finish my first book.

So, with that said, I'm not posting the entire post from Susanne's blog, rather a tantalizing slice just to get your mouth watering, and then a link right back to her site. I receive no compensation or favors for re-posting her info, I just love her for her heart to serve other writers, and I want to share her gifts here with you in hopes of giving you what I didn't have...some sort of scaffolding to make your writing career strong and erect. 

Baking or Building? Cake or House?

The concept of construction is nothing new. However, I’m a building contractor’s wife, and since I’ve spent many long hours nailing siding according to blueprint nailing specifications and cutting two-by-fours carefully to the sixteenth of an inch in order for all the studs to fit precisely in framing up a house, the word construction has a rich and evocative meaning for me. As does the word blueprint. Any builder who attempts to construct a complex house without engineered plans would be rightly called a fool.

How Much Time Do You Want to Waste?

Of course, “building” a faulty novel won’t endanger anyone’s life (we hope), but it can sure be a lesson in frustration and aggravation, and a very big waste of time. That’s not to say practicing writing is a waste of time; it’s not. But, well, it can be if there is no end to the means. If you write randomly and learn nothing, does it really benefit you? Sure, exercises like participating in nanwrimo (National Novel Writing Month) teach you admirable things like discipline, perseverance, stick-to-itiveness (yep, that really is a word!). But those qualities alone will not improve your writing skills or turn you into a novelist.

To use a different analogy, I could spend three hours pouring random ingredients into a big bowl and stirring, stirring, stirring. That doesn’t guarantee that when I pour it into a pan and bake it, a delicious and beautiful cake will emerge from my oven. In fact, it’s akin to the old line about setting a million monkeys down in front of typewriters and believing that eventually, some thousands of years down the line, one monkey will accidentally and perfectly produce the Bible word for word. Truthfully? Most novels that I critique are a lot like that bowl of random elements. And it’s really hard to take a finished product like that yucky baked cake and turn it into something palatable, let alone delicious. If only the writer took the time to find a solid, time-tested recipe and followed that. A recipe is like . . . a blueprint. Which brings me back around to building construction.

So, there's a little taste of what Susanne has to about constructing a novel. To read the rest of the article and her 12 Key Pillars of Novel Construction, for which this post is an introduction, follow this link and read on!

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