Time for the second edition of Let's Talk! This is a feature at my blog in which I discuss a random subject that is on my mind on a random day of the week.
The subject this time is: Love Triangles
If you've read some of my reviews, you know I really dislike love triangles. Why? I can go on a whole rant about how they're unrealistic and stuff, but I know that is not the real problem. I have read books with good love triangles, which would still be unrealistic. Than why do I dislike them so much?
The problem with love triangles is that they are overused, always the same and very predictable. If I scan through blurbs of new YA books, in almost every one of them there is a mention of a love triangle. And even that would not have been so bad, if the execution of the love triangles wouldn't have been almost exactly the same in every one of those books.
I give you the average YA love triangle:
The protagonist is a very normal girl. Then one day she meets a mysterious new boy, he is quite arrogant and a (bit of a) bad boy, but of course he's super hot. She is immediately attracted to him. The boy tells her some secret and they go on an adventure together and of course she falls in love with him. But when everything seems to be perfect and they're ready to start a relationship there is the best friend! This boy the protagonist has known forever and up until the secret adventure they had spent all their time together. He admits he has had a secret crush on the protagonist for ages and wants her to choose him over the new boy.
This leads to the two boys fighting each other or just hating each other and the protagonist only being able to think about who she is going to pick. The love triangle takes over the plot and the secret adventure from the beginning is suddenly not so important anymore.
This can go on and on, for maybe one book or a whole series. But the ending is predictable: the protagonist always goes for new, mysterious boy who is oh so bad, instead of the safe, best friend.
Summary: Good Guy vs Bad Boy. The latter always wins.
Let me give you a few examples of books with this format:
- The Iron Fey. Puck is the best friend and Ash the mysterious new boy. Who does Meghan choose? Ash.
- The Mortal Instruments. Simon is the best friend and Jace the mysterious new boy. Who does Clary choose? Jace. (don't get me wrong, I love TMI, just not the love triangle!)
- Twilight. Okay, Jacob wasn't really a 'best friend', but Bella did see him as a friend and she had known him pretty long. And Edward was of course the mysterious bad boy. I think everyone knows who she chose in the end.
- Make it unpredictable. I don't want to know who the protagonist ends up with from the beginning of the book. Or make her end up alone, let the boys choose to walk away when she can't choose.
- Different players in the game. Don't go with the best friend/mysterious boy format. Take two best friends, two brothers, two girls and a boy, there are so many other options than the good vs bad guy.
- Second priority. Don't let the love triangle overshadow the plot. You can let the protagonist think about the boys, but just don't overdo it.
- The Infernal Devices. The two boys are best friends and don't go fighting each other over the girl. Until the end we don't know (at least I didn't) who she is going to choose. And the love triangle did not take over the plot and the girl wasn't constantly thinking about who she should choose.
- The Hunger Games. Love triangles? Katniss Everdeen ain't got no time for that! Yes, we have the best friend, but can we call Peeta a mysterious bad boy? I don't think so. But Katniss is too busy trying to overthrow the government to think about who she is going to choose and thus it doesn't overshadow the plot.
- Throne of Glass. There is a hint of a love triangle between Chaol, Celaena and Dorian, but it definitely doesn't overshadow the plot. Celaena doesn't spend one minute thinking about who she likes better, since she's not even looking for a relationship.
Or be original and just go with a two-person romance:)
What do you think about love triangles? Do you know any other good or bad love triangles? Do you have any advice on how to write good love triangles?
PS: If you really hate love triangles, this post from Eve @ Paper Sanctuary might be more fitting for you:)