Smiley Face Trick #1

Smiley Face Trick #1
Magic Three
By Mary Ellen Ledbeter
Magic Three
Three parallel groups of words,
phrases, or clauses, usually
separated by commas, that create a
poetic rhythm or add support for a
point, especially when the three
word groups have their own
Examples of Magic Three
• I love playing hide-and-seek with my friends
in our woods, jumping rope on the school
playground, and swinging on the old tire at
• In those woods, I would spend hours listening
to the wind rustle the leaves, climbing trees
and spying on resting birds, and giving the
occasional wild growl to scare away any pinkflowered girls who might be riding their bikes
too close to my secret entrance. (Todd,
college freshman)
• If I had a sticker on my shirt that said “Loser” or
if my hair looked like a zombie’s or if I had
spinach stuck in my teeth, she would tell me the
truth no matter what. (Maggie, 9th grade)
• Sometimes I wonder why the geeks get picked on.
It’s always, “Hey, look, it’s nerd boy again, going to
his daily session of chess club,” or “Where do you
think you’re going, smarty pants, I thought we had
a deal—you carry my lunch tray, and I won’t give
you a wedgie,” or “Brain on feet, do my homework
for a while—stay till school’s out—and I’ll try to
get you a date with the girl who has glasses
thicker than yours.” (Cameron, 9th grade)
Now find the Magic 3 in the following excerpts from
renowned, published authors.
• “I can’t be sure, I keep seeing him do
different things, he keeps changing
his mind . . . A killing spree through
the city, attacking the guard, lifting
a car over his head in the main square
. . . mostly things that would expose
them—he knows that’s the fastest
way to force a reaction . . .” (Meyer,
New Moon, 425)
• Robert Langdon stood in horrified
revelation. The image of Leonardo
Vetra came back in grisly detail—the
bloody face, the solitary hazel eye
staring back, and the empty eye
socket. He tried to reject the
obvious truth, but then he saw it . . .
beneath the scanner on the white tile
floor . . . faint droplets of crimson.
Dried blood. (Brown, Angels and
Demons, 64)
• October extinguished itself in a rush of
howling winds and driving rain and
November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with
hard frosts every morning and icy drafts
that bit at exposed hands and faces. The
skies and the ceiling of the Great Hall
turned a pale, pearly gray, the mountains
around Hogwarts became snowcapped, and
the temperature in the castle dropped so
far that many students wore their thick
protective dragon skin gloves in the
corridors between lessons. (Rowling, Harry
Potter and the OOTP, 401)
• “If you all go, of course I’ll go with you;
and if your party splits up, I’ll go with the
High King. That’s my duty to him and
Prince Caspian. But, if you ask my opinion,
I’m a plain dwarf who doesn’t think there’s
much chance of finding a road by night
where you couldn’t find one by day. And I
have no use for magic lions which are
talking lions and don’t talk, and friendly
lions though they don’t do us any good, and
whopping big lions though nobody can see
them. It’s all bilge and beanstalks as far
as I can see.” (Lewis, Prince Caspian, 142)
The tables are turned now. Using the following prompts,
write your own 10 minute quickwrite paragraph (minimum
length: 5 complete sentences) using Smiley-Face Trick #1:
Magic 3.
• Describe your feelings about the snow,
winters in Utah, or an activity you can
only do in the snow or in the winter.
• Tell me about a moment from the last
athletic event you saw on TV (real or
fictional) or in real life, or one in which
you participated. Real experience can
be the most moving and interesting, but
fiction would work as well.