Some years ago, I bought a book on the basis of its title. ‘Instances of the Number Three’ by Sally Vickers piqued my interest and a glance at the blurb confirmed the psychologically compelling tale of a love triangle with some ghostly goings-on would be my companion for a long train journey.

Numbers have meaning and the number 3 is one that has significance on a range of levels. The ancient Greeks considered it the perfect embodiment of wisdom, understanding and harmony. In Judeo-Christian religions, it has a divine stamp, culminating in the Trinity. And then there were, of course, three wise men.

Culturally, the number 3 is a constant in folklore, fairy tale and myth where challenges come in threes along with Macbeth’s witches, Billy Goats Gruff, little piggies and porridge- deprived bears ─ and we all know how many men were in Jerome K. Jerome’s boat.

As for other numbers, 13 has superstitious connotations; even the most rational were spooked when an oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13 on April 13th, 1970, derailing its lunar mission – though, in Chinese culture, 13 is considered auspicious. From Room 101 (originated in ‘1984’) to 42 (meaning of life in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’) there is a resonance and connection with certain numbers. They pop up in book titles; I grew up with ‘The Famous Five’, ‘The Secret Seven’ and ‘The Twenty-One Balloons’ before graduating to ‘Catch 22’.

But back to the number 3. There are only THREE weeks to go till BSSA 2023 closes on Monday, April 24th,  so how about using a number as the theme, title or starting point for your story? Full rules are on our website but stories of all genres, subjects and up to 2200 words are welcome. Get writing!