Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Power of Three


Congratulations to "Kate W.", the winner of Julie's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

There is magic in the number 3.  The Brothers Grimm, Abner Doubleday, J.R.R. Tolkien, folklorists and dozens of movie makers know it and have capitalized on the uniqueness of things that come in threes.  Things that come in threes have a natural story arc to them—one is the beginning or introduction, two intensifies the conflict, three is a climactic event or resolution.
Think of an inning of baseball and how the excitement builds with each out.  And it’s no accident that the genie in ALADDIN offers 3 wishes—it creates instant conflict as time and options run out just as he’s down to one last wish.  There are 3 Bears so that a lesson can be taught about what is too much, what is too little, and what is just right—and how to make decisions as a result.

As a writer, I’m more pantser than plotter (actually I’m a cooker—I do a lot of mental planning before I start putting words on my computer, but no outlining or detailed synopses for me!).  But over the course of writing nearly 50 books, I’ve internalized plotting and character development in a system of three’s—3 revelations of clues that point to the real criminal, 3 red herrings to possibly mislead my characters trying to solve a mystery, 3 uses of a couple’s motif to intensify the development of their relationship (for example, touching hands—the first time it happens, it may be accidental; the second time they touch hands, it’s a show of comfort or encouragement; the third time, it’s a matter of emotional life or death), and so on.


In my current release—on sale this week!—THREE COWBOYS, that magical number three comes into play again.  THREE COWBOYS is the holiday romantic suspense anthology I wrote with fellow Intriguers Dana Marton and Paula Graves.  When we brainstormed, the setup was easy.  Let’s have three brothers.  There’s a built-in bond there, even if they haven’t been home together for 10 years.  Let’s make them cowboys.  The Cartwrights on Bonanza?  The Barkleys on Big Valley?  Besides that built-in story arc between the three stories—as the brothers come together to rescue their kidnapped half-sister—there’s the added bonus of having three different heroic archetypes—one that’s sure to tantalize every reader.  Adam, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright were different types of men, both physically and in their personality.  The McCabe brothers in THREE COWBOYS are no different.  Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt can face the same challenge, but each handle it differently, creating different types of conflict.  They’ll have different strengths that they bring to the table, so what they contribute to their family’s mission will be unique.  Each man will fall for a different type of woman, creating a fresh love story in each novella.  Yet those three brothers, the three heroines who capture their hearts, and the three stories themselves all work together to create a complete and satisfying read.

Is it real magic or clever storytelling?  Maybe it’s both.  Either way, there’s magic in the number 3.  And I think you’ll enjoy the 3 brothers and 3 stories in THREE COWBOYS.

So let’s talk 3’s.  Do you have an example of something that comes in 3’s or happens in 3’s?  And I’m happy to talk more about books or movies or writing or this story, particular.  Just ask a question or leave a comment.  I’ll give away a signed copy of THREE COWBOYS to one lucky poster.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov 30th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

30 comments:

  1. Hi julie,

    I was one of 3 children. I have 3 cats now. With my husband and daughter we have 3 in our family. And this is the third time this week, I have tried to win this book. I expect to be a three time loser! But you know i will buy it!!

    yenastone at aol dot com

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    Replies
    1. Now think positively, Tammy! ;)

      Hmm... I'm one of 3 children. Hubby, son and I make a family of 3. Baseball has 3 outs. Lord of the Rings and/or Hobbitt trilogy. (still curious how Peter Jackson is going to get 3 movies out of the book--but I trust it will be a wonderful movie experience) And on and on...

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  2. I always think that in life things come in 3's, usually bad things. When the frig goes bad I figure I need to prepare for 2 more appliances to go...I work in EMS and usually if there is a bad call we figure there will be 3 more. True or not it often happens...I would love to win this book as I love cowboys...lsscarchuk@att.net

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    1. Yikes, LS! That is scary to think of emergencies coming in three's. I do think there's something to that--it seems to me that with celebrity passings, for example, they seem to come in three's.

      But we'll think positively!
      Ooh, I know another one--3 great holidays close together for my family--Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year's.

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  3. You are right, many good things come in threes or multiples of threes but in my life it tends to be fours. Born 4-4-44, weighed 4 pounds, you get the picture.

    I just wish that it didn't seem like bad things always come in threes. Always makes me wonder what is coming next.

    lorenzc@huntel.net

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    Replies
    1. Cool, Lilsis! I didn't know that 4's were a special number for you. Ever play the lottery with them? ;)

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  4. Thanks for sharing Julie! :)
    With 3 wonderful Intrigue authors, I know each brother in this book will have a great story.

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    1. Thanks, Colleen! If readers enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them, we'll have a big hit on our hands. ;)

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  5. This is a fantastic book. I just placed a review on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads...3. Congrats to all three of you and thanks for some great reading.

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    1. Awesome, Brenda! Thank you so much. 3 Reviews sound like good karma to me. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts with other readers. Even in this digital age, there's nothing like word of mouth to generate a buzz about a book.

      Thanks!

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  6. Without meaning to be morbid or disrespectful, the only thing that comes to mind for happening in 3's is hearing about the death of someone, although I hear about it most often in the death of celebrities. Three Cowboys sounds like a good read and I've added this story told by 3 great authors to my wish list!

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    1. Thanks, Karen C!

      I tend to try to think positively about things, say 90% of the time. ;) I do know what you mean, though. I agree. It does seem that celebrity deaths occur in three's. Sad.

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  7. Hi

    Excited about this book. I think of trilogies when I think ot 3's. I love thst so many authors write series' in 3's.

    Thanks for the chance.
    Pam
    tpibrew@men.com

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    Replies
    1. They're one of my favorite examples of 3's also, Pam. Classics, YA, romance--I love me a trilogy. ;)

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  8. I think of three cowboy stories to look forward to reading.

    bn100candg(at)Hotmail(dot)com

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  9. Right now I do know that I am looking forward to THE HOBBIT trilogy & I did enjoy the LOTR trilogy. Great books too.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    Replies
    1. I'm excited to see THE HOBBITT, too, Mary. Not sure how they're getting 3 movies out of that short book, but I loved the LOTR trilogy, so I'm trusting I'll love this Peter Jackson opus, too.

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  10. Things do happened in three. When good luck happens, it comes in three. Think of Christianity, you have God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It comes in three. Even the prymid is considered three points from the view. I have lost three family members in one accident. The number 3 pops around alot whether it's good or bad.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    Replies
    1. Good point, Kai. I like your positive spin on things. Sorry about the 3 family members, though. That's especially rough. Take care.

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  11. Thanks for the fun post and congrats on the new release! Right now it seems like only bad things happens in threes! But... I'm a bit more hopeful and I try to see good things in threes too!

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  12. Three Cowboys sounds fun.
    As to 3's: 3 kids, 3 grandkids, 3 horses, 3 books (1 pubbed, 2 in process).
    I've also seen trouble come in threes. Just recently my son broke his ankle, a few weeks later his son broke his arm and last weekend his wife had surgery. I hope that's the end of their bad luck.

    Kate Wyland at earthlink dot net

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    Replies
    1. Yikes, Kate! I hope that's the end of their bad luck, too. Hope they're all healing quickly and smoothly.

      Congrats on the book, too! What's the title?

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    2. Wyoming Escape. Contemporary Western romantic-suspense, available as an ebook everywhere.

      Thanks for the book!

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  13. I have heard all my life that death comes in 3's. I actually had 3 deaths in my family this year.

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

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    Replies
    1. So sorry to hear that lag123.

      A year ago, my family went through a 12-month period where we had 3 deaths also. Mighty tough. Hope you have friends and family around you. Take care.

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  14. The best threetastic events in my life... I am the the oldest of 3 children. all born almost exactly 3 years apart. I guess I was the introduction and my brothers the conflict and resolution. lol. My two sons are almost exactly 3 years apartMy only grandchild just turned 3 and already has the concept. She decided if she was 3 there must be 3 cakes. She got a white cake, strawberry one and a red velvet. Im so proud of her!

    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

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  15. Love the trio of birthday cakes idea, Julie O.! Smart grand-daughter. ;)

    Sounds like 3 is a very good number for you.

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