Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Love Triangles

This post is (kind of) a follow-up on Kaye's post on how not to write romance.  One thing I keep seeing over and over again in young adult fiction is the love triangle. The dreaded, the abominable, the triangle.

A love triangle happens when one girl is in love with two guys at once, and can't decide between them (it could happen the opposite way, too, with one guy and two girls, but it's much less common). Both guys are in love with the girl, leaving the girl with a predicament. The girl also loves both the guys. Which should she choose? Oh the horror.

Okay, technically, it wouldn't be a love triangle unless both the guys were in love with each other, too. But I won't go there.

There's my amazing Paint skill coming through, right there.
There's a problem with this, though...have you ever seen a love triangle in real life? No. At least, I haven't. Let's face it: love triangles just don't happen that much in real life. So why should every YA book have one?

This brings me to my next point. Nearly every single YA book these days has a love triangle of some sort. Why? Readers want plot. We don't want to sit there and read about some girl whining because she can't decide who to love. If she loves two guys at once, it can't even be true love, anyways. It's just some extra friendliness and a little lust.

Love triangles are also highly predictable. Have you ever seen the girl end up with the nice, normal guy? No. She always ends up with the supernatural guy. If you're going to write a paranormal romance, someone should shake it up and write a story where the girl doesn't go for the supernatural guy.

I'll be honest. I have formed a deep hatred for love triangles. And for good reason: the vast majority of them are anything but well-executed. But, to be fair, I have read some books that pulled off a fantastic love triangle.

Like Eona: The Last Dragoneye, for example. That's the most convoluted love triangle you'll ever see, my friends. Or The Hunger Games Trilogy.  Also, Kenneth Oppel's This Dark Endeavor has a noteworthy love triangle, because it actually contributes to the plot.   *gasp*

Or the Seven Realms series. That one is amazing, could argue that it's actually a love pentagon. Yeah. (I tried to make a diagram showing this, but failed epically.) Han is (or was) in love with Raisa, who loves him back. Raisa also loved Amon, and Amon did love her back, until he got engaged to someone else. Then there's Reid, who seems to have a thing for Raisa. Love pentagon.

So, amigos...I beg of you...don't write a love triangle, unless you've got a really interesting twist to it, or you can do it like Alison Goodman. And please don't write a love triangle for the sake of a love triangle. That's the last thing the world needs.

This post was originally spotted in the castle at Cair Paravel, aka The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random.


  1. Yay! Great post! I remember reading this one on your blog. :) I hate love triangles. They're so boring! And you're right, they always do end up with the supernatural guy. And most of the time, the guys are always bad vs good. Why can't it ever be bad vs bad or good vs good or something like that?

  2. Kaye's reaction to love triangles: throw book at the wall. I just don't touch any of the fiction books in my school library because this is all we have. Very predictable romance.
    When I tried to write one, I killed both of the guys. The girl got over it.