Okay so I admit I am a fan of The Vampire Diaries. I have read the books and remain glued to the television series. I have been caught up in the Elena, Stefan and Damon triangle. This triangle is based on the good boy versus bad boy debate. Even if from time to time the Salvatore brothers trade titles. This is a well written triangle in my opinion. The characters are well constructed and their reason for being in the triangle is inventive and entertaining. Although I rooted for Stefan at first, I all too soon played into the author’s hand and was thinking perhaps Damon might just be an equally appealing option. To be really honest though I think if I was Elena, I would just work out a way to have them both.
Similarly, I have recently broke down and watched the first three films in the Twilight series and did so reluctantly. I hear some of you asking whether I have been living under a rock all this time. The answer is no but I defend the fact it took me this long to watch them with the reasoning that I read the first book a few years back and did not become a huge fan. It was something I could take or leave until I got the box-set really cheap in a bargain bin and said, why not? This love triangle takes on a slightly different twist as this one is a watered down version of the good guy/bad guy triangle and in the film it adds in the old friend/new friend element. Clearly through the entire thing Bella was always going to choose Edward so I am not sure what part Jacob played other then to make frustrated readers/watchers like me who favoured his character keep saying to Bella please pick Jacob. But come to think of it I am so glad she didn’t. Now how do we unimprint him from Renesmee because that relationship is just weird but I guess that is an entirely different post.
Seriously, love triangles are everywhere in popular young adult novels at the moment. They all seem to involve one girl and two guys, haven’t read one in awhile that is the other way around. They also seem to evolve into a triangle only when the long term guy friend who is the good guy realises he loves the girl when the threat of the new guy, who is usually the bad guy peaks her interest. I know love triangles are not new inventions. Classic literature and ancient mythology had its share of love triangles too. But lately it seems that teenage girls just can’t get enough of them.
But there is one place I never expected a love triangle to show up – you guessed it folks – my work in progress. I do not tend to have a huge element of romance in my novels. I write mainly science fiction and fantasy for young adults so most of the novel is usually about the world the characters are in and how they interact with that world. The human elements mainly come from friendships and other platonic relationships. In the past when a romantic element or two got sprinkled in it never involved a triangle.
So where did this one come from? I wonder now if my writing is being influenced by the popular culture or if this is just a natural occurrence for these characters and it really needs to play out. Sometimes when I read a love triangle that has been poorly written I step back and say whoa I could have done without ever meeting character C because it was clear A and B were always going to get together in the first place and the introduction of C seemed to be merely to create conflict.
I will give you a little incite into the nature of the characters in my novel and how their triangle is shaping up.
Character A – She is the protagonist. She is just a girl that gets ripped from her own simple world and thrust into a new more complex one. She needs to learn a new language and is faced with a new set of cultural values that are very different from her own. She is treated harshly by the antagonist and longs to return to her old world in which things were less difficult. In the end she conquers her issues with the antagonist and develops into a strong young woman who still follows her past moral upbringing but adapts to life in a new changing and chaotic world.
Character B – Is the first love interest. We meet him in chapter 2. He is from a similar background to the protagonist and shares some of her same values. He speaks her language. He is from a low station in life but is aspiring to be more. He is calm, level headed and dedicated. If we compare him to the common love triangle character types he is the guy next door, the good guy, the best friend type. As far as looks go he does physical labour and has a body to show for it. He knows how to use a sword and can handle himself in a fight. He has the respect of most of the people around him including character c. He grounds the protagonist and provides her comfort. He loves her because he believes her to be like himself and she reminds him of the people in his own world which he misses.
Character C – Is the second love interest. He comes into play much later in the novel. He is from a completely different background than the protagonist. His world is even more socially complex and morally different than the one the protagonist finds herself living in. He is funny, light hearted and loves a good party. He is not a bad boy but has done things the protagonist feels are morally wrong. As far as looks go he is incredibly handsome and wears elegant clothing. He does not do much physical labour so he has a tall lean but healthy body. He bears a scar at the base of his ribs where he was cut when trying to duel someone with a sword. He excites the protagonist and makes her dream. He loves the protagonist because he thinks she has an exotic look, she is not from his world and he is intrigued by how different she is. He wishes he could adopt her value system.
At first I had character c in mind as the main love interest but then slowly the protagonist started falling in love with character b before character c even came on the scene. Both relationships developed in a natural way and the protagonists loves them both for different reasons. The boys have tried to sort the problem out amongst themselves but this has not helped the protagonist get any closer to making a choice. The dilemma is we are nearing the end of the novel now and she is dragging her feet with this a little. I may have to force her hand a bit. But even I don’t know which one she should chose.
So readers what do you think? Are you sick to death of love triangles or do you find them an enjoyable reading experience? And if so which one is your favourite and why?