Three is the Magic Number

Three is the Magic Number

What is the Three is the Magic Number story tactic?

Choose the most important parts of your story, then use these tricks to fix them in your audience's memory.

Little pigs, wise men and magic wishes all come in threes. There's a reason for this. We can't hold many ideas in our heads at once. That's why shopping lists were invented. So what are the most important things you want people to remember when you've finished telling your story? (Hint: there's only three!)

Tip: try this card alongside Data Detectives to present three key facts from your research.

How to use the Three is the Magic Number story tactic

Happily, there are three different types of three you can use when you're telling a story:


Attention Three: James Bond
One of Bond's adversaries delivers a great line about suspicious activity: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time is enemy action. "We don't believe anything repeats three times by accident: it feels deliberate. That's why we pay attention.

What core message can you repeat three times to get our attention


Reversal Three: Little Pigs
Straw and sticks are weak. But a house made of brick? Huff and puff away, Big Bad Wolf. This pattern gives you a set up (1 and 2) followed by a reversal (3). It is so effective that people can almost see it coming, but are still pleased when it does.

What are your set ups? What's your reversal


Moderate Three: Goldilocks
This porridge is too hot. This porridge is too cold. But this porridge is just right. Set up two extremes then find the middle ground.

What are your two extremes? What's your moderate way?

Credit: I. Fleming, Goldfinger.

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Three is the Magic Number is one of 54 storytelling recipe cards inside the Storyteller Tactics card deck.

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