Love Triangle – Love or Hate?

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?

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About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a primary and middle school teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three and a wannabe author.
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10 Responses to Love Triangle – Love or Hate?

  1. tAmArA [_] says:

    The biggest challenge with love triangles is realism. All books sit somewhere on a point between absolute realism (and so because of this) and totally kooky plot-twisty only-in-a-book unrealism.

    Most people search their for years to find one person to love them. Having two people madly in love with you, both of them being viable options, is not realistic. However, it is fun.

    • Thanks for popping by and commenting. I think love triangles happen quite frequently in the real world but on a smaller scale. The problem as you say is the reality factor of them even there. I have known many people who have had love affairs or been cheated on and although those terms do not bring the same romantic thoughts as the word love triangle, I think they are similar because they involve a central person attracting the attention of two other people. Sometimes the excitement of getting the attention of two people can cloud someone’s vision of which is real love and which is just a fantasy. So, I agree with what you say completely and through writing this post it helped me and eventually the character see that although it seemed she loved the two and they both loved her equally, only one was a real and true love, the other, well it was as you say … fun!

      • tAmArA [_] says:

        I’m glad I helped! When I was a teen, I thought a love triangle was specifically when each person liked someone who was not the person who liked them. (In other words, at least one of them had to be gay or bisexual, or I suppose they all could be.) Of course, in the ’80s, love triangles were not the giant literary juggernaut they are now.

        I confess I may be too old to totally “get” love triangles. I read the Hunger Games trilogy and enjoyed it, but I did not give two triscuits which guy she ended up with at the end. I only wanted to know what was in District 13. (Not much, as it turns out.) I forget which guy she chooses, so I guess the movies will be a big surprise for me. :-)

        Anyways, I like fun. If the love triangle is fun, I will enjoy it. If it’s just about battling people and killer bees by day and then analyzing a pretend kiss and the pros and cons of your two suitors for hours every night alone in your tree … yawn.

      • Agreed about the Hunger Games triangle – yawn is right! :-)

      • tAmArA [_] says:

        Ooh, but this is thin ice we’re both on. Ha ha. I still enjoyed reading the books.

      • I only just finished the last of them and have to say they were well written and the story was intriguing but like I said before I usually read and write for the fantasy element not the romance. I have often been on thin ice where literature is concerned. I have strong opinions! ;-)

      • tAmArA [_] says:

        p.s. the “yawn” comment was a fun jab at Hunger Games specifically, not at anyone else’s work, and it was also (mostly) a joke. :-)

  2. Luis says:

    I hate love triangles, never understood why the guys would stick around. Even ‘well done’ triangles get obnoxious. I recently quit reading books when they start down that path because it always seems to ruin the story for me.

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