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Rule of three

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For PB rule of three.  Does the main character have to solve all three of his problems completely on his own?  In my story, no adults solve problems for the child, but animal characters do  help him out of sticky issues in the first two problems.  They then send send him on his way, telling him to try again. 

The first two problems have to do with the MC not paying attention to what he is doing, but the animals help him back on his feet.  He has not solved those problems on his own, but he has now learned to be more careful and pay attention. The MC then solves the third problem on his own and is proud that he figured it out by paying attention.
#1 - June 10, 2015, 02:33 AM

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Ha!  I just taught a two-hour class on the rule of three.

The rule of three is a guideline, not a rule.  Your story sounds fine to me.

#2 - June 10, 2015, 05:02 AM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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I think that can work as well. I don't think the problem is the MC solving problem number three at all -- that's what you want! The MC has to be the actor. It's also possible that you do need a different number three BEFORE the resolution.

The rule of three can make books resonate in a good way. It can make them more predictable in a good way -- children are just learning how to understand stories. But it's just a rule and all rules can be broken.
#3 - June 10, 2015, 05:15 AM
Kell Andrews
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Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

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Barbara,

I would add that I don't even think your MC has to solve attempts 1 and 2 in order to fix Big Story Problem in the end. In fact, in most PBs I'm familiar with that use the rule of three, the MC fails to solve attempts 1 and 2 before finally solving Big Story Problem by himself.

Jody
#4 - June 10, 2015, 05:29 AM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback and input.  I was hoping I was on the right track.
#5 - June 10, 2015, 12:34 PM

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I agree with JodyJS - your mc doesn't need to solve all the problems.
#6 - June 30, 2015, 12:45 PM

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