I have not had a good week for IT stuff. Today I planned on sharing a hand drawn mathematical formula for creating the perfect love triangle surrounded by annotations explaining each point but, alas, it was not meant to be. This keep freezing, or cropping, or getting blurry, or just generally thwarting me at every turn… so instead I’m going to opt for a list. Lists are good, right?
So here is my little list of things that love triangles NEED if they want me to enjoy them:
- Characters must all be strong in their own right. Their sole function in the book should not be to add an obstacle the main guy and gal getting together
- Stereotypes are quite frankly banned. Is anyone else interested in a shy and previously unloved supreme beauty being fought over by two Greek gods (one blonde and friendly, one dark and broody) Give us some imperfection. Let us dream that these things can happen to someone as average as us.
- The love triangle should be a sub-plot, not the entire focus of the novel.
- The protagonist’s choice should be a slowly revealed journey – we don’t want to know from page 1 who ends up together.
- Throw in a few red herrings for good measure – we like it if things aren’t so obvious (and I promise we can handle it…)
- Know that if you try to weave in any cringeworthy self-analysis that at best belongs on daytime TV, you will lose the respect of readers everywhere.
- Metaphors are good, and it’s good for love interests to represent something more, but can we try something a bit more original than ‘he represents her secure, domesticated self and he represents her wild child side’?
- Give the love interests a bond, independent from the protagonist. Nothing makes a love triangle more harrowing, or more complex. Look at Elena, Stefan and Damon from The Vampire Diaries… the fact that the Salvatore brothers love each other more than anything makes that whole storyline more compelling, and more fraught with emotion.
These are just a few ideas off the top of my head, but what do you think makes a love triangle particularly enjoyable?
P.S. Don’t forget to check out LT101’s hosts over at A Novel Idea.