Ready, Set, Go! Add Creative Power to Your Writing with the Rule of Three

Three is a Magic Number
Three is a Magic Number

Three, Four, Shut the Door

So, did you cure all your warts last week? At least, I hope you used blood, sweat and tears (and toil) and searched here, there and everywhere for examples of the Rule of Three. I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in giving you the “thinner, lighter, and faster” version of how to use it to add creative power to your own writing.

♠ You can apply the Rule of Three to all sorts of writing building blocks: words and phrases and clauses and sentences. (I know, that’s not three. Get over it. I needed to write it that way for the *Note* that’s coming next.) [*Note* Did you recognize “words and phrases and clauses,” a use of the Rule of Three from Schoolhouse Rock’s “Conjunction Junction”?]

 There are three main Rule of Three processes you can apply to those building blocks: repetition, lists and progressions.

 The Rule of Three can also be applied to the structures of the creative and business works you write.

Let me explain..

Continue reading Ready, Set, Go! Add Creative Power to Your Writing with the Rule of Three

3 Books on Writing No Writer Can Live Without

On Writing, by Stephen King
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

Lots of Fish in the Sea

You’re reading WowPow because, like most writers (me, too!), you’re always looking to better your craft. There are so many resources available today that you could spend your children’s inheritance and your summer vacation sifting through them to find even one that speaks to you. To save your children from penury and make sure you actually wiggle your piggies in the sand, I’m sharing the writing resources I can’t live without. These are real, honest-to-J. K. Rowling, published-by-fancy-dancy-publishers books. I’ve read them multiple times and I get new inspiration every time.

These should be on your desk, getting dog-eared and spine-broken. If you’ve already read them, let this be a reminder to read ’em again. 

Continue reading 3 Books on Writing No Writer Can Live Without

Give Your Writing Creative Power with This Magic Number

Dies Irae
Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) Latin Requiem Hymn

What number do these have in common?

  •  mile limit of international law
  • Hector’s body dragged around Troy’s walls
  • geometrical figure regarded as perfect by the ancient Greeks

Did you guess?

Let me make it easier.

  • Cerberus
  • Shakespeare’s witches
  • Billy Goats Gruff
  • Goldilocks’s bears

Got it now?  Continue reading Give Your Writing Creative Power with This Magic Number

What’s the Story?

What's the story?
What’s the story?

Hi, Readers.

Getting this blog out on Thursdays isn’t working for me. Most of you seemed to prefer Sunday night, too. So, I’m returning to publishing late Sunday nights for Monday mornings. Look for my next post this Sunday/Monday.

In the meantime, I’m posting a photo here as a story prompt. Here are some ideas, but don’t limit yourself to them:

What is happening here? What has just taken place? What is about to occur? Create a realistic story, a fantasy, a fairy tale or a horror tale. How did these figures/puppets get here? Are they sentient or simply dolls? Tell a story in which the figures are not what you’d expect. Make them main characters or minor props. What role does the setting play in your story? When and where does the story take place? Make the mood be as it appears in the photo or change it drastically. Add a specific item that changes everything. Who will tell your story?

Have fun with this! I can’t wait to read your work!

Email your story to I’ll print the most original, interesting stories in a future blog entry.

Photo Credit: Pasquale Vitiello via Magdeleine

What Martin Luther King, Jr. Can Teach Us About Creative Power Writing

MLK's "I Have a Dream"
Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaims, “I Have a Dream”

A Dream of Peace

After the recent horrific terrorist attacks, it’s comforting to remember someone who advocated change without assassinating cartoonists or eradicating entire towns. We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday. King was electrifying, and as a speaker he drew on his experience as a charismatic preacher. He also pulled from an enormous stock of rhetorical devices to add even more creative power and evoke emotion. His now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., employed dozens of these, including charged words (last week’s topic!).  Continue reading What Martin Luther King, Jr. Can Teach Us About Creative Power Writing

The Shocking Truth about Charged Words

Danger: Words
Danger: Words
Your mama is so fat… Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
The “N” word I have a dream…
Death panels I win!
Danger! Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
Our little girl has cancer Free kittens!
Hijacked jets destroy twin towers Je suis Charlie

Sweet Emotion

What do the words and phrases in the above columns have in common? They are “charged words”—words and phrases that, by their very sounds, definitions, connotations, or denotations, evoke a strong emotion in the reader or listener. Note the variety of emotions represented here—the horror you felt on 9/11, your anger at the racial epithet, your delight as you sang with Mary Poppins, the excitement you’ll feel when you win the lottery (even a dollar!).  Continue reading The Shocking Truth about Charged Words

Addendum: Je suis Charlie


When I wrote my “Je suis Charlie” blog post last night, I was unaware of the latest Boko Haram atrocity, its worst ever. Beginning last Saturday, January 3, and continuing for five days, these terrorists raided the town of Baga, Nigeria, slaughtering everyone and burning the surrounding villages to the ground. At least 2000 were massacred and the town of 10,000 is empty, as everyone who could, fled. Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria for five years; in 2014, they killed more than 10,000 people.

Today, more than a million people gathered in Paris in solidarity with the 16 who died in the Charlie Hebdo assassinations. The Baga slaughter didn’t even make most news outlets. Nigeria’s own president expressed sympathy to the French government, but said nothing about Baga.

In my blog post, my main point was that people were on fire over Charlie Hebdo because of the freedom of speech connection. However, my secondary point about third-world terrorist attacks being ignored by the West (and in this case, even by the country in which it occurred!) is certainly borne out by the lack of news coverage of this event. It took nine days for me to even learn it had happened, and this only occurred because I subscribe to a service that supplies me with human rights articles. So maybe it wasn’t just the freedom issue.

What do you think?

Je suis Charlie

Je suis Charlie
The standard layout, as copied from The Charlie Hebdo site

Unless you’ve been toasting s’mores under a boulder, you know that on January 7 terrorists assassinated twelve people at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Two days later, they took hostages at other locations and executed four before being killed by police. At least 21 people were injured in the attacks.

Reaction was immense and immediate. By Wednesday afternoon, “#Je suis Charlie” had been tweeted more than 3.4 million times. Reddit gave its mascot a “Je suis Charlie” card. The Simpsons had Maggie hold a black banner reading, “Je suis Charlie.” Newspapers and magazines the world over used the slogan as a banner across their websites.  Continue reading Je suis Charlie

How to Make a Writing Resolution You’ll Finally Keep

New Year's Eve, Sydney, Australia
New Year’s Eve, Sydney Harbor, Australia

Happy 2015! Have you broken all your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Did you make any writing resolutions? Did you resolve to write more frequently? To send your moldering manuscript to publishers? To join a writer’s group? To take a writing course? To start that blog? Guess where I came up with those ideas? Heh heh.

Only 8% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions, says health and policy writer Dan Diamond. In Forbes, he cites research from the University of Scranton that suggests most of us fail because we make promises that are all-but-impossible to keep, like that of the mother of four who teaches school, but resolves to write for six hours a day.  Continue reading How to Make a Writing Resolution You’ll Finally Keep

Key Words, Emphasize Them You Must

Creative power, write with it you must.

I bet if I give you a sentence, you will immediately be able to identify its speaker. Ready?

“Dark the night is.”

Did you guess that 900-year-old pointy-eared creature, Yoda, from Star Wars? He never uttered those words in any of the movies, so what made you guess him?

Ah, his use of inversion. (Or maybe the huge photo above gave him away.)

Inversion is the reversal of normal word order in a sentence. Used to emphasize key points, it is one of the power techniques that adds intensity to writing.  Continue reading Key Words, Emphasize Them You Must